|Locations||NOLS Pacific Northwest, NOLS Southwest|
|Tuition||$14,950 Learn about Financial Aid|
|Fly in/out||Tucson,Arizona/Conway, Washington|
High School Credit
“I found the most rewarding aspect of this course to be the risk management and also the physically challenging aspects of the climbing section.”
2015 Exact tuition TBA
There’s nothing quite like seeing the remote wilderness on your own two feet, carrying all your own gear on your back while gaining the tools necessary to become a great leader in the backcountry and at home.
Backpacking courses often hike three out of every four days. You’ll travel in small hiking groups so you have more opportunities to lead, make decisions, and map read as you move through beautiful wilderness. Hiking days begin early when you light your stove, cook and enjoy breakfast, and then organize and pack your pack.
You’re usually hiking by mid-morning. Lunch on the trail might be bread you baked the day before, or a trail mix of nuts and dried fruits. You may stop for a short class on natural history, or to learn how to cross a river, travel through boulders or snow, or move over a high pass. When you arrive at your new camp location, you'll first spend time choosing a Leave No Trace site and organizing camp, then you’ll prepare a well-deserved dinner. If the day was long, a short evening meeting may wrap up the day. If the hike was short, there may be a class or discussion.
Primarily 30 days in length, these courses focus on technical traditional climbing skills in addition to camping and travel skills. You'll learn knots and rope handling, belaying, rappelling, protection placement and hazard evaluation while working on improving your movement over rock and potentially lead climbing.
When you choose to sail with NOLS, you'll learn how to read tidal charts, the finer points of coastal navigation and all the expedition skills you'll need in this dynamic environment.
NOLS sea kayak courses travel to some of the world's greatest locations for ocean paddling, from Alaska's famous Prince William Sound and the unique coastal desert ecosystem of Mexico's Gulf of California to the remote fjords of Patagonian Chile. You'll practice basic and advanced strokes and rescue techniques while traveling in a variety of water conditions.
Forest and ocean. Glacier and river. Heather and pine. This is the Pacific Northwest, with its temperate rain forests, stunning ice-covered volcanoes, hidden bays and coves, and lush old-growth forests.
Home to bald eagles, black bears, mountain goats, elk, porpoises, and whales, this will be your classroom. The Pacific Northwest is the birthplace of the outdoor industry, and NOLS has been the region’s outdoor education pioneer for more than 35 years.
We specialize in courses for outdoor educators and trip leaders, and our easy-to-access facilities in Conway, Wash., an hour north of Seattle, were specifically designed to support NOLS’ educational expeditions.
We’ll outfit you with everything you’ll need for an expedition into spectacular backcountry, from Oregon to British Columbia. Whatever your method of exploration—sea kayaking, rock climbing, glacier mountaineering, backpacking, or sailing—you’ll be in for the experience of a lifetime.
Welcome to the American Southwest: A horizon studded with saguaro cactus, hidden nooks lush with watercress, granite strongholds glowing orange in the setting sun, the call of a Gambel’s quail, the smell of mesquite washed in a pounding desert rain.
Now put yourself in the picture. You could be climbing, hiking, or canoeing in terrain as varied as those skills. From our facility on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, we explore the amazing diversity of this desert region, a land of mountain lion, javelina, and white-tailed deer.
Birds such as the elegant trogon and white-eared hummingbird fly the same skies as red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures. It’s a land that famed naturalist Aldo Leopold called “near to being the cream of creation.”
Courses pass through areas also rich in human history, areas originally inhabited by ancient cultures and areas with a more recent Spanish influence. With easy access, amazing contrasts, and challenging technical skills, a course at NOLS Southwest is hard to beat.