Credit: Devin Duffy

Your expedition will focus on one or more skill types to navigate the wilderness.

You’ll learn to explore mountains, sea, and coasts while practicing the NOLS core curriculum of leadership, wilderness skills, risk management, and environmental studies.

Your experience will be about hands-on learning. Every day will be a new opportunity to practice and grow your skills.

Core Curriculum

Skills for Life


  • Expedition behavior (pitch in, be positive, serve group goals, respect others, work as a team)
  • Competence
  • Communication
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Tolerance for adversity and uncertainty (maintain a good work ethic, step up to challenges, have mental endurance)
  • Self awareness
  • Vision and action
Instructor addresses students on an avalanche seminar course in Teton Valley.with snow-covered trees in the background.



Outdoor Skills

  • Equipment care and selection
  • Ration planning
  • Preparing nutritious meals using a camp stove or fire
  • Staying warm and dry
  • Route-finding, navigation, map reading, compass use
  • Campsite selection
  • Sanitation and waste disposal
Participant belays top rope climber, practicing basic climbing skills in the Rockies.



Environmental Studies

  • Leave No Trace camping and resource protection
  • Natural history
  • Pertinent regional environmental issues
  • Function, organization, and local concerns of land management agencies
  • Sustainability of ecological, social, and economic systems
  • Wilderness ethics and practices for everyday life
Wildflowers in a lush green valley in Alaska's Chugach Mountains with peaks rising in the distance.



Risk Management

  • Health and comfort maintenance
  • Wilderness injury prevention and treatment
  • Judgment: use past experience and knowledge to judge new situations
  • Group decision-making
  • Identify and mitigate subjective and objective risks
  • Emergency procedures