Lander, Wyo.— Hunter Pool, 19, of Greensboro, N.C., recently completed a wilderness expedition traveling in the Pacific Northwest with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
Pool and his coursemates kicked of their semester in the Pacific Northwest with a technical mountaineering section. The section began in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, where students were given the chance to learn important backcountry skills such as cooking, assembling shelters, and basic self care. While hiking 97 miles, students had to manage a limited supply of food that was split into two ration periods. The third ration period marked the beginning of the technical mountaineering in the North Cascades. Students traveled across glaciers on fixed lines, facing deep snow and harsh weather the entire way.
Pool and the expedition group transitioned from land to sea as they began the sailing portion of their semester. The students traveled 187 nautical miles, in between Vancouver Island and British Columbia through calm and rough seas. Students learned how to operate the sails and motor, navigate in and out of coastal inlets, and work together as an efficient team all within the confines of their sailboat.
The student group then relocated to Smith Rock, Ore. to develop technical rock climbing skills. Students learned important techniques such as multi-pitching, anchor building, top rope management, and cleaning sport anchors during their time at Smith Rock. These skills allowed students to lead climbs to the summits of multiple rock monoliths and leave the section as competent rock climbers.
Pool and his coursemates returned to the coast to begin hiking in Olympic National Park. Students saw humpback whales, wolves, black bears, seals, otters, and even sea lions during their trek along the coast. To test an entire semester worth of newly acquired skills, students embarked on a four-day expedition independent of instructors. They were met with gale force winds, snow and rain challenging them to stay warm and dry. The group persevered and left Olympic National Park with a deep appreciation of the coastal environment.
Pool and his coursemates graduated from their NOLS Semester in the Pacific Northwest equipped with technical outdoor skills, wilderness ethic and leadership skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Since legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded the school in 1965, more than 254,000 students have graduated from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the leader in wilderness education. Whether through field-based courses offered in some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world or classroom-based courses, the school provides transformative educational experiences to students of all ages. Graduates emerge as active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. To discover the NOLS experience or to bring a course to your business or organization, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.
- a press release