Grow as a leader during a month in the wilderness. In this NOLS course, you’ll dive into learning leadership and outdoor skills in the North Cascade Range. Climb to the tops of craggy peaks and wander evergreen forests. Learn about local ecology as you backpack through moss-covered temperate rainforests and cross rivers.
You will begin with learning the basics of wilderness living, including cooking, campsite selection, stove use, and Leave No Trace practices. As you progress, you will cover more advanced topics, including map reading, first aid, leadership, plant and animal identification, ecosystems, geology, weather, and environmental issues. Along the way, you will have real opportunities to put your new leadership and outdoor skills into practice every day. You’ll get to see some of the most spectacular wilderness in the United States. By the end of the expedition, you’ll have the skills and experience to pursue a lifetime of wilderness exploration on your own and with friends and family.
Wake up to see the sun rise on glacier-carved peaks, and fall asleep ready to take on the next day. Depending on the season, your course will either go to the Pasayten Wilderness of north-central Washington, known for its rugged ridges and high plateaus, or to Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula, known for its high, glacial mountains and wide alpine meadows.
Focusing on leadership skills will be a key component of this course. You and your group will draw on leadership skills like communication and decision making as you meet new challenges, like making choices about a route or resolving conflict. You’ll be in different leadership roles every day, finding out what your unique style is and how you can support your group. At the end of this course, you’ll walk away with real experiences that will help you be a leader no matter where you find yourself.
*Duration: 31 days
*Route length: 100-160 miles
*Average group size: 10 students / 2 instructors
*Average age: Varies. Options include courses for ages 18-22 and courses for ages 16 and older.
*Average pack weight: 45-55 pounds
*Elevation range: 1,000-7,000 feet
*Combination of on- and off-trail hiking
*Travel both above and below tree line
*Possible opportunities for non-technical peak ascents
*Opportunity for students to travel in small groups independent of instructors at the end of the course (depends on instructor discretion)
*Notable wildlife: deer, black bear, and mountain goat