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NOLS’ New Lightning Field Book Stresses Risk Management

Lightning is a risk for those who spend time in the outdoors. NOLS wants to provide adventurers with information about how to manage the risks associated with lightning while in camp or out on the trail.

Based on over 15 years of research, the new book “NOLS Lightning” by NOLS Curriculum and Research Manager John Gookin explains lightning science with simple language and illustrations. Lightning weather, physics, and strike distribution are all covered.

9780811713641Just released this month, this guide arrives in time for the National Weather Service’s National Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 22–28. Summer is the peak season for lightning strikes.

The book equips readers with a basic understanding of science to aid in recognizing events leading up to a lightning strike and take precautions to avoid being struck.

The safest place during a lightning storm is inside, but when traveling in the backcountry absolute safety is not obtainable. A risk management approach to lightning is essential for outdoor activities and expeditions. The techniques outlined in this book will help reduce risk of lightning injuries in the backcountry. Use this guide to develop your awareness and skills and share your lightning knowledge including:

• Identify conditions that lead to thunderstorms

• Anticipate where lightning tends to strike

• Know what actions to take if travel companions are injured by lightning

• Safety techniques for tent camping

The best thing outdoors people can do to minimize risks associated with lightning in the backcountry is developing awareness. Learn to stay tuned in to the weather. When ascending to high elevations, establish a turnaround time if thunderstorms are likely. Identify and move to safer terrain well before danger is near. Avoid conductors once lightning gets close. Get into the lightning position if lightning is striking nearby.

Watch a NOLS Mythbusters video below for more information on lightning!

The chapter on case studies with 12 examples of real lightning encounters in the backcountry is an excellent tool to better understand the techniques of recognizing storms, identifying dangerous and safer locations, and responding appropriately when simply stepping inside is not an option.

This book is an invaluable resource for understanding lightning, one of nature’s most dangerous natural phenomena, with 144 pages of advice about lightning from experts in the field. Click here to order the NOLS field guide to lightning!

Permalink | Posted by Kim Freitas on Jun 23, 2014 in the following categories: Books, In The News

The 12 Days of NOLS

We’ve found the perfect way to get you into the holiday spirit and fight the cold snap with a hearty laugh. Watch NOLS Creative’s newest (and possibly goofiest) release, “The 12 Days of NOLS,” a NOLS variation on the classic tune, to get a taste of the NOLS experience or reminisce about your course! Written with extensive input from the peanut gallery, shot and edited in less than 12 hours, and brought to you with only mild shame, we now ask you to watch the video and sing along.

On the first day of my course Paul Petzoldt gave to me ...


Windpants with a reinforced knee

Two trekking poles

Three Peaks Ranch


Five pounds of cheese

Six dudes belaying

Seven miles a' shwackin’

Eight malt balls missing

Nine quickdraws clipping

Ten backpacks bulging

Eleven toasty hot drinks

Twelve students mapping

 Happy Holidays from NOLS

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Dec 10, 2013 in the following categories: Alaska, Alumni, Amazon, Australia, Books, Curriculum, India, Instructor News, Leadership, Mexico, New Zealand, Northeast, On The Net, Pacific Northwest, Patagonia, Professional Training, Rocky Mountain, Scandinavia, Southwest, Teton Valley, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Yukon

NOLS' Newest Book is a Perfect Holiday Gift: Canoeing

Canoeing_300Effortlessly gliding through the crystal clear, smooth water, the canoes’ bow pierces the flat surface and sends ripples outward toward the shores. A single-bladed paddle silently dips into the water, propelling the watercraft further onward.

The simple, yet magnificent practicality of a canoe has been around for years. From the earliest cedar-ribbed and birch bark skinned hulls to the wood-and-canvas construction, and on to the modern-day myriad of ABS plastics, foam, and vinyl that are pressed together and known as Royalex. The materials, as well as the people using canoes, have changed drastically over time.

Nowadays canoes can be found splitting through Arctic waters bumping edges with mini icebergs, crossing the vast Pacific Ocean with help of sails and are still found on small lakes and ponds throughout the world. They are vessels for recreation, transportation, and scientific studies, among other things.

The new NOLS book, Canoeing, written by Alexander Martin and published by Stackpole Books, goes in-depth to explore and enhance the overall understanding of every aspect of canoeing—from planning an expedition and describing in detail the parts of a canoe to water science and river maneuvers and travel. Martin, a NOLS instructor since 2008, has a great understanding of a variety of canoe expeditions and was able to use past experiences and knowledge to create this all-encompassing canoeing book.

Nols_owned_image24_xxlRunning a section of whitewater on a river in the Yukon (Photo credit: Pascal Beauvais)

The book is the perfect gift for anyone with a passion for canoeing who would like to learn more regarding expedition canoeing, water travel and techniques, wilderness navigation, as well as advanced skills and other aspects that make up the world of canoeing. This book will serve as a great resource with colorful graphics and pictures to help demonstrate and teach skills and concepts. As everyone settles in for winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Canoeing will be a great companion. While the snow falls and the winds howl, read up on everything canoe related and gain more insight and excitement with each page. Then when winter finally loses its grip on the land and the waterways flow freely, unimpeded by ice, you can set off your own canoe expedition.

For those who wish to gain even more canoe experience and skills, a great avenue is a NOLS course. There are multiple courses with a canoeing component that will allow you to build a foundation and further your canoeing knowledge and experience. NOLS has taught canoe travel for the last four decades. Significant canoe components can be found at multiple NOLS operating locations including the Yukon, the Brazilian Amazon, Australia, American Southwest and Alaska. Any of these courses or locations would be greatly beneficial to anyone wishing to enhance their outdoor skills, leadership development, environmental studies and risk management techniques. 

Permalink | Posted by Mike Casella on Dec 2, 2013 in the following categories: Alaska, Amazon, Australia, Books, Curriculum, In The News, New Zealand, Northeast, Rocky Mountain, Southwest, Yukon

2010 Outdoor Retailer Show

The Outdoor Retailer Show is all about checking out new gear, networking with new people, and strengthening our relationship with NOLS partners. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from one end of the conference floor to the other. 

The conference kicked off with speeches from Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and Natural Leaders Coordinator Juan Martinez. They spoke about getting people connected back with nature, and the America's Great Outdoors initiative. NOLS is involved with the AGO initiative by co-hosting one of the country-wide listening sessions in Lander, Wyoming on August 25th.

DeuterHere is some of the latest gear from around the NOLS world in the outdoor industry:

 NOLS and Deuter have been working hard to ramp up our relationship since the last Outdoor Retailer Show in January 2010. Together we are partnering to provide a series of NOLS logoed Spectro AC 38 packs. It's a smaller pack meant for cragging and weekend trips. This pack with the NOLS logo will be for sale in an outdoor store near you soon.

If you have been in any of our issue-rooms, you'll know that we carry Optic Nerve sunglasses in our issue rooms. Based in Denver, Colorado, they have a strong environmental ethic that aligns with our own. At this show Optic Nerve is showcasing their new line of sunglasses called FORESEE. These glasses are made from 100% renewable resources with no petroleum-based resins and no hazardous paints. Check out the new FORESEE glasses on the Optic Nerve site.

Stackpole Books and NOLS just announced the field edition of the NOLS Cookery. It's the same great CookeryCookery you may know already but has been outfitted with a spiral binding and weatherproof pages. Stackpole is also working on a NOLS Expedition Planning book that will be the first 
NOLS book printed in full color. We work closely with this Pennsylvania-based publisher on all of our book projects. They also publish titles on military history, fly-fishing, the Appalachian Trail, and more!

Nuun electolyte-enhanced sports drink tabs have been floating around the NOLS headquarters offices for the last few weeks and they are also making the rounds here at the Summer Market. Pop one of these tablets into your water bottle for a super refreshing, sugar-free solution to quenching thirst. Have you tried Nuun before on your adventures? Let us know what you think!

PhotoThere was also a sighting of NOLS all-star (Baja Sea Kayaking grad, veggie-bus crew member, Rocky Mountain Intern, and Student Services Rep) Jared Pangretic. He is now a member of the Mountainsmith marketing team. He was super busy, but had time to stop by our booth, and have dinner with us. (Don't forget where you got your start Jared!)

For more info on the latest gear from the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show check out the following blogs:

Permalink | Posted by William Roth on Aug 10, 2010 in the following categories: Books, In The News

Emily's Version of NOLS' Rice in Nut Curry Sauce

The NOLS Cookery Emily McGalliard, mother of Semester in Baja grad Elena, snagged her daughter’s copy of the NOLS Cookery during a recent camping weekend with friends and made a few changes to some classic NOLS field grub.

She took the Rice in Nut Curry Sauce recipe and made it a one-pot meal with a more distinctive Thai taste by using red curry, powdered coconut milk, and instant mashed potatoes as a thickener. The recipe adds up to a tasty and filling dinner with the protein and carbohydrates you need to hike the trail all day. Thanks, Emily!

Emily's Version of NOLS' RICE in Nut Curry Sauce


1 cup rice
1 handful of dried veggies
1 Tbps dried onion
¼ tsp garlic
2½ cups water
2 cups water
2 cups dried milk
1 tsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp or a little less red curry powder
2 handfuls each of raisins and cashews
2-3 Tbsp instant mashed potatoes
1 tsp vinegar

Mix the first four ingredients in 2½ cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the water has been absorbed. Add the next six ingredients in the order listed; return to a boil. Add the instant mashed potatoes as a thickener, stir in vinegar, and serve.


We though this version of the NOLS classic was great–but if you're not a fan of raisins like neither of us are, you can toss them out of the mix and instead add extra cashews or even Craisins for a little tang.

Got a great backcountry recipe? Send it to along with your name, NOLS course, and where the recipe was created. If your recipe is chosen, you'll get a copy on the NOLS Cookery! (Recipe originally published in The Leader as "Variations on a Theme: Improvising With NOLS Cookery" by Libby Gadbois, NOLS Alumni Intern, and Pearson Smith, NOLS Marketing Representative)

Permalink | Posted by William Roth on Apr 14, 2010 in the following categories: Alumni, Books

Notable NOLSies for $500 Please

Next time someone points an accusatory finger at you calls you a "NOLSie," be proud!  Answers to the following quiz will show that you are in good company.

Answers (and photos) are after the quiz, but don't cheat!  The grand prize is the sense of satisfaction and pride that you know more than the average person about NOLS Who's Who - or maybe the realization that you have been a NOLSie for longer than you thought.

(1) She was the first woman and first American to travel over land to the South Pole AND the first woman to row across the Atlantic by herself in a plywood boat.

(2) He wrote a true story about man versus the sea that was made into a successful Hollywood blockbuster movie, and won this year's US Documentary prize at the Sundance Festival for directing a visceral account of a year in the lives of 15 Americans fighting in Afghanistan.

(3) He leveraged the success of his first beverage company to start changing the world, one beverage at a time, with Adina for Life (a drink company with a social conscience)

(4) He is a dapper and award-winning CNN anchor, reporter, author and television personality.

(5) He is the founder of one of the most respected environmental news web-site, which touts itself as a "beacon in the smog."

(6) She is a media magnate (hint, the founder of iVillage) whose recent marriage to another media magnate (hint, the president of Random House) was much talked about in the Big Apple

(7) He is a dishy famous actor who starred in such 80's flicks as St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, and my own personal favorite, Weekend at Bernie's.

(8) She is an "Ultra Mom" who teaches for NOLS and WMI, has a 2-year-old son, and was recently clocked as the fastest woman on trail at the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile run.

(9) He is one of our newest interns in the NOLS Headquarters video department who is a hometown hero in Alexandria, where a local on-line paper published a piece about his Semester in Patagonia.




(1) Who is Tori Murden McClure, author of A Pearl in the Storm (Harper Collins 2009), who was recently named President of Spalding University.


(2) Who is Sebastian Junger (author of The Perfect Storm and director of Restrepo)
GS (3) Who is Greg Steltelpohl (founder of Odwalla, andnow Adina for Life)
AC (4) Who is Anderson Cooper - need we say more?
CG (5) Who is Chip Giller, founder of
CC (6) Who is Candice Carpenter Olson, married to Pete Olson (CEO/President of Random House)
Number 1 (7) Who is Andrew McCarthy


(8) Who is Liza Howard
patagonia (9) Who is Brooks Eaton - check out the article here.

Permalink | Posted by Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Mar 15, 2010 in the following categories: Alumni, Books, Patagonia, Wilderness Medicine Institute

Broadcasting More Buzz Surrounding Emanuel Rosen and NOLS

Last year, Emanuel Rosen, famous author of 'The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited', spent two weeks on the NOLS Bus conducting a book tour.  Ever since his national bestseller featured NOLS as one of several case studies exemplifying “buzz marketing,” Emanuel and NOLS have forged a great partnership. 

A video of Emanuel’s NOLS bus tour can be found here.  And today, he created even more buzz by posting an update on why he included NOLS (among others) in his book.

Emanuel Rosen and Book Cover

Permalink | Posted by Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Feb 10, 2010 in the following categories: Books

Pizza & Calzone Recipe - A NOLS Cookery Classic

7228_161536396760_19888506760_3208741_7475608_n Yeast Crust:
1 tsp. dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour

Sauce recipes in NOLS Cookery or choose your own favorite!

Possible Toppings:
fish, wild onions, bacon, ham, sausage, pepperjack, chedder, or mozzarella cheese crumbled or thinly sliced, etc...

Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar and salt. Add flour and mix to make stiff dough. Oil a fry pan, and spread dough in pan with oiled fingers to form crust. Turn up edges to hold sauce. Pour sauce over crust, and top with cheese and any other toppings. Cover and bake on a stove on low heat until crust is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Or you can use a twiggy fire, which helps cook crust from both top and bottom. Be sure to move the pan in round the clock rotation in quarter turns to bake all parts of the pizza.

Alternative cooking method: Put crust in pan and cook for about 10 minutes; flip, spread with sauce and cheese, cover, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

Variation: For calzones, spread flattened dough in pan and cover one half with desired toppings. Fold other half of dough over the top and pinch edges together to seal in toppings. Cook about 10 minutes on each side, or use a twiggy fire and bake for about 20 minutes.

For more recipes including this one, check out the NOLS Cookery at

Permalink | Posted by William Roth on Nov 17, 2009 in the following categories: Books

Know Your Knots - The Trucker's Hitch

The trucker's hitch is a great thing to have in your quiver of tricks. It's often the first knot we teach students on NOLS courses to use for pitching a tent. It is simple to tie, easy to adjust, and easy to untie.

Because if forms a pulley and give you a 3 to 1 mechanical advantage, it can be used to cinch items down on your pack, to raise heavy food bags for bear hangs, or just to tie your gear to the roof rack of your car on your way to the mountains.

- Excerpt from The National Outdoor Leadership School's Wilderness Guide


Permalink | Posted by NOLS on Nov 11, 2009 in the following categories: Books

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