July 28, 2010

NOLS Backcountry Rock Climbing

I just finished my fourth course as an instructor for NOLS.  Along with 2 other instructors, we took 12 students rock climbing in the Southern Wind River Range of Wyoming for 4 weeks.  We finished with 11 students after removing a behavioral issue on day 12.  I took the problem student out after he verbally threatened a 17 year old girl.  We were deep in the mountains at that point, so the round trip hike to remove him was about 30 miles.  Was it worth it?  Hell yes!  The course dynamics improved tremendously after that and we all had a great time climbing backcountry alpine rock routes and ascending peaks.

The scenery kept changing but was always this beautiful.

This was the first course where I felt I had a solid grasp of the big picture and was able to comprehend the course progression while still being able to focus on the task at hand.  We had great weather and terrific amounts of mosquitoes.  Apparently I'm still not tired of the Winds because Ava and I are heading back there tomorrow. We plan to spend three days climbing in the Cirque of the Towers, which is the most popular and crowded area of the range - for good reason.  After that we'll head to the Tetons for a couple more alpine rock climbs before heading to Yosemite to meet up with Chris and Mel for yet some more climbing of rocks.