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NOLS Climbing Instructor Handbook

edited by Phil Powers and Michael Cheek, 2000 Edition, National Outdoor Leadership School, Lander Wyoming

This small spiral-bound 84 page “notebook”, profusely illustrated by John McMullen and Mike Clelland sets a clear standard for the leadership of mountaineering and rock climbing activities in an institutional setting. The specific protocols followed by the National Outdoor Leadership School set a standard which will guide Leaders in climbing clubs, in college outings groups and private guided climbs.

The American Mountain Guides Association is another arbiter of safe institutional leadership techniques. Their protocols and those of NOLS are used in Court to determine liability and negligent damages.

The first part of the Notebook covers risk management leadership in a sport climbing venue such as at Smith Rock State Park. Pages 30 to 84 cover NOLS leadership techniques in mountaineering.

The NOLS protocols involve learning and teaching specifics such as Anchors, Protection Placement, Rappelling, Peak Ascents, Multi pitch Climbing, Lead Climbing, Guiding on Glaciers, Self Rescue, Crevasse Rescue and Short Roping.

This little book and several others of its type, give the reader an understanding that there is more to being a good Group Leader than just being a good sport climber or mountaineer. Follow these standard protocols in institutional settings, be a considerate leader, take wing with your personal friends and you may live to be an “Old Mountaineer” with 300 summits to recall.

Outdoor Skills, Leadership, Safety and Judgment and Environmental Ethics are the four themes that help to establish a NOLS Leader. This NOLS Climbing Instructor Notebook will start the novice reader on a path to a greater experience than “just having fun”.
--On Belay? Bob Speik

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