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June 15, 2024 7:16pm
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Sunnyvale Resident Completes 90 Day Spring Course Lander, Wyo

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Nathan Gyugyi, 18, of Sunnyvale, Cal. recently completed a wilderness expedition traveling in the Rocky Mountains with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Gyugyi and his coursemates kicked of their semester in the Rocky Mountains with a winter camping section. The students spent 14 days in the Arizona creek wilderness located in the Absorka Mountains of Wyoming. The group traveled from camp to camp on cross-country skis, which provided many opportunities to learn avalanche awareness and rescue. At camp students would build large snow shelters called quigloos that helped protect form high winds and -20 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Students also learned how to care for frostbite, treat hypothermia, and cook in extremely cold conditions. The course highlight was a nine-mile ski tour to the top of Kitten Mountain that provided great powder skiing on the way down. Gyugyi and his coursemates received their Wilderness First Responder training during a two-week window between the winter and river sections. This training enabled students to effectively respond to wilderness emergencies and injuries. The students transitioned from WFR training to the Green river for a white water canoeing expedition in Utah. The expedition went 130 miles down the Green river, which runs through Desolation and Gray canyons. The canyons gave the students an opportunity to navigate class II-III rapids and acquire an understanding of risk management on the river. The students thoroughly enjoyed white water rescue scenarios that allowed students to practice throwing safety lines to their coursemates who were actually immersed in white water. Students also received their Leave No Trace Master Educator certifications while on the river Gyugyi and his coursemates relocated to the cedar mesa wilderness of Utah to begin their course on canyoneering. Over the span of 20 days the students traveled 150 miles on foot through deep canyons and high mesa tops. Students used topographical maps to navigate the winding canyons and reach their camp each night. Students observed a wide variety of wildlife and were able to explore ancient ruins of the Pueblo people. The highlight of this section was an independent student expedition where students traveled without instructors for five days and nights. After the canyoneering course the student group and instructors departed for Unaweep canyon in Colorado to develop technical rock climbing skills. For three weeks Gyugyi learned how to build anchors, lead climb, lead belay, multi-pitch, and perform self-rescue procedures. Students also taught environmental classes covering the areas ecology. The highlight of the course was finishing a multi-pitch climb that stood over 1000 feet tall. Gyugyi and his coursemates graduated from their NOLS Semester in the Rocky Mountains equipped with technical outdoor skills, wilderness ethic, and leadership skills they will use for the rest of their lives. About NOLS - The National Outdoor Leadership School: 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

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