Leadership & Guide Training Courses
With three distinct geographical regions, Ecuador offers its visitors a rare opportunity to learn a wide array of outdoor and leadership skills among a myriad natural wonders. With an ecologically rich coastline, smoking volcanoes and cascading jungle waterfalls in the Amazon basin, Ecuador is a dynamic country full of excitement and adventure.
Our Ecuador Semester consists of mountaineering, backpacking & whitewater rafting/ rescue training.
Mountaineering: The glaciated volcanic peaks rising from the Andean Plateau of central Ecuador are ideal for gaining the experience necessary to be a competent and proficient mountaineer. Cayambe (18,997ft/5,790m), Cotopaxi (19,347ft/5,897m) and Chimborazo (20,701ft/6,310m) are spectacular peaks and offer students a great initial high altitude experience.
Backpacking & Whitewater Rafting: Natural wonders abound within the small country of Ecuador. Ecuador has one of the highest concentrations of rivers by area in the world, and spectacular grasslands, forests, and alpine lakes cover the Andean plateau. This course explores the Taochi, Blanco, and Upano rivers, towns of Quito and Tena, and the heights of Sangay National Park.
THE INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES OF IWLS are widely recognized as some of the very best in their field and have practical leadership experience from around the globe. They are well trained and have an uncommon enthusiasm for sharing their skill and knowledge, borne out of a passion for outdoor exploration.
The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates an awareness of the guiding mentality that is essential for leading safe, fun adventures in the mountains. The combination of technical skills training, experiential education and practical leadership experience make the IWLS curriculum world class.
IWLS GENERAL COURSE CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that your course will focus on.
- Leadership: Opportunities to lead the group will be abundant and you’ll have the time to learn and practice multiple styles of leadership.
- Navigation: Learn how to take a bearing, read a topographical map, triangulate your position, and navigate in a whiteout.
- Safety and Risk Management: Safety is always the #1 consideration. As the course progresses, you’ll develop an awareness to appropriately asses risk and make safe decisions.
- Environmental Ethics: As adventurers in some of the most pristine environments on the planet it is our duty to respect the natural world. All of our courses practice and teach Leave No Trace ® principles.
IWLS MOUNTAINEERING CURRICULUM is built from countless expeditions in Alaska and around the world. You’ll learn how to be a competent and proficient mountaineer in a variety of different environments. Below are some topics we’ll cover.
- Belaying: Should we use a fixed belay or a running belay? Our team will learn and practice the finer points of different belay techniques such as the hip belay, running belay, boot axe belay, fixed belay, and more!
- Ascending: Fixed lines are an important tool for large groups and guiding applications. We’ll learn how to efficiently use, build and maintain them.
- Rope Teams: Rope team travel is a complicated endeavor that requires skill, technique and teamwork. We’ll cover everything from prussic arrangement to team management.
- Objective Hazards: Rock fall, river crossings, and avalanches are examples of objective hazards. Learn how to identify such hazards and minimize group exposure.
IWLS BACKPACKING CURRICULUM prepares students for exploration into remote, backcountry settings. Here are some points we’ll cover on your course:
- Pre-trip Activities: Learn how to plan and prepare for an extended wilderness expedition. We’ll cover everything from technical camping equipment to group and personal expectations.
- Stoves and Campfires: The ability to repair a broken stove, make an emergency fire after being submerged in an icy river, and melt snow efficiently for water are key components for leading a group in the wilderness.
- River and Stream Crossings: In river crossings, attention to detail and safety are #1. You’ll learn and practice safe techniques for wading across a small stream or doing a Tyrolean traverse across a raging river.
- Geology: From plate tectonics to granitic batholiths, you’ll learn the history of the land you are exploring and how these forces create and influence the environment around you.
IWLS INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of planning and leading expeditions in foreign countries. Here are just a few topics that will be covered:
- Cultural History: As visitors to this remarkable place, we place a premium on being respectful and learning about the local culture and history. The vibrant Argentine culture makes for a unique and educational international experience.
- Language Skills: The ability to ask directions, purchase items, and communicate on any level is an essential element of leading an expedition to a foreign country. Throughout the course, we’ll develop our Spanish language skills through dialog and lesson plans.
- Trip Preparation: Logistics in a foreign country have the potential to be complex and tenuous. You’ll take part in shopping at the local market, arranging transportation, and securing permits in preparation for your expeditions in the Central Andes.
IWLS WHITEWATER CURRICULUM prepares students for extended river expeditions and whitewater safety. Here are some points we’ll cover on your course:
- Swiftwater Rescue: You’ll learn the skills necessary to descend a river safely and how to correct things if problems occur. From learning how to pluck swimmers from rapids to righting flipped rafts, this comprehensive course sets the standard for river rescue.
- Hydrology: Rivers are a powerful force of nature. An understanding of river hydrology helps us to identify and assess features on the river for safe navigation. You’ll learn the fundamentals of pourovers, eddies, holes, standing waves and more.
- Group Management: Learn how to distribute resources for effective risk management, designate a lead boat for scouting and keeping the group together, and establish a sweep boat with critical rescue equipment.
- Paddle Captaining and Commands: The captain of the paddle raft communicates to paddlers how to maneuver the raft. Learning how to paddle captain requires managing a group of paddlers to provide a safe, fun, and rewarding experience on the river.
CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the semester, participants may qualify for the following certifications:
Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Level 1
Rescue III International
Swift Water Rescue Technician
International Wilderness Leadership School
24 Day Guide Training Certificates of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School
DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.