Explore the best of Alaska! These series of exciting adventure activities challenge students in one of the wildest places on earth. Backcountry skills and outdoor education combine for a complete wilderness experience!
Imagine paddling placid waters amidst a pod of orcas, running exciting class IV rapids in the Yukon, or hiking the crest of an alpine ridge with the ocean far below. Picture yourself climbing deep blue glacier ice and alpine rock.
This comprehensive multi-sport course is the perfect setting to achieve your goals whether you are looking to hone your technical abilities for a lifetime of outdoor exploration, expand your leadership skills, or have a fun, exciting adventure with friends.
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. We are specialist at taking young adults into the wilderness and facilitating experiential education.
The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates a fun, learning environment for students to grow and excel as a group in the outdoors. Students develop leadership skills used to face challenges and solve problems in unique wilderness environments. The self-confidence and self-reliance garnered from these experiences last a lifetime.
THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that the course will focus on.
- 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.
- Basic Camping Skills: Mastering these essential skills will prove valuable whether you are pitching a tent in gale force winds or melting snow for drinking water.
- Equipment/Clothing Selection and Use: You’ll learn to choose the right gear for the correct application, whether enjoying a sunny afternoon on a snow slope or trekking through a tropical rainforest.
- Navigation: Learn how to take a bearing, read a topographical map, triangulate your position, or navigate in a whiteout.
- 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.
- Tides and Currents: Southeast Alaska is home to some of the largest tidal changes in North America. We’ll learn about tide charts, the “Rule of 12’s”, and how to identify and avoid strong currents.
SEA KAYAKING: Paddle on the Lynn Canal, the deepest and longest fjord in North America! We may see humpback whales, orcas, Dall porpoises, sea otters, eagles and brown bears from our kayaks. After a few days of kayaking, we’ll paddle across the fjord to the Davidson Glacier.
ICE CLIMBING: We’ll climb and trek on deep blue glacier ice beneath jagged snowcapped mountains. Learn about glaciology and geology of Alaska, in addition to rope skills and ice climbing technique.
RAFTING: After donning the appropriate gear, we will paddle raft down exciting class III – IV rapids on the Blanchard and Tatshenshini rivers of Canada’s Yukon Territory.
ALPINE BACKPACKING: Our backpacking trip hikes above tree line and overlooks a wide expanse of mountains, ocean, and rivers. Incredible views in an unique environment make this one of the highlights of the trip.
ROCK CLIMBING: Fun, safe, rock climbing on the granite cliffs near historic Skagway, Alaska.
Experience Level: No previous experience is necessary for this course. However, with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for adventure, you’ll develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of wilderness exploration.