Utah & Nevada Semester

Leadership & Guide Training Courses
(48+ days)





These are just a few of the possible schedules for the fall and spring, feel free to contact our office to customize a semester!

Utah / Nevada Spring 2019 –

February 17, 2019       Backpacking Canyoneering – 24 Day 

March 16, 2019            Mountaineering – 12 Day                      

March 31, 2019            Rock Climbing – 12 Day                     

Semester Total Cost        $8502.50 + tax

Contact us for more details or other options!

During the Utah & Nevada Semester, students develop substantial leadership skills and a profound understanding of, and appreciation for, Utah’s canyon country. You’ll learn comprehensive avalanche safety awareness, expert emergency response and Leave No Trace principles in a winter mountain environment.

You’ll experience walking beneath towering sandstone spires, squeezing through a tight slot canyon, cutting a precarious cornice onto a snow slope below and making improvised splints in the backcountry during these 80 days of professional instruction.

Our standard Utah & Nevada Semester consists of three courses. Mountaineering, Backpacking & Canyoneering, and Rock & Ice Climbing is a common combination. If you are trying to develop your first aid skill set, consider the 12-day Wilderness First Responder as an add-on. This course is available for additional university credit and is the minimum standard for instructors and guides in the outdoor industry.

Mountaineering Numerous peaks above 12,000 feet and vertical reliefs of 7,000 feet offer an array of climbing objectives within Great Basin National Park. Steep snow slopes, rock ridges, and big mountain terrain amidst a remote wilderness environment make it a perfect location for developing expedition mountaineering skills.

Ski/Snowboard Mountaineering The skiing and snowboarding in Utah is renowned throughout the world. Deep snowpack, dry powder and incredible mountain terrain make the Utah and Nevada courses the premiere location for learning backcountry skills.

Rock Climbing Notch Peak, located in Utah’s west desert, is home to the largest limestone face in the continental U.S. Plenty of sunshine and a massive sea of rock offers endless amounts of crack, face and slab climbing. This idyllic area is perfect to hone rock climbing technique, anchor placements, and multi-pitch climbing.

Backpacking & Canyoneering The canyon country of the desert southwest is famous for its beautiful red rock canyons, unique topographical formations and landscapes. IWLS students rappel narrow slot canyons, backpack through towering needles of red rock and learn about the fragile desert ecosystem as they explore this wilderness playground.

Ice Climbing The balance of cold winter temperatures and sunshine make ice climbing in Utah’s Wasatch mountains some of the best in the country. Provo canyon and the surrounding areas have everything from moderate topropes to technical multi-pitch routes.

After each segment you will have a few days to unpack, clean up, reconnect with all your loved ones, and prepare for the next portion of the program.

Upon completion of your Utah & Nevada Semester, you will be a competent and confident leader in variety of terrains and techniques. Qualified students may have the opportunity for employment as a guide or instructor with IWLS.

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.

THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that the course will focus on.

  • 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.
  • Leadership: You’ll have the opportunity to lead the group in a variety of activities and objectives.
  • Environmental Ethics: As adventurers in some of the most pristine environments on the planet, it is our duty to respect the natural landscape. All of our courses practice and teach Leave No Trace® principles.
  • 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.
  • Wilderness Emergency Procedures and Treatment: Learn how to effectively manage safe, efficient, and timely backcountry rescues.

-Darsie Culbeck

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.

  • Self-Arrest: What happens if you fall on a steep now slope? Learn, through hands-on experience, how to stop a fall quickly and efficiently.
  • Anchors: Anchor building is a fun, yet intricate subject. We’ll examine single, double, triple and complex anchors, and their different applications. Learn how to place anchors in snow, rock, and ice.
  • Crevasse Rescue: Traveling in glaciated terrain requires that every member of the team be proficient in crevasse rescue. We’ll learn how to get a team mate out of a crevasse quickly and efficiently.
  • Technical Climbing: Rock climbing, ice climbing and steep snow climbing are all included in the IWLS’ curriculum.

-Ted Roxbury

IWLS AVALANCHE CURRICULUM is a nationally recognized progression of material that prepares students to be safe backcountry travelers.

  • Avalanche Characteristics: We’ll examine loose snow, wet snow, soft slab, and hard slab avalanches along with some potential triggers. You’ll learn the definition of terms such as stauchwall, alpha angle, and bed surface.
  • Snow Stability Evaluation: Is this snow capable of avalanching? Learn tests such as compression test and rutschblock test that will help you evaluate layers within the snowpack. Develop your documentation skills for accurate recording and analysis of information.
  • Safe Winter Travel: As a group, we will travel safely through avalanche terrain. Considerations will include cornices, equipment selection, route finding, campsite selection, and effective communication.
  • Avalanche Rescue: Someone buried in an avalanche has an 87% chance of survival if found within the first fifteen minutes. We’ll practice using probes, beacons, and effective search patterns in order to quickly and efficiently find a buried person.

IWLS BACKPACKING & CANYONEERING 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.

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.

CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the semester, participants may qualify for the following certifications:

Level 1 Avalanche Certification*
International Wilderness Leadership School


24 Day Guide Training Certificates of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School


*Dependent on weather and season

DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.