Program Comparison

IWLS, Outward Bound, and NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) are the industry leaders in wilderness education, and all offer quality programs; that being said, we believe that the International Wilderness Leadership School is at the top of it’s class in terms of quality of education, available certifications, and economic value.

  IWLS NOLS Outward Bound
Group Size (students) ~6-8 ~12-14 ~10-12
College Credit Yes Yes Yes
Semester Programs Yes Yes Yes
Medical Certifications Yes Yes Yes
Accredited by AEE Yes Yes No
Avalanche Certifications Yes No No
Swift Water Rescue Certifications Yes No No
American Canoe Association Certifications Yes No No
$145* $191* $188*
  *figure based on a 24-day IWLS, Alaska mountaineering course *figure based on a 30-day NOLS, Alaska mountaineering course *figure based on a 15-day Outward Bound, Colorado mountaineering course

The International Wilderness Leadership School is a division of Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School Inc., the largest guiding company in Alaska. Our instructors aren’t only teaching IWLS courses, they’re also leading trips around the world in a professional guiding capacity. Our programs range from ½ day Sea Kayaking and Rock Climbing programs to custom multi-sport trips to expeditions on the highest mountains in the world. We love to hire competent IWLS alumni, and do so on a frequent occasion.  For more info on employment with IWLS, please click HERE.