CARLSBAD — Carlsbad resident Stefan Delgado recently completed an 80-day course in Patagonia, Chile with the National Outdoor Leadership School.
From Jan. 19 to April 7, Delgado’s group of 17 students and five instructors explored the Patagonia region. Students began their semester in Coyhaique with a 10-day Wilderness First Responder course, which taught them the skills to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote locations.
These skills prepared them for the next section of mountain travel through the Patagonian valleys. Here students learned to choose campsites, plan routes, evaluate hazards and had classes in leadership techniques, communication and problem solving.
In the varied environment of Patagonia, they moved on to glacier travel where skills like knot tying, rope handling, and crevasse rescue were critical to the group progression.
In the next section of the course students traded their hiking boots for paddles and headed to the island chains of southern Patagonia for some sea kayaking. They learned to conquer environmental difficulties like strong currents, tidal fluctuations and fickle weather. To address these challenges students mastered paddling techniques, rescue skills, and route planning, while studying the natural history of the area.
After the completion of these previous sections, students headed out on an independent student expedition. They crafted travel plans and proposed routes that drew on all of the skills they had learned throughout their time in Patagonia.
For more information, call (800) 710-6657 or visit www.nols.edu.