Outdoor Skills Training

It’s a cold, sparklingly clear day in March, and the White Mountains are filled with hikers, skiers, and snowshoers, each leaving distinctive tracks in the piles of late-spring powder. It seems like everyone is chattering about the weather; each group we pass has something to say about the glorious conditions. We’re on our way to…

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The sounds of summer are only a few weeks away: kids laughing and playing at the park, the conspicuous jingle of the ice cream truck, the buzz of lawnmowers cutting the grass, pickaxes and shovels clinking on hardened earth and rock. Wait, pickaxes and shovels? That’s right: Summer is trail work season in New England….

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  Morning is still asserting itself—early light eking through dusty windows, aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting in from the kitchen—as eight strangers settle into mismatched couches and chairs on an unseasonably warm Thursday in October. The group gives off a mix of excitement, anxiety, and grogginess, some having driven from as far as New…

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Just inside the door to AMC’s trails workshop in Pinkham Notch, N.H., there’s a battered wood tool bench with a faded logo spray-painted on its side: a pair of double-bit axes forming a cross. Actual axes and ax heads cover the bench’s surface. Many are rusted and missing handles; others feature jagged shards of wood…

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Leading teams of hikers and climbers on the snow and ice poses many of the same challenges as a three-season adventure, but the stakes are raised considerably. Shorter days make turn-around times more critical, surviving an unplanned night out requires more know-how, and a white-out blizzard can quickly disorient even a seasoned navigator. Below are…

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If you are a trip leader for the AMC, you probably started your journey as a participant as its one-of-a-kind leadership training experience.  Hopefully, this prepared you well for leading trips in your favorite outdoor activity.  If you are not yet a leader, perhaps you have attended an AMC outing, focused on safety & fun,…

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Bright bluebird skies sprawl above a dark, craggy mountain peak. Glistening snow drifts along the shadowy forest’s edge. The same natural contrasts that make outdoor photography so spectacular can create a major technical challenge: How do you capture detail in both the brightest and the darkest elements of a scene? Fortunately, a standard smartphone feature can help you eliminate blown-out skies and dark shadows: high dynamic…

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As America’s oldest conservation organization, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has a rich history of offering high quality volunteer led outdoor leadership trainings and outings. Volunteer leaders providing positive experiences in the outdoors, for members and non-members alike, have been a fundamental means to grow AMC’s  membership and to support the club’s mission: to promote…

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Adapted from AMC’s Mountain Skills Manual If you’re lost in the woods, one not-so-well-known approach to locating a more familiar area is the find-me cross. This technique is quite effective, but you have to be self-disciplined to use it. After admitting that you’re lost, mark your location by building an obvious landmark using rocks or…

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Twenty-seven men and women stand in a rigid line, backs straight and eyes ahead, attuned to the instructor up front. As she calls out directions, the line begins to dissolve. “If it’s most important for you to reach your goal in the outdoors, step to the left,” she tells them. “If it’s most important that…

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