Wilderness education has been something on my mind lately. My husband and I have recently taken up backcountry skiing, and safety is our primary goal, especially as parents. And so our winter has been and is full of Avalanche training, practice, and education.
Today, I’d like to introduce Logan Randolph, mountain guide and ski patroller, who is working on a new site that will make the whole process of wilderness education easier.
Many of my friends have no interest in mountaineering or any other kind of outdoor recreation. Yet everyone who spends time outside understands why it’s so special. It’s addicting and refreshing. There is something so real about considering little more than food, water and shelter.
I started getting outside when I was a kid. I’d ride around in a backpack while my parents went hiking. Fast-forward 18 years and I was working outside. I spent four summers as a mountaineering guide in Washington and Alaska. And four winters ski patrolling in Vermont.
I was living the dream. I was doing, every day, what most people did for vacation. And I was getting paid.
For the past few months, I’ve spent several hours a day (6 days a week) in front of a computer. Despite the change of pace, I look forward to working on this side project. It’s called CertHero.org. It’s a website to help people find outdoor education and certification courses.
Why Pursue Wilderness Education?
Certifications can give you the power to tell the future (predict avalanches) and to use x-ray vision (to find people buried in avalanches). They can give you the power to save lives (no exaggeration at all). Basic medical skills can save friends, family and strangers in the front and backcountry.
Do I think everyone needs to be certified? Maybe not. But I do think that the more people get certified, the better off we’ll all be. That’s the sentiment behind CertHero. And that’s why we’re making it easier than ever to get certified.
What is CertHero.org?
CertHero is unique in that it caters to those who haven’t taken courses before. We solve a specific problem that I’ve faced: signing up for medical and outdoor certifications is painful and intimidating due to too much information on some sites and not enough on others. Comparing courses is difficult. And finding a date and location that are convenient can take hours, something most people, especially parents, don’t have.
CertHero is a free service that allows you to find courses or (if you are a provider), list your courses in one convenient place.
While I agree there are amazing things about spending time outside, it can also be dangerous. When I was working as a guide and patroller, I saw this first hand – on occasion I saw freak accidents – but mostly I saw incidents come from poor planning and lack of training. I saw incidents that could have been avoided.
But, I also showed up (as a part of search and rescue) to several accidents and found that someone was already giving aid. In some cases early medical attention was critical. It was this realization that got me (and my good friend Sam Aarons) working on CertHero.org.
We truly believe that the more people are certified and educated, the better of we’ll all be, in the wilderness, at ski resorts, and even in the front country.
Never taken an outdoor course? Even if you’re not an outdoor professional, I recommend looking into them. They prepare you for medical emergencies and teach general skills (depending on the course). Beyond that, they’re extremely fun. You meet people and get outside. Most medical courses have both lecture and scenario portions of class. Scenarios are usually outside, complete with fake injuries and fake blood. Check it out!