Ever considered being a guide in the outdoor recreation industry or do you just want to be the most prepared out in the wilderness?

The Wilderness Program teaches the technical and interpersonal skills necessary to instruct people in the backcountry and various outdoor recreation activities. These hands-on courses will give you the tools to instruct and lead in mountain, river, and desert environments.

3-Course Courses


NRRT350: Wilderness Leadership

Fall 2023: TWO COURSE OPTIONS – Tuesdays 4-7pm or Wednesdays 4-7pm

  • Wilderness camping
  • Leave No Trace ethics
  • Leading sport and traditional rock climbs
  • Map, compass, and GPS
  • Expedition planning and group dynamics
  • Mountain safety, accident awareness, and wilderness medicine

Field trips

  • Mountain climb overnight September 9-10, 2023
  • Rock climbing October 7-8, 2023

Registration begins April 24th, 2023!

NRRT 380A2: Wilderness First Aid and Risk Management

Spring 2024 – ONE COURSE OPTION: Wednesdays 4-7pm

  • Wilderness First Aid Certification
  • Risk Management
  • Crisis Planning

Outdoor Learning

  • Considerable time will be spent outside to for WFA training and certification

NRRT351: Wilderness Instructors

Spring 2024 – TWO COURSE OPTIONS Tuesdays 4-7pm or Thursdays 4-7pm

  • Teaching in the outdoors
  • Avalanche rescue
  • Backcountry ski/snow travel
  • Raft, SUP, and Kayak technique
  • River rescue

Field trips

  • Backcountry ski/avalanche rescue: Feb. 24-25
  • Whitewater travel and rescue: April 27-28

1-Course Courses

These courses are partial semester with 3 weeks of online content followed by a two full days of field based learning.

NRRT 280A3: Rock Climbing Leadership

  • Lead Climbing with traditional gear
  • Rappelling
  • Anchor building and cleaning
  • Group management
  • Dates and times for online sessions would be April 2, 9, and 16 from 7-9pm each evening.

Field Trips

  • April 20th and 21st, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in Fort Collins

NRRT 380A4: Swiftwater Rescue

  • American Canoe Association Level 4 certificate of completion
  • Live bait rescue
  • V lower rescues
  • Throw bag technique
  • Group management
  • Dates and times for online sessions would be April 17, 24, May 1 from 7-9pm each evening.

Field Trips

  • May 4th and 5th, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in Fort Collins

Backpacking Leadership

  • Summer 2024 Course
  • Registration and More Info Coming Soon!

Mountain Biking Leadership

  • Fall 2024 Course
  • Registration and More Info Coming Soon!

For more information on these courses contact Ethan Billingsley

Ethan Billingsley, an alumnus of Warner College

About Ethan

Ethan Billingsley is an alumnus of Warner College – earning his B.S. in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism and his M.S. in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. He served as director of undergraduate programs in the college from 2008-2018. Additionally, he is an instructor for the Adventure Tourism graduate certificate program in HDNR.

Prior to joining CSU, Ethan worked as both an educator and guide in various capacities. He has led single and multi-day whitewater rafting trips for the last 20 years and is currently a certified raft guide in the state of Colorado. He has climbed all 58 of the Colorado’s 14,000ft mountains and led many CSU groups to those summits as well. He also spent 7 summers working in summer camps where he gained considerable experience in group dynamics and leadership. Additional experience has included work as a rock-climbing instructor, backpacking guide, and sea-kayaking naturalist. Ethan loves learning about the ecology of an area as much as he likes adventuring in it. In his free time, Ethan loves spending as much time as he can with his wife and two sons in the outdoors.