SWHS alum Jack Bruemmer completes 88-day course on wilderness, leadership skills

During an 88-day course with the National Outdoor Leadership School, 19-year-old Jack Bruemmer of Langley explored the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, and Utah.

Jack Bruemmer takes a quick picture break from climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

During an 88-day course with the National Outdoor Leadership School, 19-year-old Jack Bruemmer of Langley explored the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, and Utah.

Bruemmer, a 2014 graduate of South Whidbey High School and current Western Washington University student, recently completed a wilderness expedition with the outdoor school that provided technical outdoor skills, and wilderness ethic and leadership skills.

Bruemmer and his course mates began their semester in the Rockies developing technical rock climbing skills by conquering obstacles like the Black Hills of South Dakota, Devil’s Tower in northeastern Wyoming, and Fremont Canyon in central Wyoming. While climbing, Bruemmer was taught lessons on how to camp efficiently, apply leave-no-trace principles, risk assessment, and self-rescue.

Bruemmer and his classmates traveled to Utah for the river portion of their semester. Using whitewater kayaks and oar rafts on the Green River and whitewater canoes on the San Juan River, Bruemmer was able to paddle Class III rapids, practice swift-water rescue skills, and hike to historic sites along the riverbank. Another phase of the course included canyoneering in the Cedar Mesa wilderness.

Bruemmer hiked 130 miles over a 26-day period, where he explored Anasazi ruins as well as make decisions independent of his instructors. Temperatures dropped below 15 degrees at times. Bruemmer ended the semester with a 12-day winter camping section based deep in the Absaroka Mountain Range of Wyoming. The group traveled on telemark skis through almost five feet of fresh powder snow, which provided ample opportunities to learn avalanche and terrain management. At camp, students built intricate snow shelters, called quigloos, to help protect from the cold temperatures and high winds.

“I would say it definitely has changed my goals in life,” Bruemmer said. “Before, I thought I would take a job where I could make a lot of money. But when you live out of a backpack, you learn that you don’t really need much. It definitely reinforced my love for the outdoors.”


More in News

No injuries in pair of crashes

Two car crashes on Wednesday in Clinton did not result in any… Continue reading

Firefighter stops chicken coop fire, helps save Langley home

A quick response by a local firefighter may have helped save a… Continue reading

Photo provided
                                A evidence photo taken by police shows a deputy’s AR-15 rifle that was involved in a police-related shooting on North Whidbey in September.
Review: Deputy justified in fatal shooting

A deputy was justified in fatally shooting Navy sailor Nicholas K. Perkins… Continue reading

Planning Commission member Tracy Gilroy speaks during a meeting on Monday. The commission voted to approve amendments made in response to a settlement agreement between Island County and the Whidbey Island Environmental Action Network. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
Forest practices changes heading to board

Island County Planning Commission voted Monday to amend code related to forest… Continue reading

Dancing Fish Farm to buzz with The Bee Eaters fiddlers

Acoustic concert features fiddling siblings

Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News Group
                                John Bagley, left, makes a preliminary appearance in Island County Superior Court Monday. He’s accused of pawning a telescope stolen from a robotics club.
Man arrested for pawning robotics club’s telescope

A man faces a felony charge after getting caught pawning a telescope… Continue reading

Some costs unknown for East Langley infrastructure project

A proposed multimillion dollar infrastructure improvement plan in East Langley drew more… Continue reading

Flu factors into three Island County deaths in early 2018

All suffered underlying medical conditions

The Admiraly Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park will have some major renovation work done, the majority of it being to its exterior. 2017 File Photo/Whidbey News-Times
Admiralty Head Lighthouse to get facelift sometime in 2019

One of the most famous buildings on Whidbey Island is going to… Continue reading

Most Read