Outdoor Pursuits Online
MSU Denver online outdoor student, faculty and staff resources
Welcome to the ever growing and evolving Outdoor Pursuits online resources page - OP Online. Included are close by places to visit, resources and knowledge about safe travel in the backcountry, outdoor skills and ways to engage and connected to the outdoors while staying safe.
Please send us good vibes along with ideas, links, resources and your thoughts, musings and writings about the outdoors or a related topic.
OP Online Topics, Resources and Learning Assets
First Aid - Beyond the ABCs
OP Online First Aid Series
Px and Tx
The intent of the series is to provide awareness of more advanced first aid assessments and interventions with a strong emphasis on prevention. While you might acquire a skill or gain knowledge of certain first aid topics along the way, it is not our intent, nor do I believe this series will prepare you for an illness or injury encountered in the outdoors or in a wilderness setting. It can, for the intentional learner, provide awareness that might prevent an injury or illness while on an outing. This series can also provide you with an awareness of the language of first responders, search and rescue and medical practitioners. But most of all, and I think most importantly, I hope this series sparks an interest that leads to learning and mastery of the basic skills and interventions that can and might someday lead to the best possible outcome for someone’s worst possible day.
Introductions, disclaimers, limitations, learning outcomes
Additional resources and readings
What to look forward to
Prevention and treatment of plantar fasciitis
Prevention and planning for safety and success
Acronyms and talking the talk
Communicating with rescuers and providers
“Call no Call”
Acronyms Part 2
Initializations, acronyms and mnemonics
Chief complaint, masking injury/illness
First aid kits
Cold related injury
Heat related injury (non-burn related)
OP Online Local Trails and Tails of the Outdoors
Find Denver area trails, tours and points of interest for fun and informative outings plus "tails from the trails."
Forecasting weather - afternoon thunder showers - this short video shows the warning signs of gathering summer afternoon thunder storms that can come in quickly and present risk of lightning stikes.
Walk Along the Ice Park - Check out the view from the top of the Ouray Ice Park.
33 seconds of a Peaceful Waterfall.
The Human Anchor video shows rapelling while the rope is anchored to the other canyoneers - get qualified instruction if you are interested in technical canyoneering.
OP knot list
From basic to obscure
Video instruction coming soon
Figure eight follow-through (retraced figure eight)
Video link (coming soon)
This is the classic harness tie in knot. It is often the first knot learned and is the most commonly used for climbing, canyoneering and mountaineering. At Outdoor Pursuits, we teach this knot on all our rope-access sport courses as an essential and basic skill.
Figure eight on a bight (Flemish bend, figure eight on a loop)
Video link (coming soon)
This knot is useful make a loop attachment point to clip to or to attached a rope to an achor.
Video link (coming soon)
Tied in the ends of the rappel rope, the stopper knot prevents accidental rappelling off the end of the rope. Also, when tied to the belay-side of the rope in top-rope and single pitch scenarios, a blocker knot prevents the break strand from passing through the belay device while lowering thus, preventing dropping the climber.
Overhand (flat overhand)
Video link (coming soon)
Video link (coming soon)
This is a hitch with many applications. It is quick to create and undo and has the added benefit of being easily adjusted for varying length needs. The clove hitch, while not common in gym or single pitch sport climbing, is common in advanced anchor building, multi pitch and trad climbing settings.
Video link (coming soon)
Swiss Seat Improvised Harness
Video link (coming soon)
Video link (coming soon)
Video link (coming soon)
Video link (coming soon)
Optional second knot - double overhand
This knot is often tied after the follow through figure 8 and as a backup for other knots. Referring to this knot as a backup when it is tied after a follow through figure 8 is a misnomer because a properly tied follow through figure 8 does not need a backup. For this reason, the double overhand backup is widely considered to be unnecessary and is no longer taught or used by Outdoor Pursuits rope access activities. It is good to know because many climbers still use the second knot and some climbing gyms still require it.
Diversity and Equity in Outdoor Recreation
Including articles, organizations, podcasts, TedTalks,
locations to visit and academic sources.
Student research and internship project
Download PDF - Diversity and Equity in Outdoor Recreation
Diversity in the Great Outdoors: Is Everyone Welcome in America’s Parks and Public Lands?
This article talks about the racial inequality of people visiting public lands, and the barriers behind this, as well as strategies for moving forward.
Why National Parks Accessibility Matters:
This article talks about the efforts that the National Park Service is making to become more inclusive and accessible, through changing the internal culture, expanding outreach and education, and improving affordability.
Mount Evans Commemorates More Than One Colorado Tragedy
Mt Evans was named after Governer John Evans who played a large role in the Sand Creek Massacre. Work has been done to change the mountain’s name, but has not yet been successful. Other places in Colorado are named after racist figures as well, such as Stapleton in Denver.
Appalachian Trail Statement on Black Lives Matter
Bringing Outdoor Recreation to Native Americans
This article is from the Adventure Journal, and talks about efforts to bring Native Americans into the outdoors. It focuses on Marshall Masayeva, who grew up on the Hopi reservation, majored in outdoor education, and started a nonprofit called Adventures for Hopi. The goal of the organization is to get Hopi kids outside and Hopi guides to take them. This program takes kids on all sorts of adventures, and students can go for free in exchange for community service on the reservation. The ultimate goal of the organization is to incorporate outdoor recreation into reservation culture, leading to economic development.
Numerology: Native Rights
This article talks about Native American’s ancestral connection to the outdoors, and how they often get left out of conversations about wilderness, wildlife, recreation, and conservation.
Tracing the Native American Roots of Natural Icons in the US
This article focuses on Jalyn Gough who grew up on the Navajo reservation, and grew up climbing, hiking, and biking on the reservation. After college she realized how much she needed the outdoors in her life, and in 2017 founded the “Whose Land Are We Exploring On” initiative. This initiative was to make the Native American’s historical connection to the land a mainstream part of the outdoor industry.
I Am Not Just Another Hiker
Shilletha Curtis is a Black, queer person who plans on hiking the Appalachian Trail. The article talks about the fears of being a Black hiker in the South, and how white privilege plays into hiking.
Colorado Woman Hikes 485 Miles from Denver to Durango
Patricia Cameron hiked the entire Colorado Trail. She is the founder of Colorado Blackpackers, a nonprofit organization addressing gaps in representation outdoors. They provide gear, outdoor excursions, and education for free or reduced cost, and participants also get volunteer, internship, and job opportunities.
“The Only Black Person Out There:” Patricia Cameron Encourages Others After Completing 485 Mile Colorado Trail
Patricia Cameron took 7 weeks to hike the Colorado Trail to bring awareness to the barriers to hiking and to inspire other people of color to get out on the trails.
The Blackalachian: First Gold-Mouth Rapper to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail
This article talks about Will “Akuna” Robinson, the first African American man to complete the triple crown of long distance hiking.
Backpacking in America as a Person of Color: Hikers Share Their Experiences
This article discusses different people of color’s experiences backpacking in the US. They talk about both positive and negative experiences during their time on the trail, and barriers that stop people of color from backpacking.
Closing the Gender Gap in the Great Outdoors
This blog post is about the challenges girls and women face in getting outdoors, and the difference between male and female participation, and the potential reasons behind it, and strategies for change and the importance of change.
Next 100 Coalition
The Next 100 Coalition is an organization with an inclusive vision for the next 100 years of conservation and stewardship in America. National public lands play a big part in protecting the environment and culture, but a lot of people do not enjoy the benefits of them. The Next 100 Coalition’s guiding principles are for the public lands to reflect the faces of the country, respect for all cultures, and the responsibility to engage all people.
Melanin Basecamp’s purpose is to inspire diversity in outdoor adventure sports with content from Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous, and Queer People of color. Their website includes featured bloggers, trip reports, gear reviews, and more.
Diversify Outdoors is a coalition of social media influencers who all want to promote diversity in outdoor recreation and conservation.
Every Kid Outdoors
Every Kid Outdoors is a federal public lands youth initiative to get all 4th graders and their families to public lands. They provide every 4th grade family with free national parks passes.
Open Outdoors for Kids
Open Outdoors for Kids connects kids to nature through outdoor activities, experiential learning, and cultural heritage exercises.
National Brotherhood of Skiers
This organization was founded in 1973 in order to get a black skier on the US ski team. It is now a collection of ski clubs.
Slippers and Sliders (Colorado)
Slippers and Sliders, located in Denver, was one of the founding clubs National Brotherhood of skiers.
Colorado Blackpackers (Colorado)
Colorado Blackpacker’s mission is to provide outdoor gear, trips, and education for free or for a lower cost, to connect participants with volunteer internship, and job opportunities and resources, and to create economic equity in outdoor recreation. This organization was founded by Patricia Cameron in 2019.
City Kids is an organization that bring DC students to Jacksonhole, Wyoming during the summer, after preparing through programs in Rockville, Maryland. City kids don’t necessarily have outdoor opportunities, and many of them are kids of color. This trip is low cost, and is for middle and high school students. The program also has tutoring, support, and job training programs.
Adventures for Hopi
The goal of the organization is to get Hopi kids outside and Hopi guides to take them. This program takes kids on all sorts of adventures, and students can go for free in exchange for community service on the reservation. The organization teaches kids lessons about culture, biology, and job skills. The ultimate goal of the organization is to incorporate outdoor recreation into reservation culture, leading to economic development.
This is a Native American owned outdoor apparel and media company. Their mission is to empower indigenous communities through products and storytelling, to work towards a sustainable world. The organization started as a social media project telling stories of Native people in outdoor recreation to address the lack of representation. Now they advise and consult with the outdoor industry on the intersections between tribes, public lands, and outdoor recreation. They work with tribal governments, community organizations, and individuals to increase access to outdoor recreation and connect people to resources and opportunities in the outdoors.
Black Outside, Inc.
The mission of this organization, based in San Antonio, TX, is to reconnect Black/African American youth to the outdoors through culturally relevant outdoor experiences. They aim for their participants to explore themselves, their culture, and the outdoors. They have an overnight camp for black girls, Camp Founder Girls, the Bloom Project, which helps heal youth impacted by incarceration, and more.
Camp Founder Girls
This camp is America’s first Black summer camp for girls, resurrected in 2019.
Wild Diversity, based in Oregon, aims to welcome and create a sense of belonging in the outdoors for BIPOC and LGBtQ+ communities. Their programs include outdoor adventures, outdoor education, and community workshops.
Latinxhikers inspires more people of color to go outdoors through storytelling and outreach.
Unlikely Hikers Spotify Podcast
This podcast talks about diverse stories from people in underrepresented groups in outdoor media and culture.
She Explores Spotify Podcast
This podcast tell stories of women who are inspired by the outdoors, covering many topics as they intersect with the outdoors.
Wild Ideas Worth Living Podcast REI
Starting a Movement to Encourage Diversity in the Outdoors with Karen Ramos and Adriana Garcia:
Karen Ramos and Adriana Garcia are the founder of Latinx Hikers, and in this podcast (Wild Ideas Worth Living by REI) they talk about their experiences leading them to become passionate about the issue of diversity outdoors, and how they came to found this organization.
How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them
Verna Myers, a diversity advocate, talks about how our biases towards out groups can be dangerous and deadly. She talks about how to acknowledge your biases and move towards overcoming them.
Recolor the Outdoors
Alex Bailey, the founder of Black Outside, Inc, speaks about how the outdoors is not a diverse space currently, and the benefits of spending time in nature. He talks about both the tragic and triumphant histories of people of color in the outdoors.
Your Style of Outdoor
Mercy M’Fon, the founder of the organization Wild Diversity, talks about the history of people of color in the outdoors, and the barriers people of color face in getting outdoors. There are many different ways to get outdoors – not just those defined by the outdoor industry.
Native American Cultural and Historical Sites in Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park was established to preserve the heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people. This park, located in southwestern Colorado is full of archeological sites and cliff dwellings. There is camping and hiking in the park, as well as guided tours.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is in southwestern Colorado. This monuments contains many Native American archeological sites dating back to 10,000 years ago. The Pueblos were one of the tribes that lived there. There is also a visitor center and museum.
Chimney Rock National Monument:
Chimney Rock National Monument is a Pueblo archeological site in southwestern Colorado. There are archeological structures, artifacts, and wildlife in this beautiful national monument.
Hovenweep National Monument:
Hovenweep National Monument has six prehistoric villages, and is a Native American archeological site for many tribes, especially the Pueblo. You can hike, camp, and stargaze in this national monument located partially in southwestern Colorado and partially in southeastern Utah.
Yucca House National Monument:
Yucca House National Monument is located in southwestern Colorado and is an unexcavated Ancestral Pueblo site. There are no signs, facilities, or information, so be sure to print out the visitor guide before you go.
Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park
Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park is an archeological Native American site on tribal land in southwestern Colorado. Various types of tours of this park are available with Ute guides, catering to more active and less active groups, and groups who want to see remote parts of the park. Camping is also allowed, and transportation into the park is provided.
Crow Canyon Archeological Center
Crow Canyon Archeological site is located in southwestern Colorado, and does archeological research and experiential education programs about Native Americans. They offer tours as well as archeology and lab programs. They encourage citizen scientists to participate in the archeological process. Their education programs include one day trips for schools and overnight programs. They also offer summer camps and programs for adults.
Southern Ute Museum
The Southern Ute Museum, also known as the Southern Ute Tribe Cultural Center, is on tribal land in southwestern Colorado. The museum educates about and celebrates Ute Native Americans, Colorado’s longest continuous residents. Tours are self-guided, and behind the scenes guided tours and school group tours are also offered. There are also events and temporary galleries.
Ute Indian Museum
This museum connects history to current Ute life and culture. It is located in Montrose, Colorado.
Trail of the Ancients
The Trail of the Ancients is a 116 mile long scenic byway in southwestern Colorado, goes through Native American historical sites, including Mesa Verde National Park and Hovenweep National Monument. The byway continues to Utah’s Trail of the Ancients.
Academic Sources for Diversity in the Outdoors
The Gendering of Outdoor Recreation: Women’s Experiences on their Path to Leadership
Participation of women in outdoor recreation is growing, but white men still dominant the face of outdoors recreation. One explanation for this could be the effects of gender socialization. Participating in outdoor recreation has physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits, and since there are fewer women involved, there are fewer women benefiting.
Adolescent Girls and Outdoor Recreation: A Case Study Examining Constraints and Effective Programming
In this study, focus groups and individuals were interviewed. There were 34 adolescent girls interviewed, six female outdoor program leaders, and five adult women. The constraints to women participating in outdoor recreation include stereotypical gender roles, differences in opportunities for men and women, peer and family expectations, access, and physical and environmental factors. Outdoor programs help girls to overcome these constraints. This study was meant to show the constraints and how outdoor programming can overcome them.
Home-Grown Racism: Colorado’s Historic Embrace – And Denial-of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
This paper talks about the history of racism in Colorado, its impacts on the state, including higher education, up until the modern day.
Recreation Equity: Is the Forest Service Serving Its Diverse Publics?
This research article talks about how racial minorities don’t use Forest Service opportunities at the same rate as white people. It talks about the barriers to public lands and outdoor recreation, the importance of involvement for everyone, and strategies for moving forward.
Linking the 2010 Census to National Park Visitors
This study compared visitor characteristics from the Visitor Service Project survey with census data, to find that National Park visitors are more highly educated than the general public, with higher income, and whiter.
National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Survey Results: 2010/2011:
This survey was done on 53 wildlife refuges, to understand visitor needs and experiences, in order to design programs and facilities. Visitors to these refuges were largely white, with a higher income and education level than the general public.
2019 Outdoor Participation Report:
This report was done by the Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Outdoor Industry Association. This report talked about the growth and declines in diverse groups participating.
People of Color and Their Constraints to National Park Visitation
This paper talks about how people of color visit National Parks disproportionately less than white people, and how the survival of the national parks depends on making them welcoming and relevant to the changing population. The paper goes through constraints to national park visitation and discrimination in the outdoors, and the roots of all this.
Racial Complexities of Outdoor Spaces: An Analysis of African American’s Lived Experiences in Outdoor Recreation:
This thesis talks about how African Americans experience the outdoors, and the historical, economic, and cultural factors.
Challenging the Narrative and Amplifying Voices: Resources for Education and Inclusivity in the Outdoor Industry
This link includes a list of videos to watch, and articles and books to read about diversity in the outdoors.
Outdoor Pursuits 33 second visual learning assets
To learn to kayak, take lessons and find a partner and learn together
Progress is earned | Kayaking can be dangerous | Take it slow | Be real
These resources are intended to support correct execution of skills - not to teach how to river kayak. Learn from a pro.
Video One - Kayak Parts and Shapes
Kayak video one
Video Two - River Hazards
Man Made Hazards Video
Learn to recognize river hazards, scout before you paddle any section of river. Never practice skill upstream of river hazards.
Video Three - Pollution
Clear Creek pollution foaming up
Urban waterways and boat parks are popular kayak locations - be aware of and scout for pollution. Common pollutants include fertilizers from lawns and golf courses, oil from streets washed in by rain and human waist. All are best avoided.
Video Four - The Paddle
Offset paddles are the standard for river kayaking. You will notice the offset right away and at first, it is one of the more confounding aspects of learning to paddle. With careful observation, a little practice and after a few errors, you will master the wrist rotation and the offset paddle. At that time you will fully embrace the virtues of offset paddles.
Video five - River Hazards- Lowhead Dams
Lowhead dams present very real danger to kayakers. Give them a wide berth, don't attempt to boat them and don't practice skills just above a lowhead dam. What's going on that makes these so deadly? The fact that there are strong and uniform recirculation that traps people and boats.
Video six - Straight Stroke
Making a river kayak go straight is the hardest thing – river kayaks are designed to turn, or more specifically, to spin on a vertical axis. The curved bottom or your kayak does nothing to guide the boat on a straight course (compare to sea kayaks, motor boats and ships with V-shaped hulls that make them go straight, and hence, take a long time to turn). The need to change course while kayaking a river rapid is constant – the curved bottom facilitates that. So, to make your river kayak go in a (mostly) straight line, think about pulling the kayak rather than pushing – this is accomplished by sitting tall in the cockpit, leaning forward and reaching out and starting your stroke near the bow and finishing the stroke near the middle of the kayak. The bow will pitch left and right with every stroke – this is inevitable – so each stroke includes an element of correcting your line.
Straight stroke thoughts:
Think of each paddle placement as a placement into cement and pulling your kayak forward
Use the whole paddle on every stroke
The moment you stop “pulling” strokes, your kayak will spin out (barring other stroke inputs)
So, pivot your kayak and put the bow on an object (tree or rock) proximal to the course you plan to follow, make a stroke, pitching the bow off of the object, then make a stroke on the other side of the boat, bringing the bow back toward and then past the object, repeat, repeat, repeat – each new stroke will require less course correction as speed and momentum is acquired.
Video Seven - Accelerating Straight Stroke
Accelerating Straight Strike Video
The accelerating straight stroke is used to gain momentum to facilitate entering and exiting and crossing river current features such as waves, holes and eddy fences. All the same principals of the straight stroke (above) apply with the addition of a more aggressive stroke. To add speed in a short distance, as is often needed, lean forward, shifting your weight toward the bow and assuming an aggressive, athletic stance. Make tension in your legs so that you feel pressure in you sit-bones on the seat, knees on the braces, heels on the floor and balls of your feet on the bulkhead or pegs. This “locks” you into the boat, using the boat for leverage and assures the power of each stroke is transferred to paddle. In this position, the kayak response is immediate and there is a feeling of being one with the boat. Remember to offer the bottom of your boat to the current, correct your line on every stroke and make use of the full paddle face.
Links related to Outdoor Pursuits and the outdoor industry
Outdoor legislation, legal and activation/participation
https://preview.tinyurl.com/y6tzgcda (plan to vote)
Anti-racist, inclusivity and diversity in the outdoors
Outdoor Industry - organizations and trends
Conservation and preservation
Outdoor Media Resources