Atila Monteiro: NOLS - Pushing the Edge on Personal Trips

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By Shawn Stratton. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Born in Boston, raised in New York City suburbs, our guest today, Atila Monteiro, went to the University of California Berkeley to study in 1984 and instantly fell in love with outdoor adventures. He worked for Cal Adventures and guided with ARTA river trips before taking a white water Instructors Course with NOLS in 1992. Atila mainly worked paddling (raft, white water kayak, canoe, sea kayak), hiking and Spanish language courses. He started teaching wilderness medicine in 2002 with WMI.

Atila lived in Chilean Patagonia, working as NOLS Patagonia Program Manager from 1998 to 2002, and Asst. Director from 2002-2004. From 2004-2005 he was also the NOLS Mexico Director. He started the NOLS Amazon program in 2005 and was Program Manager there until 2009. He now owns a small company named Backcountry Brasil that offers remote backcountry trips in the Brazilian Amazon and teaches full-time for NOLS Wilderness Medicine. Atila now lives in Bend, Oregon.

In this episode:

  • (02:23) Atila starts the interview by telling us about his experience crossing to the Midriff Island. He talks about how he and his friends planned a trip to cross the Gulf of California in October 1996 and how an adventurous, fun trip took a drastic turn when the sea current started setting them back. After struggle paddling through it, Atila mentions how they neared an anonymous island where they were greeted with the colony of sea lions.

  • (23:53) Moving forward, Atila shares stories from an epic canoe scouting trip to the Amazon with a group of veteran NOLS instructors to prepare for future NOLS courses.

  • (30:42) He further tells us how they encountered a new experience when they paddled through the ‘Coca-cola water’ – a bizarre contrast of tannic acid and whitewater. Going forward, he shares their first-night camping in Amazon that turned into a nightmare when an army of ants and leaf cutters attack them. There were many more dramatic yet funny stories he shared with us.

  • (52:40) Atila shares a near-drowning experience on Bile in Chile in 1995.

  • (01:05:00) We throw our quick, intriguing rapid-fire questions at Atila to dig deeper into his favourite locations to lead trips and his go-to gear to take along. He entertains us more when asked to share his favourite backcountry costume – to which he shares a humorous story.

26 episodes