SIET provides a unique opportunity in the outdoor industry. The “Ten Key Components” found below set our school apart as one of the most effective institutions in the country. We are the only school that is able to incorporate all ten of the critical components. To put it simply, we provide a training experience that is unlike any other.
The Ten Key Components of a SIET Course
- Our instructors are some of the most accomplished in the industry: SIET instructors have years of experience working for some of the most reputable organizations in the world. These organizations include: NOLS, Outward Bound, Exum Mountain Guides, American Alpine Institute and various Universities throughout North America. SIET instructors have earned their excellent reputations from their advanced technical skills, understanding of, and ability to teach risk management, years of experience and success teaching, in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of industry standards and of course, a deep passion for international mountaineering.Read more about our instructors’ professional and personal expedition experience: Instructor Bios
- SIET’s low overhead and nonprofit status means low cost for students without compromising quality: Our courses generally cost about 30-50% less than similar offerings from other organizations. SIET also allocates a number of scholarships to qualified applicants each season and is dedicated to keeping operational costs to a minimum. All tuition goes directly toward the student experience: providing talented instructors, top of the line gear, quality food, in country transportation and housing, and all the local support needed to succeed on world class routes.
- College credit: SIET has a partnership with Green Mountain College in Vermont (part of the Eco-League). Most students can get pass/no pass credit for our international courses. We also have a number of agreements with other colleges that also provide 3-5 credits for most of our courses. Contact us for more information.
- An experiential approach to education: SIET emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning. Our international courses are designed so that instructors teach, model and coach students on various skills during the first week of the course. During the last two weeks of the course, students apply these skills and ‘run the show’ while leading their peers on 2 to 3 high altitude, technical peak ascents. Check out our Slide Show to see this in action!
“The instructors were very attentive, concise and patient. Repetitive practice made tasks that seemed at first complex, soon simple. They made sure that we had no doubt in what we were doing and how to do it. They were always clear on what we could improve on and encouraged practice.” Jeff Rome, Prescott College
- Small instructor to student ratios: SIET is dedicated to staffing and enrolling expeditions with an instructor/student ratio of 2:7. This allows our teams to climb more complex routes and ensures better student outcomes. Other benefits of small scale expeditions include:
- More 1 on 1 coaching and feedback from instructors. More personal attention from instructors means that your learning curve will never plateau. Our curriculum progression is very comprehensive and you will be able to spend plenty of time practicing skills and honing techniques due to the fact that you will receive plenty of personal coaching.
- Small expeditions are more intimate. An intimate expedition allows more time to get to know one another and bond. A well developed group dynamic is a key ingredient to creating a high performing expedition.
- Small expeditions are more efficient and less cumbersome. Group decisions, logistical planning and travel are all aspects of an expedition that are more efficient in small groups. This allows more time for classes, demonstrations, skills sessions and other educational opportunities. Because there is more time for learning, we experience a high success rate on our climbing objectives. It also means that we are less likely to have medical or illness related evacs.
- A rich and meaningful cultural experience. In a small group, students and instructors can gain a greater sense of place and glean more knowledge from locals. This occurs because groups have an inherently easier time building intimate relationships with porters, cooks and the cultures in which they are immersed.
- Mentorship: SIET instructors are not only dedicated to making sure each graduate has clear next steps after the course and employable skills, but also serve as a resource for alum as they navigate the myraid of options to becoming a professional in the field.”I had a lot of confidence in Josh and Eric’s mountaineering abilities and feel that I have learned from some of the best in their field.” Dane Sterba, Prescott College
- Risk management: SIET employs a number of risk management techniques to ensure that all courses meet or exceed the industry accepted practices. Our instructor teams have Wilderness First Responder or EMT training. The school also has a partnership with Global Rescue and has access to their services if needed; we have in-field satellite communications in case medical advice or assistance with an evacuation is needed and most importantly, our instructors have years of experience handling complicated rescues and evacuations.
- SIET courses are designed to fill the ‘Industry Gap’: Currently, there is a gap in the training industry between entry-level instructional courses (such as intro or intermediate college level courses, NOLS courses, OB courses, intro courses offered by guide services, etc.) and entering the field to work as a professional. SIET provides its students with the advanced skills needed to bridge that gap. For aspiring professionals, we also offer a number of *invaluable certificates* and provide a detailed evaluation that will give potential employers an accurate description of your technical ability as well as your ability to manage risk and lead others in the mountains.
- SIET creates successful expedition teams: All students are hand picked from a pool of applicants by the director. This means all expedition teams are created with students that come from a similar experience level, fitness level and have similar goals. This screening ensures success for our teams on many levels.
- SIET is not a guide service: SIET does not focus just on getting students to the summit. We focus on giving students the skills they need to lead future attempts on summits of their own for the rest of their lives. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime” -Confucius
Our friendly staff is always happy to answer any questions you might have and to help you figure out if our programs are the right fit for you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!