Paul Petzoldt

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Paul Petzoldt
Born(1908-01-16)January 16, 1908
DiedOctober 6, 1999(1999-10-06) (aged 91)
Known forFounder of the National Outdoor Leadership School NOLS; involved in the introduction of Outward Bound to the US

Paul Kiesow Petzoldt (January 16, 1908 – October 6, 1999) was one of America's most accomplished mountaineers. He is perhaps best known for establishing the National Outdoor Leadership School in 1965. He made his first ascent of the Grand Teton in 1924 at the age of 16, becoming the youngest person at the time to have done so.[citation needed] In 1938 he was a member of the first American team to attempt a climb on K2. For the climb he did not use assisted oxygen; he learned to use rhythmic breathing.[citation needed] He and Dan Bryant, from New Zealand, were the first climbers ever to traverse the Matterhorn twice in one day.

During World War II Petzoldt served in the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division,[1] fighting on the Italian Front.

Petzoldt's other accomplishments in the outdoors are also considered major advances among wilderness enthusiasts. Before the establishment of NOLS, he had a hand in creating a Colorado addition to the Outward Bound program as well as the first guide service in the Tetons. Noted in his introduction to The New Wilderness Handbook, his experience in NOLS, Outward Bound, and love of the wilderness evolved into the Wilderness Education Association. WEA courses, certification and knowledge are still helping many advocates of the environment learn to have low-impact adventures in the environment.[2] Among the early instructors in Petzoldt's Outward Bound programs was Vince Lee.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ringholz, Raye Carleson (May 2000). On Belay!: The Life of Legendary Mountaineer Paul Petzoldt. Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-725-8.
  2. ^ ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2012-06-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)), Outward Bound, and his own NOLS.
  • Petzoldt, Paul, Raye Carlson Ringholz. The New Wilderness Handbook. WW Norton & Company. New York: 1975.
  • Petzoldt, Paul K. Teton Tales and Other Petzoldt Anecdotes. ICS Books, Inc. Merrillville, Indiana: 1995.

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