Cliff Stockton, Wilderness programming consultant

Services, news, advice and opinions from an Old Desert Guy

About Cliff

Cliff 1962A little about how I got here…
I was born and raised in Montana. As a little tyke you are not very aware of your surroundings, home is just home, I really did not have anything to compare where I grew up to anywhere else. To give you an idea I asked my mother one time where our sledding hill was in Kalispell. She laughed and said, “I used to take you into Glacier National Park and we sledded on the shores of McDonald lake.” All I remembered was the sledding, the hot chocolate, and being out in the winter with my family,  not that Glacier National Park was my sledding hill!
Both of my parents were avid outdoors people. I still remember the sound of our family hiking the trails around Glacier Park. My mother insisted that we all wear “Bear Bells” to alert bears to our families progress. The bells rang with the frequency of our steps, each member with their own rhythm, from my fathers long stride to my little brother’s quick step. This was the music of my childhood. Throughout my childhood they would take sojourns  in the wild areas, big hikes. My mother continues to this day. In her 70’s she canoed the Yukon. Keep it up mom! My wife, Marcia, and I met working in the outdoors, and enjoy any time we get to spend there.

Star Marcia Cliff

From those beginnings my life and career has been tied to the outdoors. From my first  BIG trip with my father at age 9. We hiked 101 miles in 10 days through the Bob Marshall Wilderness area, where I went down from heat exhaustion. I spent my days catching fish and watching my father, a field medic during WWII, dress the wounds of the other boys on the trip, including putting a heel pad back on one kid with a straight needle and cotton thread he had. (By all reports it was a good job, and the kid finished the hike, limping a bit, but he walked out). To, most recently, being a program Director at a Wilderness treatment program.

Along the way I have had some truly wonderful jobs, working with amazing people, and incredible students who challenged me to grow and learn in completely unexpected ways. PAL/SWAT on the Missouri
I also picked up some other useful skills during that journey. For the medical side, beside the tutelage my father provided, includes: lifeguard training, EMT-B, and EMT-I, National Ski Patrol -OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care), and WFR (Wilderness First Responder). Currently, I am; a WFR instructor for SOLO. While I teach standard WFA and WFR classes, where I really shine is in providing WFR courses to Wilderness program instructors. My unique history with these programs and my in-depth understanding of medical issues affecting these populations, makes my class indispensable to programs.

In addition to my medical skills, I am pretty good at wilderness skills, fire, shelter making, etc. And, I do have one minor superhero skill. I know knots and yes I know it is a pretty nerdish skill. I am also aware that there are others out there who know more knots than I do. I just haven’t met any of them personally.