About Us

Balanced Experience & Perspectives

Hi,  my name is John Dobbins and I own and operate SOLO Colorado with the support of Dr. Frank Hubbell, SOLO’s founder and Medical Director.  SOLO has been teaching wilderness emergency medicine since 1976.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about who we are and what we do. It’s really been an honor to work with some of the highest-level educational institutions in the world, like Yale, Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth.


I grew up exploring the Maine woods and our country’s national parks. I’ve been off trail in wilderness areas since I could walk and they are still my favorite places. Later, as a U.S. Marine, I received my first medical training and served 8 years as a Combat Engineer and Instructor. I was also certified as a Combat Lifesaver.  I worked with American and foreign groups, including Iraqi Security Forces, and I am SERE trained.

After the Marine Corps, I took a position with a contract security firm. I was responsible for training and managing 500 individuals across 100 locations, and frequently responded to emergencies. I was based in New York, and while I was there, I spent as much time as possible in the Catskills and Adirondacks.  In the winter I skied the Green Mountains in Vermont and the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Weekends in the wilderness weren’t enough, so I traded urban canyons for natural topography and moved west.  I was fortunate to work for a MacArthur Foundation Professor who let me assist on an academic project related to wilderness and wildlife. I was also conducting research funded by the National Science Foundation, and presented the analysis and methodology to the Society for Applied Anthropology.


When I wasn’t spending time in the Sonoran Desert, rescuing ill-prepared tourists out of the Grand Canyon or other locations, I was teaching at Arizona State University for the Veterans Upward Bound program, funded by the Department of Education. I also led volunteer medical teams in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico after the hurricanes in 2017, working with FEMA, DOD and the American Red Cross. 

I am a SOLO Wilderness EMT and currently volunteer with rescue teams and Vail Veterans Program. My free time is spent exploring some of the most thrilling wilderness in the United States.  I love to ski, snowshoe, scout, hunt, hike, fish, camp, kayak, raft, canoe, climb, rappel and help others. I am thankful to have taught at locations like Veterans Upward Bound, Tufts, Boy and Girl Scouts of America, AVA Rafting & Zipline, Defiance and Noah’s Ark Rafting, American Red Cross and more.

SOLO Colorado is a young company, but we are already making a big impact.  We were recently selected to provide wilderness emergency medical training services to the State of Colorado, working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  We look forward to training Colorado’s Park Rangers and Game Wardens and appreciate the opportunity very much!  I was also hired on to the Colorado Community College system as an Adjunct Search and Rescue Instructor. 

Check out our upcoming public courses: Course Schedule

Or sign up now to see for yourself: Register

Hope to see you in class one day!


“John was an outstanding instructor: knowledgeable, personable and excellent instructional skills.  A very effective instructor.”

     -Colonel Kim H.

“John was positive, engaging and a great teacher.  Great balance of hands on scenarios and classroom content.  One of the best training courses I’ve been a part of.”

      -Luke T.

“Inclusive and comfortable even for an inexperienced outdoorsperson.  John was great- engaging, knowledgeable, high energy, enthusiastic.”

     -Professor Ryan S.

“Instructor was incredible, high-energy, Bear Grylls.”

     -Erich W.

“Lots of good practice.  Enthusiastic and interesting instructor.”

     -Dr. Tim B.

“Learned a lot more than I thought I would.  Learned how to stay safe and keep others safe and how to treat them if injured.  Excellent, engaged, enthusiastic instructor.”

     -Nate B.

“Awesome. Motivator!”

     -Lt. Col. Ollie S.

“Fun teacher – actually learned. “

     -Jessica B.

“Learned a lot of practical things I’ll be using during military reserve too. (def. getting some QuikClot for my vest).  

     -Platoon Sgt. Joey A. 

“John is an excellent instructor that provided an inclusive, non-threatening learning environment.”

     -Abigail T.

“I was not expecting this to be so hands-on and exciting each day.  Very useful/ practical.  Honestly, I don’t want it to end.  John was extremely knowledgeable and engaging as well as super encouraging!”

     -Rees H.

“Absolutely a necessity for anyone who loves the outdoors.”

     -Glory J.

“I enjoyed the course much more than I expected.  The instructor made the material easy to learn, and gave everyone the attention they needed.”

     -Zahava F.

“John exceeded all expectations.  It was fun, informative and equipped me to serve customers well.”

     -Jamison B.

“There were very involved scenarios and good instruction before them.  The instructor was helpful with lectures and gave us a chance to figure things out.”

     -Jesse O.

“John is a freaking legend and did awesome scenarios.  Again, John is a  LEGEND.  Amazing.”

     -MacyAnn C.

“I learned A TON of stuff that will be useful…”

     -Hayley I.

“Exceeded my expectation by a long shot.  The scenarios were impactful and got the point across.  John was a great instructor and made the class fly by.”

     -Jomar V.

“Plenty of academic/scenario.  John is really good with the material and teaching in all aspects of the course.  John was the best SOLO Instructor I’ve had.”

     -Tony H.

“Excellent instructor.  Fun and experienced, very respectful and open to input/feedback.  Very good at engaging the class, very energetic.”

     -Melissa B.

“Very hands on and real-world applicable.  Great stories and examples to show us how this all fits together.”

     -Maureen W.

“Clear lessons, engaging classroom environment.  Instructor was fantastic – good energy and easy teaching.”

     -Lois M.


     -Laura K.

“It was a great course.  Good instructor, good lessons.  He has a lot of knowledge.”

     -Bar C.

“The hands on application and scenarios were super helpful.  Instructor was excellent. Passionate and able to communicate the information very well.  I would take more classes from SOLO.”

     -Cammie M.

“John was challenging and kept my attention.”

     -Dylan S.

“I learned so much in a short period of time.  The hands on learning was very helpful.  Great instructor – very clear and enthusiastic.”

     -Ben C.

“John- amazing.  Perfect!  He is very professional.”


“Live scenarios and active learning!  John was amazing!  He was always energetic, encouraging and helpful.”

     -Scout C.

“It informed me well.  Instructor was awesome.”

     -Spencer L.

“Hands-on, engaging.  John was knowledgeable and fun,  Great instructor.”

     -Kenna L.

“Instructor was very informed and very thorough.”

     -Jerod C.

“Instructors were very knowledgeable and trustworthy, able to answer all questions and provide help and support.”

     -Abigail M.

“Very informative and very well organized.”

     -McCoy W.

“Very engaging, informative and knows his stuff.”

     -Madison R.

“John was amazing and entertaining and taught us so much.”

     -Keith M.

“John was very hands-on and very practical.”

     -Sam W.

“It went far beyond my expectations!  John was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the information while also being approachable and appreciative of class participation.  Solid balance of real-life scenarios, applicable knowledge/advice and professionalism!”

     -Emily W.

“Awesome!  Very engaging, hands-on.”

     -Susanna L.

“Instructor was outstanding.  Made course real with personal experience.”

     -Travis P.

“Very fun and informative.”

     -Mac C.

“Instructor was very detailed, thorough and knowledgeable.”

     -Giuseppe I.

“Great hands-on experience”

     -Parker Y.

“Great!  Clear teaching, interactive with students, willing to answer questions, shared personal stories and experiences.”

     -Lauren T.

“I was into it the whole time – focused.  It was freakin’ awesome and taught me great.”

     -Winston E.

“John is a knowledgeable and  engaging teacher.”

     -Christian F.


     -Jasmine I.

“Scenarios were very hands-on and helpful, as well as splint making.  Good group work.  Passionate instructor with good stories and videos for examples.  Instructor was great!  Nice, receptive to questions, funny, thorough.”

     -Rachel W.

“It was very informative, entertaining/engaging, and hands on.  Instructor was friendly and knowledgeable.”

     -Jeremiah K.


     -Jack O.

“Engaging instructor that keeps you attentive for 6 hours!”

     -Kaitlin M.

“John was a stand up guy, great instructor.”

     -Dillon C.

“The course was even better than expected.  Very clear instruction, fun activities, excited and engaging instructor.”

     -Nic A.

“Very fun.”

     -Ben D.

“Hands-on, interactive, educational.   It’s great!  Great Instructor- exceptional, energetic, engaging.”

     -Blair N.

“John was very engaging and we had lots of hands-on simulations.  It was great!”

     -Marah B.

“Lots of hands-on experience and methods that let us actually learn.  Instructor knew his stuff – fun to learn under.”

     -Scott M.

“Scenarios were very helpful.  John was an excellent instructor!”

     -Scott S.

“Very good!  Explained things very professionally.”

     -Nitzan I.

“Good/engaging/informative instructor.  Thoroughly impressed.”

     -Gabriel M.

“The scenarios are helpful and the teacher engaged the class.”

     -Marc N.

“All things were taught well and respectfully.  Two of the best instructors I have ever had.”

     -Franki W.

“I learned more about the body and its functions/general anatomy than I was expecting.”

     -Ian W.

“Real application.  Funny, engaging, knowledgeable.”

     -Jack H.

“Both instructors were incredibly respectful, clear, helpful and engaging.  They were professional in the way they taught and spoke, yet allowed their humor and personality to allow the class to be all the more enjoyable.”

     -Raelene W.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I definitely learned more than I thought I would.  I liked everything, especially the different ways the info was presented.”

     -Abby M.

“Instructor was lively, kind, informative.  Good teacher.”

     -Nicholas H.

“John is a great teacher who has real world experience.  A good amount of scenarios.  John is personable and communicates clearly.”

     -Kellen W.

“Effective, clear, great.”

     -Pierce R.

“I enjoyed it and feel like I learned a lot!  The instructors were interacting and told stories and let the class participate a lot!  Great teachers that had a lot of knowledge.”

     -Natalie L.

“John is really cool.  Very engaging.”

     -Maddi M.

“Exceeded expectations.  Awesome instructor.  Material easy to learn – Awesome and positive.”

     -Matthew B.

“Engaging instructors, information thoroughly reviewed.  They were great.”

     -Dianna G.

“The instructor delivered the messages as well. Very practical and useful information.  Excellent instructor, explained everything as well even he didn’t know Hebrew so much.”

     -Bar A.

“John knows his stuff front and back, he is passionate.  Amazing 10/10.”

     -Katherine P.

“Above and beyond.  Very entertaining and engaging – explained the WHY of everything which was very helpful, lots of practical application and real stories/experience.”

     -Anna N.

“They made sure we understood what we were learning, and answered all our questions without complaint or ridicule.  I thought they were great!”

     -Julie K.

“Instructor was very engaging.  Awesome.”

     -Emily G.

“All beneficial – everything was great.  Instructor was a great guy and great teacher.”

     -Weston L.

“John was amazing teacher.  It was really interesting.  Professional.”

     -Einav G.

“Instructor was very engaging.  Great teaching, fun to talk with.”

     -Dalton C.

“John was an excellent teacher and very clear in the explanations.  Very good and entertaining while also being very professional.”

     -Sarah E.

“Learned a lot, relearned a lot, had a lot of practicing.  John was awesome, love the real life stories.”


“Amazing!!  Funny, professional.”

     -Gal S.

“10/10 very knowledgeable!”

     -Lizzy S.

“John is the best.  You know why?  Because John he is the best!  I think that is important to know and interesting and I very love him!  John is the best!!”

     -Shilat D.

Thank you to our previous students for all of the positive reviews!  We will continue to offer an evaluation form at the end of every course.