Expedition Medicine & Field Skills, Chamonix (summer) 2019

What WMT says

Chamonix in summer provides the ideal backdrop to this intensive five day course which combines wilderness medicine with the varied skills needed to work, thrive and live in diverse environments including the mountains and jungle. With a core teaching team comprised of medics, expedition leaders and mountain guides, WMT packs a broad lecture programme with problem solving/planning exercises and case studies, outdoor training sessions and an overnight high altitude mountain bivouac into a demanding and fun programme. Of all our courses, Chamonix events (winter and summer) have the widest attendance, attracting delegates from across Europe and beyond, including medical students, nurses, doctors, consultants, physiotherapists and paramedics. This popular annual programme is rich in learning, inspiration, practical medical advice and outdoor skill training. Organisations that might “employ” expedition medics increasingly expect candidates to have done a course of this high standard which is held only once a year in Chamonix in June for up to 60 delegates. 100% of the June 2018 course delegates would recommend this course to others.

What students say

Such a brilliant week!
Excellent faculty – no improvement needed.
A great insight into the character and demands of an expedition medic.
A fun-filled, inspiring big kids holiday with enough medical theory to stimulate our brains.
It was a perfect mix of theory and practise, with a very healthy daily dose of vitamin D in the outdoors.
It was refreshing to be amongst so many people like-minded professionals who wanted more from their careers than the 4 walls of a hospital.
The course covered so much, at a good pace.
I think the course tested the comfort zone of quite a few people which is good. However, no one was made to feel awkward, inadequate or left out which is testament to the excellent abilities of the faculty as tutors and leaders.

Feedback from a 2017 course graduate

We were constantly encouraged to think pragmatically and creatively to tackle the problem-solving exercises presented to us. I thought it was brilliant how different each team leader was, and this allowed learning in multiple teaching styles. On returning back to the UK I feel inspired to explore further opportunities as a wilderness medic, and definitely hope to you join on another WMT course.
Helen Thomson

Who’s invited?

Doctors of all grades, nurses, medical student, paramedics and OHPs with an interest in expedition and wilderness medicine are welcome to attend. No prior expedition experience is required. On one end of the spectrum we get quite experienced expedition medics attending to ensure their knowledge is up to date and to get formal training under their belt, and at the other extreme, people attend who are simply fascinated and curious about this field of medicine and are exploring alternative career paths. The outdoor skills are taught at a practical “foundation” level but we wouldn’t consider this “basic”. All the training and teaching is pragmatic and aims to equip the medic with useful outdoor skills to be able to look after themselves and medical skills to look after patients.

2018 Course Director & Teaching Team

The course will be directed by WMT’s Medical Director Dr Harvey Pynn who will be joined by a seasoned team including WMT’s mountain man Barry Roberts, IFMGA guide Luc Bellon and MIC/IML Nigel Williams, formerly of Glenmore Lodge. Additional medical instructors are still to be confirmed.


2019 pre-course dossier – posted early 2019
WMT overseas course participant declaration 2018 v1
2018 programme – for reference – the 2019 programme will follow when the full teaching team is confirmed WMT Chamonix EM&FS June 2018 programme final

What’s included in the course fee?

The course fee includes tuition, a course manual and some refreshments during the lecture periods. You will need to budget for everything else – flights, airport transfers, accommodation, meals/food and approximately 25 euros for one cable car ride (for the overnight camp). No personal outdoor equipment, clothing or camping equipment is include except that WMT provides cooking stoves/fuel and pots for the overnight camping phase.

Course programme overview

9.00 Registration – Salle du Bicentenaire
9.15 Welcome, introductions, the week ahead
9.30 Bench marking exercise – outdoors
10.15 Tea/coffee
10.30 Expedition medical planning
11.15 Mental health in the wilderness
11.30 Navigation lecture
12.15 Lunch
13.15 Acute mountain sickness (incl PAC demo)
14.00 General mountain hazards
14.30 Expedition orthopaedics (incl pain)
15.15 Tea/coffee
15.30 Tropical medicine 1
16.00 Disaster management case – paragliding in India
16.30 Briefing for Tuesday
16.45 Insight lecture – title to be confirmed
17.30 Close

8.30 meet at Les Gailland (St. Gervais train @ 8.14 to Les Pelerins arrives 8.20)
8.45 Round robin of outdoor training sessions x 5
Extrication, moving, lifting and carrying
Practical splinting
Navigation 2
GPS navigation
Jungle living, water purification, kit selection
16.00 Bivouac briefing – teams later to shop for provisions
17.44 Close – return train @ 17.44 or walk

8.30 Hypothermia & frostbite
9.15 Drowning & water safety
10.00 Coffee
10.15 Tropical medicine 2
11.00 Heat injury
11.30 Final briefing & disperse
13.00 Meet – La Flegere lift station – train to Les Praz
14.00 Round robin of 5 training sessions (3/5 Weds)
Snow travel & ice axe use
Trauma scenarios (improvising, patient packaging, stretchers, helicopter safety, MR)
Navigation exercise
Security on steep ground/rope work
Medical cases & medical kits
Set up bivvy & cook (fireside chats)

Breakfast & pack up
8.00 Round robin training activities continued (2/5)
10.30 Final emergency exercise
12.00 Descend to Chamonix
15.20 Reconvene in lecture room / return cleaned kit
15.30 Chamonix mountain rescue
16.00 Tea/coffee (glacier trekkers’ briefing)
16.15 Insight lecture – title to be confirmed
17.00 So you wanna be an expedition medic? Recap of learning points from the course.
17.15 Friday briefing, course evaluation, certificates
17.20 Insight lecture – Everest: My Way
17.50 Close
TBC End of course BBQ

8.30 Guided mountain walks – meet @ main train station
9.00 Glacier trekkers – meet @ Salomon shop
9.00 Glacier trekkers – meet @ Salomon shop

Friday: mountain hikes
In small teams, we offer a range of supervised mountain walks (or if leaving early we also offer a glacier trek – see below).

Friday & Saturday: optional glacier trekking & ice climbing
Why not stay another day and join our fully qualified mountain guide team led by Luc Bellon on a high mountain glacier trekking and climbing experience (at additional cost). See this great video of this training day shot in winter (January 2018). Details in the dossier.

Insight Lectures

These very personal talks are a real highlight for many delegates so it’s worth saying more about them. Firstly, they are always accompanied by first-class images and often other media. Secondly, it is the highly personal, often intimate, nature of these presentations that delegates love. Often heart warming, inspirational, humbling, humble, honest, revealing, frank, frightening and occasionally cringeworthy, it’s no surprise these talks are so highly rated. Insight lectures are an inside view of someone’s career path who has blended adventure into it.


We estimate that this programme is valid for approximately 30 CPD credits.

Pre-course Dossier

See above under DOWNLOADS.


Join in the pre-course chatter and accommodation sharing on this Facebook page.