Expedition medical training for laypeople & doctors Skip to content

Wilderness Medical Training

Expedition Medicine in Chamonix (winter) 19 CPD, 16-20 January 2017

What WMT says

Chamonix in winter is a fantastic setting in which to bring together WMT’s expert resources for a five day course to explore the rich and varied field of expedition and wilderness medicine and global health. Now in its 17th year, this is WMT’s most popular Medics’ event that is packed with inspiration, practical advice on how to join an expedition and expert medical training. We have an expert team who’ll share their expertise with great passion, be it in the fields of mountain or jungle medicine, extreme expedition adventures, remote clinical and humanitarian work, mountain rescue or research. Four out of five days begin mid afternoon for indoor practical sessions, lectures and case study discussions. A half day is spent outside practicing medicine in the cold and learning useful field skills like using a rope on steep ground and GPS. Each day has 4-5 hours course time which leaves the best part of the day free for snowsport activities. Every day concludes with a special “insight” talk. As far as learning from experts, career destabilising inspiration and snow time in the Alps, attending this course is a no-brainer in terms of being a great choice! Organisations that “employ” expedition medics increasingly expect candidates to have done a course of this breadth and standard.

What students say

Absolutely superb.
Gripping & inspirational. 10/10
Exceeded expectations (which were high) by a mile.
Excellent [instructors} without exception.
Best course ever.
Brilliantly delivered – diverse / interesting.
Real career changer.
All sessions delivered by such passionate, experienced individuals.
WMT has been absolutely inspirational!
Course content was excellent…
Amazing wealth of experience and stories…
All (instructors) were outstanding.
Interesting and inspiring week in a brilliant setting.
This has been a career, and possibly life changing course for me! Went beyond expectations.
Inspirational! Great course. Enjoyed the structure, flow and content.

Feedback quotes

“10/10. One of the best weeks of my life. FANTASTIC.”

“I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in expeditions/global health or who needs some career direction.”

Who’s invited?

Doctors of all grades, nurses, OHPs, medical students and anyone else with an interest in expedition and wilderness medicine are welcome to attend. No prior expedition or ski experience is required. Naturally many people come to this course to combine snow sports with the educational opportunity. Delegates range from experienced expedition medics who attend to ensure their knowledge is up to date and to get formal training under their belt, to younger medics who are fascinated and curious about this field of medicine and are exploring alternative career paths. This is our most well attended Medic’s course due to the stunning location, diverse faculty, rich programme and snow sport fun! We are proud that our faculty and delegate mix reflects a diversity of healthcare professionals and is inter-disciplinary.

Course fees

The tuition only course fee is £495. Remember to budget for flights, food/accommodation, ski passes and such. We provide heaps of related advice when you book. DON’T book if you don’t have leave approved as payments are not refundable.

2016 Course Director & Teaching Team – the 2017 team is normally confirmed 6 months before

WMT’s Medical Director Dr Harvey Pynn will be the 2017 course director. Read more about Harvey and his recent feature article TOP TEN SKILLS TO MASTER FOR THE EXPEDITION MEDIC online at The Adventure Medic.
This was our 2016 teaching team:

– Dr Harvey Pynn, EM Consultant, climber, endurance athlete and WMT Medical Director
– Barry Roberts, skier, climber, diver & paragliders pilot, WMT Commercial Director with 25+ expeditions
– Dr Daniel Morris, consultant ophthalmologist and world authority on “the eye at altitude”
– Dr Pete Davis, EM consultant, high altitude expert, alpinist, back country skier, conflict zone & polar experienced
– Dr Rose Drew, recent British Antarctic Survey base doctor, ex-Raleigh medic
– Dr Lucy Obolensky GP, passionate global health advocate and Kenya medical project founder
– Dr Amy Hughes, Clinical Academic Lecturer in Emergency Response at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), University of Manchester
– Dr Paddy Morgan air ambulance doctor, jungle marathon medic, rescue expert
– Carron Scrimgeour, local Chamonix EM consultant, frostbite expert and mountain rescue
– special guest speaker Harriet Tuckey, author of the award winning book Everest – The First Ascent: The untold story of Griffith Pugh, the man who made it possible

2017 provisional programme

This programme has been thoroughly revised with the main addition of more short, sharp sessions and an earlier start adding 2 hours contact time and broadening this comprehensive programme even further. There is approximately 5 hours of teaching time per day, indoors 4/5 and outdoors 1/5 Monday to Friday.

Day 1
2.30 – 3.00 Registration
3.00 – 3.15 Course kick off – welcome & introductions
3.15 – 4.00 Be ready – expedition medical planning
4.00 – 4.30 Stay safe in Cham – avalanche risks
4.30 – 4.45 Refreshments
4.45 – 5.40 Hypothermia & frostbite
5.45 – 6.15 Expedition orthopaedics
6.15 – 6.30 Complimentary wine & nibbles
6.30 – 7.15 Remote & global medicine opportunities

Day 2 Vignettes
2.30 – 2.45 ‘Bang for Buck’ medical multi-tools
2.45 – 3.00 Human dynamics
3.00 – 3.15 Hyperbaric emergencies
3.15 – 3.30 Global health / rash quiz
3.30 – 4.00 Refreshments
4.00 – 4.15 Changes in UK SAR
4.15 – 4.30 Communications
4.30 – 4.45 Working with disabled participants
4.45 – 5.00 Pain in the wilderness
5.00 – 5.15 Ten pearls for a medical kit
5.15 – 5.30 Q&A with presenters
5.30 – 6.15 Chamonix Mountain Rescue
6.15 – 6.30 Complimentary wine & nibbles
6.30 – 7.15 Griff Pugh: Everest the First Ascent by Harriet Tuckey

Day 3 Outdoor workshops 1/2 day – 9-12.30 OR 1.30 – 5.00
GPS navigation
Trauma scenario (PAC)
Practical fracture management
Safety on steep terrain – rope skills
Communications / SAR / survival aides
6.00 Complimentary wine & nibbles
6.15 – 7.00 Everest My Way insight lecture by Barry Roberts

Day 4
2.30 – 3.30 Altitude illness – theory & practice
3.30 – 4.00 Research on expeditions
4.00 – 4.30 Refreshments
4.30 – 5.15 The eye at altitude & other eye problems
5.15 – 6.00 Submersion and immersion
6.00 – 6.15 Q&A with presenters
6.15 – 6.30 Complimentary wine & nibbles
6.30 – 7.15 Insight lecture by Amy Hughes

Day 5
2.30 – 3.15 Hot and Bothered
3.15 – 3.45 Max fax injuries & dental problems
3.45 – 4.30 Tropical problems – part 1
4.30 – 5.00 Refreshments
5.00 – 5.45 Tropical problems – Part 2
5.45 – 6.15 Breakout Q&A
6.15 – 6.30 Complimentary wine & nibbles / evaluation
6.30 – 6.45 So you wanna be an expedition medic?
6.45 – 7.30 Playing the game insight lecture by Dan Morris
7.30 Close

Day 6 Optional glacier trekking experience

Insight Lectures

A very personal insight lecture at the end of each day 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. You will be laughing, and crying, as our team tell you about their exploits, hardships, successes and failures in the jungles, high on Everest, conducting life-changing eye operations in the Kenyan bush or running the Marathon du Sable. Often heart warming, inspirational, humbling, humble, honest, revealing, frank, frightening and occasionally cringeworthy, it’s no surprise these talks are so highly rated. We don’t promise all of these talks on a single course but we’ll have 5 such talks on the winter Chamonix course.


We estimate that this programme is valid for approximately 17.5 CPD hours.


Fees include tuition, refreshments, materials and the lecture and outdoor programme only.

What about travel, accommodation, ski pass costs etc?

Download the more info file (below) and see the pre-course Welcome Note you receive when you book. This extensive Welcome Note details the answers to every conceivable question you could ask about getting to Chamonix, where to stay, what to bring, what’s happening and many more top tips to make it easy to join us including apartment rental discounts, airport transfer discount codes, ski pass prices and more.

How does this course compare with other WMT Medic courses?

There is free time to ski and the course is 4/5 indoors. This is our biggest course – up to 120 delegates. If you want a smaller, more outdoor based course, choose any of all the other Medic courses including the Morocco expedition, which do not have free time during each course.

This course on Facebook

Join in the pre-course chatter, apartment sharing options and course updates and info from WMT at this Facebook event link.

Download more information (2016 notes – the 2017 notes are coming soon)

Download the WMT Welcome Note Expedition Medicine Chamonix 18-22 Jan 2016 V2 for more detailed information, accommodation and travel advice about this great course in Chamonix (which is automatically emailed to you when you book).

RGS Expedition Health Research

A Royal Geographical Society study of 1263 medical complaints on expedition found that more than half (51%) were classified either as gastrointestinal upsets (30%) or medical problems (21% – infections, headache, malaria etc.). 8% of complaints were fauna related. Not surprisingly, 4% of problems were feet related. Orthopaedic problems accounted for 19% of complaints, closely followed by environmental problems at 14%. Even minor illnesses left untreated, such as diarrhoea, blisters or sunburn, can slow a whole team down, reduce productivity and enjoyment and threaten the success of an expedition. More serious illness or injury can derail the expedition’s plans and result in evacuation that can be difficult and protracted. There is much for the expedition medic to consider and prepare for.