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Wilderness Medical Training

Mountain Medicine 12 CPD credits

What WMT says

The mountains are an alluring environment and climbing them is a British invention (and obsession!). Living, working and being a medic in the mountains is demanding and occasionally dangerous. There are special medical problems associated with hypoxia at higher altitudes and freezing temperatures, and there is potential for trauma due to avalanches, falls, crevasses on glaciers and other terrain hazards. The mountain medic needs to be able to navigate and be sure footed and confident in the mountains and on steep terrain. You also need to be physically fit and able to practice medicine on the mountainside, where simply assessing a casualty is a challenge in wet, windy weather, not to mention that evacuation is likely to be difficult or at least awkward. This practical, hands on course is lead by mountain medic experts and assumes no prior mountain experience. We take students through the most important medical skills and knowledge required for this special environment in addition to learning and practicing fundamental mountain craft skills that are a pre-requisite to safe, secure movement in the hills. Mountain Medicine is a fun, 2-day course that’s more outdoors than indoors.

What students say

Brilliant venue & facilities. Hostel was superb. Best I’ve ever stayed at.
So friendly, knowledgable and inspirational (instructors)
All great teachers, plenty of humour and effective communication of a lot of knowledge
Well paced gradual accumulation of information over the weekend
Excellent – feel much better equipped and improved confidence
I was amazed at the pre-course organisation
Thank you for so much useful, brilliant fun!
Loved the practical outdoor stuff
An involved, engaging bunch of instructors
Truly excellent… friendly and knowledgeable (instructors)
Relevant, concise, good use of practical demos…
Content was well balanced between mountain stuff and medicine.
Comprehensive…lots of new material for myself.
The sessions… were punctuated with anecdotes and real life experiences which left me with no doubt that I was being taught by experts who had mastered their skills through years of practice in the field.

Who’s invited?

Doctors of all grades, nurses, medical students or anyone else with an interest in mountain medicine are welcome to attend. No prior climbing or expedition experience is required but you must be reasonably fit. Whether you are flirting with the idea of accompanying a team up Kilimanjaro, bolstering your CV or simply want a fun, inspiring educational weekend in the Welsh mountains, Mountain Medicine will satisfy your aims.

What’s covered on Mountain Medicine?

This is a busy two days with loads of practical sessions, group work, lectures and discussions. There’s lots to learn about mountain craft and this course will give you an excellent grounding. Many students arrive early or stay on to explore under their own steam. We issue a comprehensive course manual with a lot of “bonus” material (see note below).

Intensive training on the hill includes:
Security on steep ground – simple rope work
Radio communications
Introduction to using GPS
Map & compass navigation
Safe river crossing
Mountain safety equipment
Patient packaging – moving, straightening, lifting, moving
Fracture management – improvised splinting
Wound management
Working around helicopters
Rescue scenarios

The lecture & discussion group sessions include:
Expedition medical planning
Compiling a mountain medical kit
Choosing & packing personal equipment
Mountain navigation theory
Water purification
Thermal injury – hypothermia, frostbite, cold water immersion
Acute mountain sickness – prevention and treatment
Use of portable altitude chambers
So you wanna be an expedition medic?
Saturday evening inspirational lecture (s)


We estimate that this programme is valid for approximately 12 CPD credits.

Medic course manual – what’s covered?

We issue the same comprehensive Medic course manual on ALL WMT Medic courses so there is a lot of “bonus” material in addition to what is specifically covered on any particular course syllabus. For example, there are extensive notes on diverse topics such as heat injury, tropical medicine, expedition dentistry, diving medicine, swift water rescue and other topics that are not covered on this course.

Confirmed Teaching Teams

The June course director will be WMT Medical Director EM consultant/DiMM Dr Harvey Pynn. The October course director will be Dr Zoe Burton (MSc in mountain medicine). Both courses are supported by WMTs Commercial Director and expedition leader Barry Roberts and veteran polar guide Tim Burton. Combined these teaching teams have many dozens of mountain expeditions to their credit, including trips to the summit of Everest, Greenland, Antarctica, Pakistan, Kenya, Morocco and other mountainous destinations. All are keen climbers and ski mountaineers.

See the booking panel for 2016 dates

Both 2016 courses will be held at the Grasmere Independent Hostel in the Lake District. Arrive Friday night. Tuition begins Saturday. Accommodation is included for 2 nights. Meals are served starting with breakfast.

Grasmere Independent Hostel – “Knocks most other Lakeland hostels into a cocked hat”. The Guardian

Finally we’ve found a very high standard 4-star hostel with a 5-star Trip Adviser rating that has first-class facilities within easy reach of the “south” and nestled at the foot of the hills near Grasmere in the beautiful Lake District. There are fast London trains to Windermere and easy bus connections to Grasmere for those using public transportation. We have exclusive use of this 24 bed facility with a dedicated conference room, en-suite bathrooms, a lounge with awesome views, laundry facilities, drying room and a sauna! It’s centrally heated with free flowing hot water for showers (no coin meters in this posh pad!). Free wifi is available and linen/bedding is provided. Best of all it’s 400 yards to a classic real ale Lakeland pub. See lovely photos of the hostel here or visit the hostel website.

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.