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Wilderness Medical Training

Morocco Mountain Medicine Expedition 19-25 Sept. 2015 – 15 CPD credits

What WMT says

This expedition uniquely combines the essentials of expedition and mountain medicine with highly practical mountain skills training and culminates with an ascent of Jbel Toubkal (4167m), the highest mountain in North Africa and an overnight visit to Marrakesh. Mountains are dangerous. There are special medical problems associated with hypoxia at higher altitudes and low temperatures and many terrain related trauma risks. The mountain medic needs to be sure footed on steep terrain, physically fit and prepared to practice medicine on the mountainside. This practical, hands on expedition to exotic Morocco is lead by mountain medics and experts. No mountain experience is required to attend but you need to be fit. We take delegates through the most important medical issues and field skills required for this special environment. This expedition attracts delegates from all other the world. There’s a Toubkal trek only option that alumni, non-medical friends and family can join. Conservatively we estimate this event can count towards 15 CPD hours/credits. Everything is included in the fee except flights and personal insurance.

What students say

Fantastic week – engaging, inspiring, interesting
Great trip, instructors very approachable and fun, felt I learned loads – 10/10
Surpassed my expectations – thank you – worth every penny
Excellent course – perfectly pitched for all
Every bit of time used effectively
Great exchanges of views with participants & leaders
Delivered by enthusiastic, knowledgeable experts
I had a fantastic trip; it made me totally rethink my career! Will be recommending it to everyone!
Brilliant course – all very relevant, useful, fantastic content

Read an independent review

Read this comprehensive, honest 2013 expedition review – Adventure Medic website

Who’s invited?

Doctors of all grades, nurses, medical students, OHPs and laypeople with a strong wilderness first aid background and interest in mountain medicine and adventure travel are welcome to attend. No prior climbing or expedition experience is required but you must be reasonably fit. The 4167m Mt. Toubkal summit is not always guaranteed (we were thwarted by unseasonably early snow in 2014 but previously boasted a 100% summit success record!). It is a worthy objective. Whether you are flirting with the idea of accompanying a team up Kilimanjaro, bolstering your CV or simply want a fun, inspiring educational week in the Moroccan mountains, this great value annual expedition is for you. Once you arrive, all costs are covered in the fee.

2015 Teaching Team

High altitude research guru and world authority on the “eye at altitude” Consultant Ophthalmologist Dan Morris BSc (Hons) MBChB FRCSEd(Ophth) MFSEM(UK) and mountain man WMT’s Commercial Director Barry Roberts will lead the 2015 expedition. In 2014 we were joined by Dr Zoe Smith MBBCh FRCA MSc (Mtn Med) BSc DTM&H, veteran polar expedition leader Tim Burton and we hope they’ll be back – tbc.

Expedition Style & Content

The content will be covered in a flexible way and will include:
Lectures
Tutorials & discussion groups
Team challenges
Acclimatisation treks
Practical tuition
Insight lecture

Planning & Pre-expedition considerations
Travellers with special needs
Don’t get sued – legal liability & insurance
Immunisations & anti-malarials
Choosing a medical kit
Water purification
Mountain Medicine
Altitude illness
Hypothermia & cold injury
Managing Injuries in the Field
Incident management – more than just medicine
Trauma on expeditions
Moving & straightening the injured
Practical fracture management, Sam splints, Kendrick traction device, improvised stretchers, use of collars

Mountain Skills
Travelling light: kit selection, packing & waterproofing
Use of radios in an emergency
Navigation essentials: reading the terrain, use of map & compass
Using GPS
Ropes/anchors & security on steep ground techniques
Safe river crossings
Group catering

Other important topics
Joining an expedition – being the right stuff and what next?
Research on expeditions
Helicopter safety
Accident simulation to put new skills into practice
Final delegate cabaret at the mountain refuge – your chance to take the p*$s out of the teaching team!

Medic course manual – what’s covered?

We issue the same comprehensive Medic course manual – currently 173 pages – on ALL 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 tropical medicine, expedition dentistry, diving medicine, swift water rescue and other topics that are not explicitly covered in Morocco.

Outline Itinerary

Saturday
• Arrive Marrakesh airport 6.30pm latest.Transfer to Imlil & Kasbah du Toubkal.
• Welcome & dinner
• Relax on the roof tops – time to use the hamman (sauna)
Sunday
• Lectures, acclimatisation trek and practical teaching sessions en route
Monday
• Longer acclimatisation trek and practical teaching sessions en route
• Trek only guest arrive pm for dinner
Tuesday
• Trek to mountain refuge
Wednesday
• Ascend Toubkal – return to refuge
Thursday
• Descend to Kasbah (collect left luggage)
• Lunch in Imlil. Transfer to Marrakesh hotel.
• Final dinner together – formal farewells
Friday
• Breakfast. Private sightseeing as time permits
• Transfer to airport as required – depart Morocco – or stay and play!

Ascent description of Mt. Jbel Toubkal, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Day 1
Start at venue Kasbah du Toubkal 1820m – 9km on a good path to refuge at 3207m – total ascent 1387m. Mostly a gentle incline with a steep section in the middle. Estimated total time 6-8 hours.

Day 2
Refuge to summit 4167m over an estimated distance (one way) of 2.5km. Total ascent 960m. Estimated total return time to refuge 8-10 hours. Much steeper and rockier on a less well defined path involving easy scrambling (hands on rocks) but no roped climbing.

Day 3
Descend from refuge to Kasbah – 4 hours

The Cicerone Guide to Trekking in the Atlas Mountains grades this trek as “strenuous” (based on the amount of effort involved). Many groups make the return ascent in two days – refuge to summit to Imlil village on day 2. This is very demanding and WMT has achieved a great summit success rate with the more reasonable 3 day itinerary discussed above.

Accommodation & venues

Delegates are always delighted and surprised at the high standard of accommodation and venues that we use.
Kasbah du Toubkal
We spend 3 nights here in the lovely Berber suites (posh dorms!) centred around the main dining room, though the Kasbah has much more upscale accommodation options. Actor Daniel Craig (007) was a guest when we were here in 2014! The staff are lovely and the food is splendid.

Mouflon le Refuge Toubkal
We spend 2 nights here. There are always log fires burning in the dining rooms. Blankets are provided. The food is plentiful and tasty. Free flowing mint tea when we need it!

Marrakech Hotel Islane
Our final night is spent here in en suite twin or triple rooms. It’s as central as you can get to the main souk. We dine in the lovely rooftop restaurant. A cool Casablanca beer is optional!

Fees

The 2015 full expedition is £625 + €250 paid locally
- lecture programme, materials, field manual & tuition
- escorted Jbel Toubkal mountain climb
- group transfers (from Marrakesh airport to Imlil then back to the city)
- full board accommodation (shared and mountain refuge) including all soft drinks at the Kasbah
- Marrakesh hotel & final group dinner/breakfast

Travel Advice

Search SKYSCANNER for low-cost carriers that fly directly to Marrakesh from UK and European airports. There are flights to Marrakesh from Luton, Manchester, Stansted and Gatwick with Easyjet, Ryanair or British Airways.

CPD

We estimate that this programme is valid for at least 15 CPD hours/credits.

Download more information

The updated 2015 dossier is coming soon.

RGS Expedition Health Research

41% of British expeditions head to the mountains so the opportunities for mountain medics are numerous and there is much for the expedition medic to consider and prepare for. 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.

Course Images