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Wilderness Medical Training

Morocco Mountain Medicine Expedition 20-26 Sept. 2014 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 non-medical friends and family can join. Conservatively we estimate this event can count towards 15 CPD hours/credits.

What students say

Read this comprehensive, honest 2013 expedition review – Adventure Medic website
I really just want to reiterate a huge thanks to for a fantastic, relaxing, interesting & enjoyable course & all of you for great company, much amusement & a brilliant wander up t’hill.
Excellent course – perfectly pitched for all.
I had a fantastic time on the Morocco trip; it was a truly inspiring medical course which has made me totally rethink my career! Will be recommending it to everyone! Thanks again.

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. EVERY delegate on all past expeditions has reached the 4167m summit! 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.

2014 Teaching Team

We have another great team lined up this year including Consultant Ophthalmologist Dan Morris BSc (Hons) MBChB FRCSEd(Ophth) MFSEM(UK), Dr Zoe Smith MBBCh FRCA MSc (Mtn Med) BSc DTM&H, veteran polar expedition leader Tim Burton and mountain man WMT’s Commercial Director Barry Roberts.

Expedition Style & Content

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

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
Avalanche dangers
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 & 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

Other important topics
Human Dynamics on expedition
Joining an expedition – being the right stuff and what next?

Outline Itinerary

• 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)
• Lectures, acclimatisation trek and practical sessions
• Lectures and practical sessions around the Kasbah
• Trek only guest arrive pm for dinner
• Trek to mountain refuge
• Ascend Toubkal – return to refuge
• Descend to Kasbah (collect left luggage)
• Lunch in Imlil. Transfer to Marrakesh hotel.
• Final dinner together – formal farewells
• 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 100% summit success rate with the more reasonable 3 day itinerary discussed above.


The 2014 full expedition fee is £600 + €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 usually flights to Marrakesh from Luton, Manchester, Stansted and Gatwick.

Most people from the UK travel via Easyjet, Ryanair or BA. Here are their 2014 schedules (but check in real time)

Gatwick – Saturday 20 September: Departure/arrival: 1220/1600 & 1735/2115

Gatwick – Monday 22 September: Departure/arrival: 0625/1005 & 1520/1900

Return flights every day at varying times.

Stansted – only flights Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The outbound flights are 1645/2030

Manchester – only out and back Saturday and Wednesday. Saturday’s outbound flight is 1425/1815

British Airways – Gatwick only direct to Marrakesh; Saturday 1325/1705 and return on Friday 1910/2235

Ryanair – The nearest inbound flight date is on Friday – 1625/2000. You could visit Marrakesh for a night and meet the WMT transfer back at the airport on Saturday the 20th.


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

Download more information

Download the pre-trip Welcome Note with more real-time information about this year’s expedition.

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