Wilderness Medicine

This wikispace aims to bring together information useful for anyone who spends time in remote or wilderness environments.

Though clinicians are the priority audience, the contents of this wikispace are not just clinical.

It includes sections on:
• clinical care in the wilderness (some of this is applicable only to trained clinicians)
• outdoor knowledge and skills, such as navigation
• teamwork and leadership (& "human factors" - aka "non-technical skills")
• teaching, learning & education
• recommended books (and a few other things)

Definition of "wilderness medicine"

The practice of medicine where definitive care is more than one hour away, and often days to weeks away.

A quote from Luanne Freer (Lancet 2003 vol 392 pp s6-s7)
So, what is wilderness medicine? For me, time will tell. I have been practising in the wilderness for more than a decade and I still find myself searching for a concise answer. But there is nothing concise about it. The real joy is that I plan to continue to look for that answer for the rest of my life. Herein lies the opportunity for anyone who seeks to understand and practise wilderness medicine—to combine your profession with a passion for the unknown and the wild.

Some quotations

It is a journey into Being; for as I penetrate more deeply into the mountain's life, I penetrate also into my own. For an hour I am beyond desire. It is not ecstasy, that leap out of the self that makes man like a god. I am not out of myself, but in myself. To know Being, this is the final grace accorded from the mountain.

Nan Shepherd

It is not enough to understand the natural world. The point is to defend and preserve it.
Edward Abbey

The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Douglas Adams


Please use the navigation menu or the search box on the left to find topics.
The "recent changes" link on the left will do what it says!

The clinical pages include:
- the SAFETAC structured approach
- how to triage when demand exceeds capacity
- how to conduct a primary survey and manage the problems found during that survey
- how to conduct a secondary survey, issues relating to prolonged field care (when immediate evacuation is not possible)
- issues relating to evacuation.

The pages about outdoor skills and knowledge are based on the syllabus of the Mountain Leader (UK) course.

There are pages covering non-technical skills (aka "human factors") such as leadership and teamwork - as these are vital attributes in the wilderness - and also about teaching - part of wilderness medicine is sharing knowledge, skills and the attitudes that lead to fulfillment and enjoyment for others.

Background & information for medical students

This wikispace was developed as a resource for medical students on the Wilderness Medicine Student Selected Component based in Durham (the first in the UK) though it is hoped others will find it useful.
Poster presentation at workshop on teaching & learning: improving the experience, Newcastle 2008:
Poster presentation at 2007 World Congress of Wilderness Medicine:

Ribblehead viaduct: backdrop to the final phase of the 2011 wilderness medicine course

If you want to join this wikispace or want information about the course we run please contact "wilddoc" - click on "manage wikispace" top left of this page then on "wilddoc" next to creator.

Some stuff that did not fit into other headings:

Wilderness medical society
An eclectic collection of images and quotes, many of which relate to the wilderness
Paul Auerbach blog
The fitness fixer (Jolie Bookspan)
Nutrition for health and performance
Mountain Equipment Co-op: Good gear at good prices
Taking better hill photos (video)


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Links to organisations providing external instructors for the wilderness medicine course run in Durham (England)

Teesdale & Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team
Rescue North East
Bushcraft Expeditions
Carnegie Great Outdoors