Browse by Category

Case Study: A Backcountry First Aid Mystery from the ’80s

By Tod Schimelpfenig on Feb 13, 2019

Fashion trends might change, but some things don't! NOLS students backpacking in the mountains. Photo from the NOLS Archives.

This is a tale from the early 1980s. Reagan was President, the internet and cell phones only a dream, and disco thankfully on its last legs. Two friends and I had recently learned wilderness medicine skills through an advanced first aid course, which was an early generation of the Wilderness First Responder (WFR).

Read along to see how you would react to a similar first aid situation today.

Read More

Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, altitude illness, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Case Study: Finding a Sick Person High in the Mountains

By Tod Schimelpfenig on Aug 15, 2018
Photo by Ashley Wise.


The Setting

You are a Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer working with a team to sweep a trail in the central Rocky Mountains in response to a vague cell phone report of an ill person somewhere on the trail. Eight miles from the trailhead at 8,800 ft. (2,680 m) you find the patient sitting on a log. After introducing yourselves, and with the patient's permission, you and the SAR team members begin an assessment.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, altitude illness, case study

Quiz: Managing Altitude Illness

By Ben Lerman on Aug 8, 2018
Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, altitude illness, quiz

Altitude Illness on Mount Kilimanjaro

By NOLS on Oct 6, 2010

The latest issue of High Altitude Medicine and Biology has a study entitled “Incidence and predictors of acute mountain sickness among trekkers on Mount Kilimanjaro.” Kili is notorious for altitude illness due to it’s aggressive ascent profile. While it has some significant limitations, this study, free online, showed a high rate of AMS and no protective effects from a mid-climb rest day or from acetazolamide, probably because the ascent rate is too high too fast for these measures to help.

Read More

Topics: AMS, wilderness medicine, Mount Kilimanjaro, WMI, altitude illness