The young man lay there, shivering. The aluminum blanket his trip leader haphazardly tossed on him wasn’t helping him warm up from the rain storm. Why wasn’t his group paying attention to their friend? Why did his leader let him lie so far from the fire?Read More
You and your climbing partner are enjoying an exceptional climbing vacation. This morning your partner has the lead on the first pitch and is approximately 30 feet off the deck and 6 feet above his last piece of protection working over a roof.
At this point you notice him struggling with his foot placement and brace for a fall. He comes off the route and swings into the rock about 12 feet below his high point. His feet impacted first. He grabs his right ankle.Read More
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’ve probably noticed the sun setting a little bit later each day. As an avid fly-fisherman you might already be tying flies for the upcoming season. Even if you’ve never fly-fished before, NOLS Wilderness Medicine has advice for both beginners and experts so you can be prepared for the hobby’s common risks that are especially relevant in the early season.Read More
You are searching, as part of your local SAR team, for an overdue snowmobiler. You know that the overdue person is a 62-year-old male with a history of risk factors for heart disease, but no actual heart attacks. He is described as an experienced snowmobiler and knowledgeable of the local trails. He planned a short ride this morning, due home by noon.Read More
NOLS Wilderness First Responder grad Ned Morris is a volunteer ShelterBox Response Team member (SRT). SRT members deploy to areas of natural disaster or conflict-based migration, and help families who have lost everything due to natural disaster or violence. ShelterBox provides shelter solutions, including tents or house repair kits, as well as water purification systems, solar lighting, cooking sets, and much more. There are just over 100 active Response Team members in the world; less than 40 in the U.S. Read the following Q&A to learn more about Ned's humanitarian work with ShelterBox and how his WFR helped prepare him for this role.Read More
You’re the trip leader for a group of teenagers on a nine-day backpack in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. The rivers are up and every crossing has been wet. A late spring snowstorm dropped several inches of new snow and brought cooler temperatures.
You’ve encouraged daily foot checks, changing socks and staying as warm and as dry as possible—all relative to the reality of these conditions. At today’s midday rest break you realize no one has dry socks and one of the participants says his feet hurt.Read More
My mom and I go backpacking frequently in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our typical playground is the western Sierras between Yosemite and Kings Canyon, ranging from quick weekend to two-week trips. We’ve also section hiked the John Muir Trail and hiked rim-to-rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon.Read More
To get into the Halloween spirit, NOLS is exploring how wilderness medicine skills apply in an apocalyptic setting. You may be surprised to learn that you're prepared to survive the walking dead (and also to remove impaled objects when it’s not the end of the world)! Have a spooky, happy Halloween!Read More
During the summer of 2017, when I was 14 years old, I took part in a 21-day NOLS backpacking course in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. Just halfway through the course, I watched what (at the time) I considered to be an incredible feat of medicine. Another student on my course tripped and fell while walking across a burned-out section of forest and—under the heavy weight of his pack—hit his head on a rock. In the days that followed, I watched my two incredible instructors treat a possible concussion.Read More
You’re out for a hike, enjoying a beautiful day in the mountains. Pausing to take a sip from your water bottle, you survey your surroundings—and suddenly notice the fallen hiker up ahead. You put your water bottle away and start walking toward the crumpled figure beside the trail.Read More
Your weekend adventure in the mountains takes an unexpected turn when you spot a fallen hiker beside the trail. Fortunately, after a brief moment of panic, your wilderness medicine training kicks in and you complete a thorough scene size-up.Read More
You’re a biologist working out of a remote ranch on the sagebrush plains of southern Idaho. It’s early May. You ride and walk daily to survey herds of pronghorn as part of a research program. One of your classmates goes to bed feeling lousy—achy, nauseous—and wakes up feeling worse.
Knowing you have training as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), your colleagues ask you to take a look at this poor fellow.Read More
At age 41 I have repented of some of the bad behavior of my youth. No longer will I leave fish around the tents of my friends when we camp in bear country. Nor will I begin my pre-trip safety talks with the phrase, “What could possibly go wrong?”Read More