The Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester is a unique blend of wilderness skills, medicine, rescue, and leadership. The course is designed for those who aspire to be members of a search and rescue team, lead wilderness trips, learn risk management for whitewater, assist with rock rescue, or work on an urban ambulance. If this is how you want to spend your time, then this semester will help you achieve those goals.
The semester starts with an intensive four-week Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) classroom-based course, followed by nine field weeks of backpacking, a rock climbing and rock rescue camp, and either river travel and rescue or winter travel with avalanche rescue. The semester is woven with themes of leadership, expedition behavior, communication and decision-making, as well as wilderness evacuation, swift water, and rock rescue skills. This demanding semester will challenge you in both traditional and wilderness classrooms. The days are long, and the expectations are high. The rigors of this semester will provide you with the theoretical and practical foundations for a career in outdoor recreation, medicine, and rescue.
NOLS' Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus in Lander, Wyoming is the home for the classroom, scenarios, and clinical rotations of the WEMT course. A three-week backpacking expedition through the red rock canyons of southern Utah or the Wind River Range focuses on fundamental wilderness skills, leadership and wilderness evacuations. The rock climbing section will include basic skills such as bouldering, belaying, and knots as well as rock rescue skills and continued themes of leadership and environmental studies. A multi-week river expedition through Utah's scenic river canyons will introduce you to river canoeing or kayak/raft (spring) and swiftwater rescue skills. A winter camping expedition and avalanche rescue seminar conclude the fall semester.
The climbing and rock rescue, river travel and river rescue or winter travel and avalanche rescue skills are taught in the framework of a NOLS field expedition. If your interest is purely rescue skills, you should seek training with other providers. If your interest is learning medical and rescue skills in the context of a NOLS expedition, this is the semester for you.
“Working in the outdoor industry, I am noticing just how professional and qualified and incredible my instructors were at NOLS. They did a great job of promoting good habits and being conscious of the risks involved in any activity.... NOLS taught me the secret to great teamwork is great leadership. More importantly, I learned that leadership isn't exclusive to those in charge; anybody can demonstrate leadership.”