AdventureMed Blog

Backpacking in Patagonia- How to navigate the bottom of the world

By Sarah Sarfaty, AEMT

This past fall, I was lucky to get some extra time off after teaching a WLS:MP course with GREMM in Cajon del Maipo, Chile. At the recommendation of my local co-instructors, I decided to explore Chilean Patagonia. I chose to backpack the W-Trek in Torres del Paine National Park. Not only was this my first solo backpacking trip, it was also my first international backpacking trip. 

How a Wilderness Medicine Certification Course is beneficial for Professional & Personal Development

By Ariane Rasori, RN, FNP

Learn skills you can take anywhere in the world. Regardless of your speciality and clinical setting as a medical professional, Wilderness Medicine Certification courses can be hugely beneficial for enhancing both professional and personal development.

Wilderness Medicine Abroad: WLS:MP Dolomites Trekking Course

By Sophie Zhang, WEMT

This is why I got into the outdoors. This is why I got into medicine. This is why you should, too. 

Bringing Wilderness Medicine to New Areas: the 1st Annual Cuyahoga Valley Conference

By Sarah Sarfaty, AEMT

When most people first think of wilderness, or the austere environment, they think of remote mountain ranges, untouched deserts, or deserted islands. However, wilderness medicine has found a large following in Ohio, of all places. The austere setting doesn’t need to apply only to these high ticket destinations, but can be found in the remote areas of the midwest.

Desert Disaster: A Canyoneering Accident in the North Wash, UT

By Sarah Sarfaty, AEMT

On October 9, 2022, Vickie Rupprecht was participating in a guided canyoneering trip at Angel Slot Canyon outside of Hanksville, UT when she was injured while being the last of her group on the first rappel. She was adventuring with her husband, three other participants, and one guide. The rappel, approximately 25m, has an unusual start which requires the person to drop off a ledge directly into a short free hang. Many blogs and public information sites note that “the start is tricky”. While rappelling, Rupprecht caught her foot on the ledge, inverted, trapped her foot against the rock, and fractured her ankle in four places (Video 1).

Into the wild: Emergency Medicine hosts wilderness training for med students

By University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

On a rainy April weekend in eastern North Dakota, UND’s Department of Emergency Medicine within UND’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) hosted its firstever Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS) course for medical students at Turtle River State Park.

Cirque Series Nutrition

By Jennie Harris, MS

Cirque Series races are a unique mix of endurance and strength. Staying hydrated and fueling properly will help you to achieve optimal performance during your upcoming race. 


Sports nutrition is not a one fits all approach. Similar to training, it takes time and practice to figure out the best strategy for you. Test your nutrition and hydration plan in conditions similar to race day (elevation, distance, intensity, temperature, clothing etc.) and fine tune through trial and error. Below are general suggestions. For individualized guidance seek support from a qualified Registered Dietitian. 

Posion Ivy

By Jessica Duke, MD

What do these patients have in common?


  • A 4-year-old with lines of red bumps and blisters over his legs after playing in the woods behind his house.
  • A 46-year-old female with swelling and irritation around her bottom after wiping herself with dead leaves while hiking yesterday.
  • A 22-year-old male with difficulty breathing after a bonfire this evening.


If you guessed an allergic reaction to urushiol-containing plants, such as poison ivy, you’re right!

Quicksand in the Wilderness

By Jessica Duke, MD

Two hikers were recently hiking the remote Subway Trail in Zion National Park, Utah, when, believe it or not, they became trapped in quicksand! The first hiker stepped in the colloid suspension and when the second hiker attempted to rescue her, he too became caught and buried up to his knee. The first hiker was able to escape, but no amount of effort from either of them could pry the second hiker loose. He was not only stuck in the frigid quicksand, but also exposed to the elements. There was no cell service in the area and with no chance of extracting the second hiker on her own, the first hiker was forced to leave the second hiker with their warm weather gear and head out in search of help. After hiking alone for hours, the first hiker was finally able to call for help. A search and rescue team found the second hiker several hours later, but they were not able to free him from the quicksand until late into the night. They had to spend the night out in the park until a helicopter crew was able to extract them the following day. Thankfully, both hikers recovered fully from their misadventure.

Cold Water Immersion

By Jessica Duke, MD

You are backcountry skiing with friends when you come to what appears to be an open field. You get about halfway across when you hear cracking underneath your skis. Suddenly, you drop into a frozen lake. The cold water is shocking. It feels like a thousand needles stabbing every inch of your body. You gasp for air and start to hyperventilate. You grab for the edge of the ice, but the weight of your pack and skis is making it nearly impossible to stay afloat. You are convinced that you are going to drown or die from hypothermia. What can you possibly do?

Hypothermia Assessment & Treatment in the Wilderness

By Jessica Duke, MD

With winter storms bringing cold, wind, and snow across much of the United States, let’s review some important points about hypothermia.


The Latest Avalanche Review

By Jessica Duke, MD

The winter backcountry season has officially begun. Before you head out to shred some gnar, it is essential to have an understanding of how people get injured in avalanche accidents and what you can do to help yourself or someone else caught in an avalanche.

Carbon Monoxide Toxicity in the Wilderness

By Jessica Duke, MD

Imagine you are working as medical staff at Everest Base Camp when you spot one of the climbers stumbling through camp. You approach the climber, introduce yourself, and ask him if he needs assistance. He tells you that he is looking for the bathroom, but also complains of a headache and feeling dizzy. You ask a few more questions and discover that the climber’s group just arrived to camp several hours ago. He and his wife were cold and tired so they cooked themselves an early dinner in their tent then went straight to bed. They did not drink alcohol and he did not have a headache before going to sleep. He woke up having to urinate so got up to use the bathroom. His wife is still asleep in the tent. You bring the climber to the medical tent where he is found to have an oxygen saturation of 86%, normal for someone at Everest Base Camp. After starting the climber on oxygen, you go check on his wife. You discover that her skin is flushed and that she is difficult to arouse. You note a kerosene lamp burning inside the tent and quickly pull her outside. What is causing these symptoms and what is the appropriate treatment?

Deadly Tsunamis

By Jessica Duke, MD

Tsunamis are one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. In the past 20 years alone, tsunamis have claimed over 250,000 lives. The majority of those deaths came in 2004 after a 9.1-magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered a tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people. On September 28, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia generated a towering 20-foot tsunami that washed over the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. This tsunami claimed nearly 2,000 lives and displaced another 70,000 people. Unfortunately, with climate change and global warming, the frequency and magnitude of these devastating events will undoubtedly increase.

Beat the Heat

By Jessica Duke, MD

As we enter the last month of summer, let’s review the spectrum of heat illnesses and how to beat the heat!

Ticks Do’s and Dont’s

By Jessica Duke, MD

Tick season is in full swing. For such tiny insects, ticks can transmit a lot of dangerous diseases, including Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia. Here are a few tick DO’s and DON’Ts to help you get through tick season safely:

Volcano Safety

By Jessica Duke, MD

On May 3rd, 2018, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted from new fissures in the lower East Rift Zone. While there have not been any deaths from this eruption, lava flows have destroyed over 70 homes and forced thousands of people to evacuate the area. In addition to the lava, volcanic gasses are continually being emitted from the fissure eruptions and ash has been intermittently spewing from the vent within Halema’uma’u Crater at Kilauea’s summit.

Cougar Safety

By Jessica Duke, MD

You and your friend are biking in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains when you notice a cougar stalking you on the trail. Though you raise your bikes and shout in attempt to scare it off, it charges right at you. You continue to stand your ground and even strike the mountain lion with your bike, finally sending it running off into the woods. You take a minute to catch your breath and as you begin to pedal off, the cougar returns and pounces on you. It violently shakes you back and forth and only releases its grasp on your head to chase down your fleeing friend. Badly bloodied, you manage to ride to a spot with cell phone service to call 911, but sadly, help arrives too late to save your friend.

May Flowers: Tips for Foraging Wild Edible Plants

By Jessica Duke, MD

Springtime is an exciting time for foragers. Sweet, garlicky ramps emerge in the woods along with violets, fiddleheads, dandelions, and other delicious wild edibles. Foraging is a great way to get outdoors and learn more about the wilderness. Here are a few tips to consider before venturing out on your own foraging adventure.


April Showers: Hygiene in the Wilderness

By Jessica Duke, MD

Wilderness hygiene isn’t just about getting rid of your stink – it’s crucial for your health and well-being, as well as that of your fellow hikers. Poor hygiene can lead to urinary tract infections, nasty rashes, GI illnesses, dental infections, and a number of other preventable diseases. It can be difficult to stay clean in the wilderness, but being dirty in the wilderness is a choice.  For the sake of your health (and those of us who have to smell you), here are a few hygiene tips to help you stay as healthy and fresh in the wilderness as possible:

Initial Wilderness Assessment: The “M” in MARCH

By Jessica Duke, MD

You are hiking in the backcountry with a friend when you come across someone being mauled by a bear. The two of you are able to scare the bear away and go to check on the moaning victim. You immediately note trauma to his face and brisk bleeding to his right leg. What do you tend to first?

Wildfire Prevention & Safety Tips

By Jessica Duke, MD

Wildfires are uncontrolled blazes fueled by weather, wind, and dry underbrush that quickly and unpredictably consume everything in their paths. There are about 100,000 wildfires in the United States every year. The Thomas fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history, scorched through Southern California from December 4, 2017 to January 12, 2018. The deadly fire burned 281,893 acres, destroyed 1,063 structures, and claimed 2 lives. 20 additional people were killed in mudslides as a result of heavy rainfalls over the charred lands and numerous others were affected by the poor air quality from the heavy smoke and ash. How can you help prevent this type of disaster from happening again, how can you be best prepared if a wildfire were to ignite near you, and what should you do if you are caught in the middle of one?