The course has been developed for medical professionals, expedition and wilderness medics working in cold and at altitude environments. The Polar Medicine course aims to use the winter evenings to cover the essential expedition medical skills required to care for and treat injuries and illnesses likely to occur in this harsh environment, whilst the days are spent in the field.
The Polar Medicine tutors will develop the skills of the participants through practical sessions and hands-on experience, rescuing and treating cold-water immersion, frostbite, altitude related illnesses and hypothermia: all managed whilst in the field, rather than the comfort of a lecture theatre. The polar days will be used to experience and develop winter survival skills such as building emergency shelters; navigation; firelighting; digging snow holes and avalanche awareness; as well as mastering the different techniques required to travel in the Arctic - dog sledding, skiing, snow mobiling, and snow shoeing, without which a successful medical response is obsolete.
Polar Course - Faculty
Our faculty can call on the knowledge of polar medicine experiences from some of the most remote locations in the world and have the skills of ex-Norwegian and British Special Forces and Royal Marine instructors with over 50 polar seasons between them. There is no better way to prepare yourself for the rigours of wilderness medicine, and no better place than one of Europe's last great wildernesses.
If you have ever considered working on a winter, polar, or high altitude expedition, a ski patrol, or simply having the experience of a lifetime, then this course is for you.
Polar Medicine Course - What To Expect
This is a highly practical course that will introduce you to the polar environment and prepare you for expedition medical work in Arctic and Antarctic regions. You will experience firsthand the challenges and some of the solutions to travel (by ski, dog sled and snow mobile), living and providing medical support in the cold. We teach through a combination of small group or classroom work and practical activity, with a significant emphasis on experiential learning.
Whilst you do not need to be an elite athlete, an adequate level of physical fitness will ensure you get as much out of the course as possible. As a guide, you should be able to walk at least 20km carrying a 15kg pack without assistance, and repeat this on more than two successive days in one week. The terrain we will encounter is highly variable; you will be expected to spend a full day on cross country skis which are very different to downhill skiing. All abilities from complete beginner to more advanced skiers can have a challenging and enjoyable day – we do find it is a great leveller.
Other days will be spent on a snow mobile or dog sled which can involve running uphill behind the sled, pushing at times and can be relatively physical work. Plus there is the challenge of digging out a bogged snow machine.
We are unable to influence the weather. It is a cold environment and we do spend 2 nights out either camping or in snow holes. It is possible that there will be snow for many hours on some days of the course. Familiarising yourself with a cold climate is one of the princial objectives of this course: students who are able to tolerate a degree of physical discomfort whilst maintaining a sense of humour and enthusiasm will get the most from the week.
The price includes accommodation, meals, course manual and rental of ski equipment and all course activities.
The only additional costs are for your flights, items of a personal nature and travel insurance. You can purchase travel insurance for our courses through Campbell Irivine Ltd. You can buy your flights from any reputable travel agent (there are only a few flights a day into Alta and the group will meet 17.50 flight): www.kayak.co.uk is a good place to start.