Wilderness First Responder

Wilderness First Responder

Basic Wilderness Life Support (BWLS) is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course designed to provide an individual with an in-depth knowledge of wilderness medicine and the basic skills to treat the most common injuries and illnesses encountered in the wilderness.

The WFR course is a requirement for all guides to be certified by the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA). Our weeklong wilderness first responder course exceeds this requirement with an additional 20 hours of training and is accredited by the University of Utah School of Medicine. As with everything we do, all scenarios and extra sessions are focused on climbing and mountaineering.

View WFR Website

Currently Scheduled Classes:

Contact us! We specialize is private WFR and WFR recertification courses for guide services!

WFR and WFR-R for Guide Services:

While we do offer WFR courses for the general public, the majority of our WFR and WFR recertification courses are private courses conducted with guiding services. Beyond the traditional curriculum, we design and conduct each private course with the needs of the client in mind. We work with guide services to identify training needs and tailor our rescue and medical scenarios to the terrain where the services operate. 

In addition to the WFR curriculum, VMR also conducts a site survey using accident data provided by the guide service, from our own research, and from the AAC's Accidents in North American Climbing database, to ensure that we cover the illnesses and injuries most common to the crag or mountain chain. While on site, VMR instructors will also conduct a review of the evacuation and first aid protocols developed by a guide service to identify and gaps in coverage or care. 

Medical Guide Seth Hawkins discussing the use of epinephrine in anaphylaxis to paramedics during a customized course.

What some of our clients say about our work:

The staff at Vertical Medicine Resources was outstanding throughout their work for Asia Outdoors. From our initial conversations, through their on-site climbing medicine training of our Western and Vietnamese guides, to their follow up assistance and recommendations for our first aid and evacuation procedures, we here at Asia Outdoors could not be more pleased. They were prompt with communications, flexible in training dates, and considerate of our staff's language and skill levels as we are a multi-national organization. Their efforts have made a huge difference in our staff's preparedness for emergencies and helped us insure a safe experience for our clients. Their focus on our location and client specific needs was exactly what we needed. I would recommend Vertical Medicine Resources to any guiding service looking to better prepare their staff for emergencies and to enhance their medical training with a specific focus on the terrain and location where they are based. We have added a great deal of their detailed initiatives to our induction and training manuals and this is certainly an ongoing value added benefit of the on-site training. In addition, Asia Outdoors and Vertical Medicine Resources have kept in touch well after the on-site training. The on-going assistance and suggestions have been very useful in the refinement of current programs as well as the development of new excursions. It has been an all around wonderful experience working with the team at Vertical Medicine Resources, both on a personal and professional level.

Onslo Carrington
Asia Outdoors (formerly Slo Pony Adventures)

WFR Re-Certification that Vertical Medicine Resources (VMR) offered the weekend of 2/21-2/23 was one of the best medical training courses I've taken over the past 20 years. The concept was to focus the course on the types of injuries and illnesses a climbing guide would likely respond to. VMR chose to emphasize wound management, fractures, dislocations and c-spine among many topics, which are the exact things we have encountered in our rescues at Seneca Rocks. Particular attention to c-spine issues was super helpful as this is not normally an easy decision. Working with other course participants who had the same level of knowledge was also a big plus, as well as being taught by climbers who have first hand knowledge of real life climbing accidents and wilderness experience.

Diane Kearns
Seneca Rocks Climbing School (SRCS)

Wilderness First Responder Curriculum:

Vertical Medicine Resources is licensed to provide the AdventureMed Wilderness First Responder Course (WFR/BWLS). This WFR course is accredited by the University of Utah School of Medicine (74 hours) and exceeds the NOLS WFR equivalent. The program is designed to provide the student with an in-depth knowledge of wilderness medicine and the basic skills to treat the most common injuries and illnesses encountered in the wilderness. This program is appropriate for professional guides and other non-medical persons who want a deeper understanding of wilderness medicine. We specifically design our WFR-R with a focus on accidents and injuries that commonly occur to climbers and mountaineers.

VMR Cancellation Policy: Unexpected things happen at home just as they do on a climbing trip or expedition. We understand this and have developed our cancellation policy with that in mind. Students withdrawing from classes will receive a full refund, minus a 10% processing fee up to 30 days prior to the start of the course. Within 30 days of the course we offer credit towards future training (within 24 months of original class date).