Wilderness First Aid Certification

At select locations we offer Wilderness First Aid (WFA) courses, in partnership with the University of New Mexico International Mountain Medicine Center (IMMC) and Department of Emergency Medicine.

Course structure

The course includes:

  • 8 hours of online learning, which you will complete beforehand; and,
  • 8 hours of practical skill work, which you will complete with us.

The in-person field component will be made available in two ways:

  1. As a standalone day of instruction, the day before or day after your trip; and,
  2. Integrated into a 7-day Adventure trip, whereby the medical curriculum will be added to our standard backcountry field curriculum.


Upon completion of this course, students will receive either a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification issued by the UNM International Mountain Medicine Center, valid for 2 years.

If students have a current Wilderness First Responder certification (WFR), UNM will recertify their certification, valid for 2 years. The certification must be current and can be from any wilderness medicine company. Students eligible for WFR re-certification will have some additional material added to their online preparation. You may want to familiarize yourself with re-certification requirements of various organizations (e.g. NOLS) to ensure that your next re-certifications will not be adversely affected.

Who should take this course?

The WFA course is prudent training for individuals (and informal trip leaders) who spend time in wilderness where delayed access to care, challenging environmental conditions, sub-optimal medical equipment, limited communications, and independent decision-making are the norm. Students will gain applicable medical knowledge and a framework for managing medical issues in the field.


  1. To understand the theory and application of wilderness medicine.
  2. To gain a working knowledge of various mountain medicine problems.
  3. To recognize signs and symptoms of various injuries and diseases and their
  4. To develop the ability to make decisions, under duress, during an emergency
    in a remote location.
  5. To successfully perform the skills needed at Wilderness First Aid level in an
    austere environment.
  6. To develop a basic clinical assessment and medical reasoning skills.


If you are on a 2023 guided trip, go here for prices.

If you are not on a 2023 guided trip, the price is $295.

How to sign up

For current course availability, refer to the 2023 trip schedule.

If you ARE applying for a guided trip, in the Application Form indicate your interest (First Choice, Second Choice) in the standalone dates and/or the integrated 7-day Adventure trips.

If you are NOT applying for a guided trip, register and pay here.

Online lectures (8 hours)

  • Patient Assessment
  • Ortho Injuries
  • Wound Care
  • Head Trauma
  • Heat Illness
  • Lightning
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Altitude Illness

In-person skill sessions (8 hours)

  • Patient Assessment Review
  • Basic Airway Management
  • Bleeding Control & Shock
  • Splinting & Spinal Cord Protection
  • Bites & Stings (applicable to local area, snakebites, etc.)
  • Hypothermia
  • Patient Packaging & Movement
  • Rescue & Patient Care Scenarios
  • Additional Topics Tailored to Group Needs
  • Course Wrap-Up

About the International Mountain Medicine Center

The International Mountain Medicine Center (IMMC) at the University of New Mexico is one of the premier programs for mountain emergency medicine and rescue in the world. Our faculty consists of mountain rescue paramedics, emergency medicine physicians, and mountain guides. We focus our teachings on internationally accepted and evidence based concepts, and strive to contribute to the general knowledge base of our field through research, education, and our own mountain rescue practice in New Mexico. Our internationally recognized courses equip health professionals with the knowledge and skills to adapt their medical practices to the mountains. 


In Utah and Washington, the instructors will be:

  • Steve McLaughlin, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer at the University of New Mexico Hospital and the former Chair of its Emergency Medicine Department. He is also a four-time alumnus of our program.
  • Emily Wheelis, MD, is a faculty member in Emergency Medicine at UNM. She is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine, has completed a Fellowship in Wilderness and Austere Medicine and holds a Diploma in Mountain Medicine.

Steve will only be instructing the standalone course. Emily will be a guide on the integrated 7-day courses.


  • Check-in is between 7:30 am and 7:45 am
  • The course runs from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with an hour-long break for lunch at noon
  • Bring a lunch, or plan to purchase food at one of several local establishments.

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil or pen
  • Outdoor work gloves (gardening, leather, or canvas)
  • Personal bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Watch with a second hand or digital second
  • Sunglasses and/or protective eyewear
  • Water bottle
  • Light hiking boots or sturdy shoes 
  • Clothing layers that allow you to be comfortable in a variety of weather conditions, including a hat

About the course in southern Utah

Travel and scheduling

Refer to this page for lodging/camping, restaurant, and grocery options in Escalante.

If you are on an Adventure 1 trip:

  • Overnight in or near town on April 21. Your trip will finish between 10am-noon. 
  • Depart Escalante after the WFA course. It may be possible to catch a late flight, but more likely you will have to overnight near the airport.

If you are on an Adventure 2 trip:

  • Arrive in the Escalante area anytime on Friday, April 21. Spend the night.
  • Overnight in Escalante on Saturday, April 22.
  • Start your Adventure 2 trip on Sunday, April 23.


  • Escalante City Park (Lion’s Park) – W 100th St. North, Escalante UT
  • Park on the gravel between the road and lawn
  • Meet at the picnic pavilion. You will see us.

About the course in Washington

Travel and scheduling

Refer to this page for lodging/camping, restaurant, and grocery options in Port Angeles.

If you are on an Adventure 1 trip:

  • Overnight in or near town on September 9. Your trip will finish between 10am-noon. 
  • Depart after the WFA course. It should be possible to catch a late flight out of Seattle.

If you are on an Adventure 2 trip:

  • Arrive in town or the general area anytime on Saturday, September 9. Spend the night.
  • Overnight on Sunday, September 10.
  • Start your Adventure 2 trip on Monday, September 11.


  • Dungeness Recreation Area – 554 Voice of America West Road, Sequim, WA 98382
  • Training will be held at the Group Site. Meet at the covered picnic pavillion.
  • No entrance fee for the park.
  • We have the site reserved the night of September 9. A limited number of people may camp there for free on Saturday night before the Sunday training. Contact us if you’re interested.