Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School

Wilderness Medicine

It matters who teaches your course! All of the following courses are instructed by school owner Jon Tierney. Jon is one of the nation’s most experienced wilderness medicine instructors with over 1500 teaching days and tons of real-life mountain rescue experience. He is a flight paramedic and an internationally licensed IFMGA mountain guide. Visit Jon’s bio for more info. If you can’t take one of our courses there are several other highly experienced WMAI instructors to choose from. Among the many wilderness medicine providers, we believe that WMAI has the highest standards for both becoming and maintaining instructor status and WMAI is the company we feel most comfortable recommending to clients.


Wilderness First Aid (WFA)

This program is designed for the person who travels frequently in the backcountry with friends or in small groups and who is seeking a basic level of competency in first aid.. It is a short introduction to the broad concepts of rendering care in a remote setting. The course includes adult CPR and training in the use of epinephrine for allergic reactions. You can expect the course to be intensive and to cover the most important aspects of wilderness medicine such as leadership, patient assessment and basic care. The course will be very experiential with lots of opportunity to practice in real-life simulations. Certified through Wilderness Medical Associates International – the world leader in wilderness medical training. Students must be 16 years of age to participate in this course.

Length: 16 hours
Prereqs: none, 16 and 17 year-old students may enroll with written parental consent.
Cert: 3 years
Host a program: Contact

Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

Created to provide outdoor leaders with the core knowledge and skills necessary to deal with medical and traumatic emergencies in remote settings. The Wilderness First Responder course is the most useful first aid course for outdoor leaders and travelers and is the expected standard for trip leaders and guides by the outdoor industry. This Wilderness Medical Associates International WFR course meets or exceeds all requirements of other similarly named courses and certification is valid for three years. Topics include patient assessment, difficult extrication and patient movement, basic search and rescue, allergies (includes anaphylaxis certification), toxins, burns, wound care, fractures and dislocation management including reductions of certain injuries, shock recognition and care, spinal assessment and management, brain/head injuries, respiratory distress, heat and cold injuries, Healthcare Provider equivalent CPR, legal issues and treatment of common backcountry ailments such as lost fillings, fish hook removal, fever, etc. This course places great emphasis of critical thinking, scene leadership and ideal to real decision making.

Length: Available as 5 day intensive course with pre-course study or 7-8 day standard course.
Prereqs: none, 16 and 17 year-old students may enroll with written parental consent.
Cert: 3 years through Wilderness Medical Associates International

Wilderness Emergency Medical Service Upgrade (WEMS Upgrade)

Training for medical personnel who would like to enhance their skills and experience for use in the rural, wilderness, and technical rescue setting.  This 45 hour course is popular with all levels of medical professionals but primarily geared toward pre-hospital EMS providers. Like other WMA International training, it represents the best application of the available science balanced by considerable clinical experience and the reality of providing medical care in difficult and dangerous places.

It is an intensive course covering a wide spectrum of emergency care topics relative to wilderness medicine and caring for injuries and illnesses over prolonged periods of time. The course is a combination of discussions, practical stations and real-life simulations. This wilderness EMT course introduces wilderness protocols that are approved by several federal and state EMS agencies. Topics include assessment and management of traumatic injuries such as fractures, burns and wounds; circulatory, nervous, and respiratory system problems; common injuries such as blisters, sprains and strains; medical problems such as anaphylaxis, toxins, altitude, hypothermia, hyperthermia, and infections; and use of improvised materials in remote situations. The course includes information on personal outdoor preparedness, accident management and prevention and introduces you to simple evacuation techniques. The course is concept based and offers a critical thinking approach vs protocol approach to emergency care practices. It is intended for people who may provide care in remote environments such as outdoor trip leaders, guides, search and rescue units, disaster response teams, rural ambulance squads, and backcountry rangers. Certification is through Wilderness Medical Associates International.

 Length: 45 hours course
Prereqs: Certification as an EMT, AEMT or Paramedic. Nurses, advanced practitioners and physicians also frequently take and benefit from WEMS or WFR courses.
Cert: 3 years