Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School

Making it real. Scenes from recent wilderness medical classes practicing skills.

Learn Practical Skills For The Outdoors!

Do you want to be prepared for a remote accident? Do you want to learn best practices? Are critical thinking and problem solving important to you? If you answered yes to any of the above, then sign up for this scenario based introduction to wilderness medicine.

  • Develop good assessment and scene leadership skills. Further your risk benefit and decision making skills. Understand real shock. Learn to safely move spine injured patients. Treat ugly wounds and broken bones with greater confidence. Administer epinephrine for severe airway constriction. Recognize situations you can manage alone and when you need to scream for help.
  • Each day is devoted to classroom interaction and outdoor practical skills. You should expect scenarios with made up victims and simulated wounds to occur continuously throughout the course. 


  • An intensive five-day 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 combines discussions, practical stations and real-life simulations. 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 and rope work. 
  • Three year certification through Wilderness Medical Associates International will be granted following successful completion of the course. 

Date & Location

June 27 – July 1

8:30am – 6:00pm


$600.00. Register now by calling (207) 866-7562 or click here. Space is limited, and registration ends June 13.


Jon Tierney. It Matters who teaches your course! Don’t let your instructor be the limiting factor for your learning.


Jon brings a unique blend of education delivery and field experience in outdoor leadership, mountain guiding, backcountry rescue and emergency medicine spanning over three decades. He is an IFMGA internationally licensed mountain guide who also is employed as a Flight Paramedic.

The course may be taken by anyone who would like to gain practical medical first aid skills. Intended for the person who frequently travels in the backcountry with friends or in small groups and who is seeking a basic level of competency in first aid.

*Students must be at least 16 years old to participate in this course. Those under 18 years of age require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

June 27 – July 1, 2020. Class will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. and may occasionally run over by 15 – 20 minutes. These days will be long and intense and you must plan time for evening study. Try to get a good rest and get personal matters out of the way before the course.

Due to the COVID outbreak the course has been moved from George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill to our base in Orono, ME. The exact location will be based on class numbers. Please meet at Alpenglow Adventure Sports at 92 Main St on Day 1. 

Importance of heat preservation
All smiles!
Extrication practice

Specific Info

General Info

EMS, Nurses, Physicians. Requires certification at or above the EMT level and builds upon the professional’s training and expertise to meet the special challenges of unconventional settings. Designed for those working in SAR, disaster response, remote posts, and on wilderness expeditions. No pre course work required.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) 5 day Intensive Pre-course Requirements: Unlike the standard 8 day WFR, The 5 day version the WFR course requires approximately 25 hours of pre-course study which includes familiarizing yourself with the information listed below and includes completing a fairly long and intensive Study Guide and a Pre-test.

  1. Read the Wilderness and Rescue Medicine: A Guide for the Basic and Advanced Practitioner (WARM) manual.  The book is available through Acadia Mountain Guides and provided upon registration.
  2. Create a Moodle account and register for your course via the link provided in the course confirmation email.
  3. Complete the online study guide and bring completed copy to class with you. 
  4. Complete WMA pre-test and receive at least a 70% on that test. Please complete at least one week prior to the course start date. Hint: Pay attention as several questions have multiple answers. Please be prepared as you can only log in and take the exam once! Access info is below.
  5. Indemnity Agreement, Photo Consent and Protocol Disclaimer – Please fill out online. You will be asked to fill out a set for course sponsor at the course as well.  
  6. Functional Position Description – Read over for familiarity
  7. Course Participation Standards – Read over for familiarity
  8. Student Handbook – Read over for familiarity
  9. Social Media – Read over for familiarity

WEMS Upgrade Pre-course Work Requirements:  The WEMS Upgrade is for existing EMS personnel (EMT, AEMT or Paramedic) seeking to upgrade and other healthcare providers such as nurses, PA’s and physicians to gain knowledge and practical skills in wilderness medicine. There are no pre-course study requirements for the WEMS Upgrade. Simply familiarize yourself with the information listed below on the wilderness medical associate’s website. Of course you are encouraged to review the course text. Access info is below.

    1. Indemnity Agreement, Photo Consent and Protocol Disclaimer – Please fill out online. You will be asked to fill out a set for course sponsor at the course as well.  
    2. Functional Position Description – Read over for familiarity
    3. Course Participation Standards – Read over for familiarity
    4. Student Handbook – Read over for familiarity
    5. Social Media – Read over for familiarity

Below is a sample curriculum for the 5 day WFR / WEMS Upgrade Class. We strive to make each class slightly different in structure to maintain presentation freshness. 

Day 1

0830-0900 .5 hr Introductions, Registration and Overview

0900-1000 1 hr General Concepts Overview CH 1 & 2

1000-1015 Break

1015-1100 .5 Scene Leadership / Backcountry ICS

1100-1200 .75 hr Patient Assessment, Demo / Practice, SOAPS, Radio Reports CH 3

1200-1300 Lunch

1300-1500 1.5 hr Lifting / Moving / Extrication FG pg 36-37

1500-1630 2.5 hrs PAS Drills – Circulatory System Overview  CH 4

1630-1645 Break

1645-1800 1.25 Large Group Scenario

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief

Homework Assignment Cases 1, 12, 19, 37, 38

Day 2

Case Studies

0830-0900 0.5 hr Quiz

0900-1045 1.75 hrs PAS Drills – Nervous System Overview, SOAPS, Radio Reports CH 6

1045-1100 Break

1000-1215 1.25 hrs Spinal Assessment CH 7

1215-1315 Lunch

1315-1445 1.5 hrs Spinal Management FG pg 45-46 & 81-82

1445-1500 Break

1500-1645 1.75 hrs Respiratory System Overview, SOAPS, Radio Reports CH 5

1645-1800 1.25 Large Group Scenario

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief – Case Studies

Additional Assignment Cases 4, 11, 14, 31

Day 3

0830-0900 0.5 hr Quiz

Case Studies

0900-1115 2.25 hrs BLS Skills – Supplemental O2, Airway Adjuncts, ALS 

1115-1130 Break

1130-1230 1.0 hr Lifts and Carries, Improvised Litters, Key Knots, Litter Carrying

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1430 1.0 hr Thermo-regulation (hyperthermia/hypothermia CH 16

1430-1545 1.25 hrs Anaphylaxis and Asthma  CH 9 & 10

1545-1600 Break

1600-1700 1.0 hr SAR Orientation (basic overview, LZ prep, personal prep) CH 41,42

1700-1800 1.0 hr Small Group scenarios

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief – Case Studies

Additional Assignment Cases 5, 17, 27, 29, 30

Day 4

0830-0900 0.5 hr Quiz

Case Studies

0900-1030 1.5 hrs Soft Tissue Injury / Wound CH 15

1030-1045 Break

1045-1230 1.75 hrs Musculoskeletal Injuries CH 13

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1430 1.0 hrs Dislocations / Review Musculoskeletal as needed FG pg 30 CH 14

1445-1500 Break

1445-1645 2.0 hrs Small Group scenarios

1645-1800 1.25 hrs Environmental Injury (frostbite, burns, lightning, near-drowning, altitude) CH 17,18,20,22

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief

Additional Assignment Cases 16, 20, 24, 40

Day 5

0830-0915 0.5 hr Quiz – Case Studies

0915-1000 .75 hr Toxins, Bites, Stings CH 23,24

1000-1015 Break

1015-1115 1.0 hrs Backcountry Medicine Rodeos – Round One (emphasis use of FG, simple problems: 

nose bleeds, corneal abrasion, abd pain) FG pg 66-75 CH 25-40

1115-1215 1.0 hrs Backcountry Medicine Rodeos ( 2 – 3 rounds) (GI/GU, dental, infections, altitude, toxin, 

stable inj., abdominal, Chest pain

1215-1230 Wrap Up

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1600 2.5 hrs Final Scenario 

1600-1630 0.5 hrs Review Summary

1630-1730 1.0 hr Final Written

1730-1800 0.5 hrs Course wrap

WMAI courses present nationally recognized curricula. The style of the course is the result of input from outdoor educators, medical experts, search and rescue personnel, EMS field providers and prior students. Certification through Wilderness Medical Associates International will be granted following successful completion of the course. 

  • General Concepts in Wilderness and Rescue Medicine
  • Patient Assessment System Critical Body Systems: BLS and CPR; Anaphylaxis and Asthma
  • Practical Skills: Lifting, Movement and Extrication; Spine Stabilization and Litter Packaging; Improvised Splinting and Litter Construction, Wound Cleaning and Exploration
  • Environmental Topics: Exposure Control; Bites and Stings; Altitude Illness; Cold Injuries; Diving Emergencies; Thermoregulation; Lightning; Near Drowning; Avalanche
  • Musculoskeletal Systems: Spine Injury Assessment; Musculoskeletal Injuries; Extremity Splinting; Dislocations
  • Backcountry Medicine: Routine management and prevention of some common medical problems encountered in the wilderness: sprains and strains, diarrhea, seasickness, minor wounds, urinary infections, dental problems, headaches, etc. 
  • Other: Medical Legal Issues; Soft Tissue Injury; Toxins; Search and Rescue; Emergency Childbirth; Medical Kits
  • Students will develop improved critical thinking and diagnostic/analytical skills enabling optimum decision-making
  • Student will have the skills, knowledge and abilities to provide emergency first aid for a wide array of injuries and conditions in a remote setting
  • Students will be able to clearly communicate diagnosis and treatment plan to victims, rescue workers and other expedition members.
  • A strong understanding of how to manage the site environment to avoid additional injury to the victim while keeping the site safe for other expedition participants.

Pre-course work is done via the Wilderness Medical Associates International Moodle on-line learning center. 

The following steps will guide you through creating an account and enrolling into your course.

Step 1: Click on the following link and create a new account: https://courses.wildmed.com/login/index.php

– You will need to confirm your new account via email

Step 2: While logged into your Moodle account, click on the following enrollment link and then click the Enroll Me button: 

Enrollment link for Wilderness First Responder on June 27th in Orono:

Note: In order for the Enrollment Key to auto-fill, you must be logged into Moodle before clicking on the link in Step 2.

Step 3:  Read and sign the pre-course release forms. Completing all three forms will unlock additional pre-course work, if applicable. Post course, you may complete a course evaluation under Course Files and generate a PDF copy of your WMA certification under Certificates.

  • 3 year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates International and Anaphylaxis, and BLS/Healthcare Provider-level CPR certification
  • Course Texts; SOAP Notes, Wilderness and Rescue Medicine, and The Wilderness Medical Associates Field Guide, Case Study Workbook, Lecture Notes.
  • Meals and lodging
  • Participants should bring old clothes and extra clothes for scenarios 
  • You will need a headlamp, a roll of Duct Tape and old throwaway shirts, socks and pants for simulations.
  • Transportation to / from local scenario sites
  • Instructor / Guide Gratuities

The course is from June 27 – July 1, 2020, starting at 8:30 am and ending at 6:00 pm.

Orono, ME is located just off of Interstate 95. If you are traveling on I-95, take exit 191 (Kelley Road). Go east on Kelley Road (right turn if coming from Bangor or left turn if coming from north). Go approximately 1 mile to a T intersection with red light. Turn left and go approximately 1 mile. Alpenglow Adventure Sports is at 92 Main St. – a large green house/building. If you pass the fire station, you have gone too far.

Lunch breaks will be provided with enough time to get into town. There are several restaurants and lunch meal options within a five minute walk that offer a selection of food including vegetarian and vegan options.

Limited backyard tenting is available. There are numerous accommodations in both Orono and Bangor (about 10 – 15 minute drive. The closest accommodation, within a ten minute easy walk, is the University Inn at 5 College Avenue Orono, Maine. 207 866 7120.

Enjoying the outdoors necessitates a certain degree of risk-taking and so does taking a wilderness medicine course. You are participating in this course at your own risk. You will be asked to lift other people, you will have make-up applied to your skin, you will be training in an outdoor environment that may be cold, hot, rocky, slippery, or wet. You will be participating in training exercises in outdoor areas that are remote and, as in all outdoor activities, are inherently dangerous and are often physically and emotionally demanding. You will be participating in emergency medical training scenarios with other students under circumstances where accidents, mistakes or other circumstances may result in injury to me. Please be sure that you are fully aware of such risks. .If you have a pre-existing condition that may impact your participation, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor so that accommodation can be made. It is our goal to interpret the environmental, situational and group variables and to make educated decisions to minimize dangers to you while at the same time providing an enjoyable and memorable experience.

It matters who teaches your course! All of the following courses are led 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 practicing flight paramedic and an internationally licensed IFMGA mountain guide. Jon has a highly developed blend of education and experience in outdoor leadership, mountain guiding, backcountry rescue and emergency medicine spanning over three decades. 

Jon is often assisted by a number of talented WMAI instructors as well that includes paramedics, ER/Critical Care and Flight nurses, and strong outdoor educators and guides. 

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.

A 50% deposit is required for registration. Balance due three weeks (21 days) before the beginning of program.

Registration closes June 13.

A minimum of ten (10) participants are needed to run this program and there is a maximum of twenty eight (28). The decision to run the program will be made three weeks prior to the start date. In the case of low registration, you will have the options of joining another program, receiving a refund or possibly paying an additional amount to allow the program to run with lower numbers.

Are you part of a college organization, ski club, summer camp, etc.? We are happy to schedule a customized course for organizations, small groups, and individuals. We offer courses in backcountry skiing, avalanche safety, rock and ice climbing, high altitude mountaineering trips, wilderness medicine and slope access / technical rescue. We can travel to you or you can come to us. Of course, if you would like to schedule a course or trip in Iceland, Colorado, or Japan, etc. we would be very pleased to work with you.


When you book a course with Acadia Mountain Guides you are agreeing to our cancellation policy. Please realize that if your travel does not go according to plan in any way and for any reason, we are unable to provide credits or refunds outside of what is described below. We strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect your activity purchase against unforeseeable circumstances which include but are not limited to: 

  • Anticipation of Inclement Weather
  • Flight and Travel Delays and Conditions
  • Personal or work schedule changes
  • Injury or Illness of self or family member

If you cancel more than 21 days in advance you may put the deposit toward a future course or receive a refund of 50% of your deposit. Cancellations made within twenty-one (21) days of program forfeit full tuition rate. Alternatively, if you find a replacement you will receive a 100% refund. A full refund will be given if Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School must cancel the course.

Practical: This will cover all practical skills and group scenarios. 

Workbook Assignments: With each reading assignment there may be a workbook assignment. Workbooks need to be brought to every class; they will be reviewed for completeness during the quiz or exam.

Homework, Reports and Team Projects: From time to time homework will be assigned in addition to the reading and workbook assignments. These may be collected and graded. There may be oral reports assigned that will need to be done at a couple different points during the class; these will also be graded. Teams in the class are sometimes assigned projects that will also be graded. Written material will be evaluated on content, professional appearance including spelling and grammar. 

Grading: Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments and written quizzes, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills and a grade of 80% or better on final written exam.

It is safe to say that this class will be different from many classes you have taken. You are being prepared for entry into a profession and this is the critical time to instill the core values of wilderness leadership and EMS organization: teamwork, professionalism, and integrity. You will often operate independently caring for patients for minutes to days until advanced further help can arrive, For this reason we have to get the absolute most we can out of every second of that training which means keeping the class engaged and active from minute one. You will be involved from minute one, there will be discussions, team activities, oral reports, scenario based learning, video-taped scenario based learning, simulations made as real as possible and an intense level of practice, evaluation and follow up practice. You should expect to be outside regardless of the weather.  You will be working on your hands and knees (in the mud and snow) and carrying loaded litters over rough terrain and through brush. For your own personal safety and comfort, please come to class prepared to go outside on a moment’s notice. Please bring your notebook along with a way to use it, (yes, even in the rain or snow) for each class.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU ARE PREPARED WHEN YOU COME TO CLASS. Do not plan on leaving at exactly the stated end time everyday, some exercises may take us over by 30 – 60 minutes. Plan to be there later and on the days you can leave on time you will be pleasantly surprised. Come to class prepared to work both physically and mentally. 

Make sure you have had adequate sleep and it would be best not to work all night the night before class. Hangovers are another bad idea. Be prepared to be outside in all weather; let me stress, be prepared to be outside in all weather. 

We will be practicing our skill scenarios in real conditions that may mean outside in the pouring rain, the snow, the mud or other unpleasant conditions. Dress warmly in layers and bring a change of clothes for scenarios is a good idea. 

BRING OLD CLOTHES TO CLASS TO WEAR FOR SCENARIOS. At times you will be playing a patient. Some of the make up we use stains clothing and some scenarios will force you to lay in snow, slush and mud. Clothing may get cut up. 

If you have any physical limitations that keep you from performing this type of scenario let your instructor know in advance. 

To prepare academically for class you should do the following: read the assigned chapters to be covered in that class in advance, pay special attention to the key points that are mentioned in class. Prepare a list of questions for discussion of points that are not quite clear to you for class. After class re-read the assigned chapters, do the workbook, study any hand-outs, returned assignments or homework. 


The course provides 45 hours of CEH credit for National Registered EMS personnel and Maine licensed individuals.

Any outdoor gear you may want can be purchased ahead of the course from our gear store – Alpenglow Adventure Sports – where you get a 25% off purchases made within 7 days before or after the course and a 15% discount off MSRP for life!!!  Purchases may be made in-store or online. Gear purchased in advance of course can often be brought to you on the course. 

Again, All of our clients receive a LIFETIME 15% DISCOUNT on all outdoor gear and clothing purchases through Alpenglow Adventure Sports in Bar Harbor and Orono, or online. Upon registration you will be provided a discount code.

A History of
Leading the way…

Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School is the preeminent frontrunner in climbing instruction and guiding in Acadia and across Maine. Since 1994 we have specialized in designing customized experiences or training for you, your family, your group or company.

Jon Tierney
Owner and IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide
IFMGA Licensed International Mountain Guide | AMGA Certified Rock Guide | AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide | AMGA Certified Alpine Guide | Flight Paramedic | B.S. Parks and Forest Recreation


• Since 1994 •

AMGCS is one of 32 AMGA accredited programs in the US and was one of the earliest to pursue and achieve accreditation. AMGCS is the only climbing school in Maine to remain continuously AMGA accredited. We have had one or more full time AMGA rock guides on staff each year since 1994.

Owned by internationally recognized IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide Jon Tierney who has been climbing in Acadia since 1982. Jon has over 30 years of local and worldwide experience. The IFMGA requires full AMGA certification as a rock, alpine and ski mountaineering guide.

All instructors are certified as AMGA or PCIA Single Pitch Instructors and all guides have been trained or certified by the AMGA.

PCIA Accredited

• Since 2007 •

AMGCS has the distinction of also being accredited to the highest standards of the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. The PCIA requires all staff to be individually trained and certified.

Save 15% on
All Gear and Clothing

Become a client of Acadia Mountain Guides and receive a permanent 15% off MSRP on purchases in our stores or at AlpenglowGear.com.

Your Source for Adventure!

Gear Rental Program

AMGCS also rents outdoor equipment for your convenience. All clients receive 25% off rental equipment for use on our courses.
See what we have.