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Mountain Rescue

Testimonials from our alumni

  • "I completed a 2-day backcountry rescue course collaboratively taught by Mountain Med and Kootenay Backcountry Guides. Jill’s medical knowledge, coupled with her backcountry experience skills, makes her an excellent instructor to gain skills in wilderness medical emergencies. The real-life situation scenarios specifically designed for backcountry touring and remote environments ensured you gain comprehensive skills, tools, and resources to prepare you to respond to emergencies in the backcountry. There were significant opportunities for hands-on learning, which made for a practical learning experience. I would recommend taking a course with Jill."

  • "One of the best first aid courses I've taken. I thought Jill was an awesome instructor, very accommodating of different learning types, and taught the material very clearly. She engaged everyone in the class and made sure everyone had an opportunity to be equally as hands-on, which is crucial for learning skills in first aid response. Would for sure recommend her courses."

  • "Excellent WAFA course with Jill. This should be mandatory learning for anyone spending time in the backcountry. Jill is a great teacher and communicates the important concepts of wilderness medicine very well."

Course Overview:

A significant challenge of avalanche rescue is dealing with the issues that arise after the victims are extracted. Physical trauma, hypothermia, and how and where to get help are some challenges you may face. AST courses and traditional companion rescue courses teach you how to find and extract someone from under the snow. However, they rarely go in-depth with teaching you how to deal with injuries and the prospect of spending a night out in the field.

In collaboration with Mountain Med Consulting, we have created a comprehensive 40-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid course combined with essential backcountry rescue techniques. This course goes beyond traditional first aid, addressing the critical challenges you may face during a backcountry emergency. Emphasizing the aftermath of any backcountry incident. We cover first aid skills and techniques that can be used year round to ensure you are fully prepared for any emergency, any time of the year. 

Course Highlights:

  • Wilderness Advanced First Aid Certification: 40 hours of intensive instruction.
  • CPR Certification: Included.
  • Backcountry Rescue Skills: A full day with an ACMG Guiding practicing rescue and shelter in place strategies as well as practical training in real-life scenarios.

Why This Course?

While traditional avalanche courses focus on finding and extracting victims, our course teaches you how to handle injuries, communications and the possibility of overnight survival. This training is essential for anyone serious about backcountry safety and rescue.

Course participants will leave with a 40 hour advanced Wilderness First Aid Certificate that can be used as part of a bridging course to a full 80 hour first aid certificate. 

What You Will Learn:

Medical Skills: 

Thermoregulation, hypowraps, cold injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, deadly bleeds, respiratory emergencies, anaphylaxis, spinal clearing protocol. 

Rescue Techniques:

  • Communicating with SAR teams 
  • Using improvised rescue systems
  • Transporting injured individuals over snow and land.

Practical Skills:

  • Sheltering in place
  • Managing hypothermia
  • When and how to build fires

Course Format:

  • Hybrid Learning: 20+ hours of interactive online learning combined with 18-20 hours of in-person instruction over 2+ days. 
  • In-Person Training:  Lectures, discussions, patient assessment drills, simulations, and skills labs. 


  • Wilderness Advanced First Aid Certification
  • Adult CPR Certification (Based on ILCOR/AHA standards)
  • Certifications are valid for three years. Graduates may re-certify by taking another WAFA course or upgrading taking a 4 day bridge to their Wilderness First Responder (80hr).

Approved and Recognized By:

  • Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE)
  • Canadian Association of Wilderness Medicine

Course Schedule

  • Day 1

    A full day of First Aid Training with Mountain Med Consulting.

  • Day 2

    A second full day of First Aid Training with Mountain Med Consulting

  • Day 3

    A full field day with Kootenay Backcountry Guides in the backcountry, practicing survival and rescue skills.

Dates & Costs:

Courses may be held at either Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry. We may use the ski lifts to access the backcountry for courses hosted in the Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry. If you are not a season pass holder, single-ride tickets must be purchased on the day of your tour.

Join our waitlist!

Last-minute cancelations happen all the time. If the dates you were hoping to join are sold out fill out the waitlist and be notified when spots become available. 

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