Have you ever been in an accident or suffered an injury while out climbing? Or have you ever witnessed an accident or injury at the crag or in the backcountry?
Those scenarios can be traumatizing and often elicit a lot of panic. That is why we are going to spend an entire blog post talking about the benefits and importance of obtaining wilderness medicine training whether it is the basics of wilderness first aid or more in-depth training, such as taking a wilderness first responder course.
What is a WFR & WFA?
First, we wanted to start by defining what a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is and highlight the difference between a WFR course and a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course. A certified wilderness first responder is an individual who obtains a standard level of medical training for remote locations. Responders are trained in patient assessment, equipped with treatment tools to stabilize various conditions, and provide extended care in remote environments (Definition from DMM). A WFA covers some, but not all, of the same topics and not as in-depth. A WFA Course is often 2-3 days long (16 hours), whereas a WFR Course is 7-9 days long (80 hours).
Why Take a WFR or WFA Course?
When you go out for a day of climbing, how often do you plan for your day? Whether it’s a day at a new crag or a bigger backcountry objective. Most of you probably (hopefully) have an idea of what routes you want to hop on or have read some beta on the approach. We call this trip prep. Preparing for a trip is an important facet of risk management whether you think about that in your planning or not. Taking a WFR or WFA course is a form of risk management. By doing so you are equipping yourself with the tools that are at the least nice to have and at most lifesaving.
We love The Sharp End Podcast. For those of you unfamiliar with the podcast, it is a resource that analyzes individual’s accidents in the mountains and concludes with take-aways to learn from. One of the common questions you’ll hear the host ask is if the individual’s involved in the accident have ever received any kind of wilderness medicine training. When the answer is no, more times than not, the response is that the victims wish they did.
Additional Resources: Satellite Devices