Mountain Medicine CPD And More...



Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Aug 10, 2020

Thanks to Covid-19 chances to pick up mountain medicine CPD in recent months have been limited. However there are one or two opportunities that are now starting to appear. The Cardiff Wilderness and Expedition Medical Society are organising an Online Wilderness Medical Conference on the 5th and 6th September. Further information can be found here. Thanks to an incredibly diverse programme it's likely to appeal to many of those who have an interest in mountain medicine.

In the meantime, if you're looking for other sources of CPD it's worth checking out the Alpine Club's You Tube Library. ClubCast 7 consists of 3 mountain medicine talks curated by David Hillebrandt. Updates by Chris Imray (frostbite), Paul Richards (traveller's diarrhoea) and myself (diagnosing AMS) are well worth a look. Meanwhile, recent talks by Sandy Allan (Nanga Parbat's Mazeno Ridge) and Rab Carrinton (winter ascent of the Terray Rebuffat's route on the Aiguille de Pelerins) are also highly recommend. 


CPD can come from a range of different sources. Here's a reading of Linda Rodriguez McRobbie's "The Man In The Iron Lung" that was published earlier this year in The Guardian. This brilliant essay tells the story of Paul Alexander who was diagnosed with polio at the age of 6. Now 74, he is one of only a handful of people who still use an iron lung. The text of the essay can be found here


Since 2016, Wilderness and Environmental Medicine have been producing a series of very good podcasts that review the literature published in their journal. In the most recent episode there is a fascinating discussion on pain coping strategies amongst ultra marathon runners and a review of the WMS's 2019 hypothermia clinical practice guidelines. The podcasts can be found at WEM Live! Also from the USA, the team behind Alpinist have assembled a fascinating series of recorded interviews with climbers and mountaineers that are well worth a look. Try Conrad Anker's moving description of his evacuation off Lunag Ri (6907m)* or Margo Talbot's vivid account of how she used ice climbing to help battle addiction and mental illness. Alpinist has also developed a very good website that often features some of the best writing published in their magazine. Thirteen Feet Under by Jayme Moye is an award winning article that charts an avalanche burial and the long term impact it had upon its victim. A brilliant source of CPD!

Closer to home, there are a number of posts on this blog that might provide some useful CPD. The impact of pre-acclimatisation is explored in How To Set An Everest Speed Record and Everest In A Fortnight, the management of frostbite in BMC Frostbite Advisory Service and what lies behind the decisions of climbers in Motives In The Mountains (Part 1) and Motives In The Mountains (Part 2). Each post contains a number of references that are well worth seeking out. Let me know if you have any difficulties getting hold of them. Why not write a short reflective piece and post it on the blog? Without doubt these are often some of the best bits - read this response by Dave Hillebrandt if you don't believe me! There's also lots to be found in our Isolation series. Whether you're wanting CPD or are simply looking for ways to cope with the fallout from Covid-19 there’s a good chance of finding something there!


The potential for drug misuse in the mountain environment shouldn't be underestimated. A comprehensive review by the UIAA medical commission can be found here. Why not read it alongside one or two other sources? Try Bloodsport, a 10 part series on BBC radio that tells the story of systematic doping by Russia during the 2012 and 2014 Olympics. Or, Tyler Hamilton's The Secret Race, a breathtaking first-hand account of drug taking in professional cycling


Over the next couple of months we'll be posting a lot more CPD on the blog. So whether you're interested in the complications of hypothermic cardiac arrest, the impact of a new typhoid conjugate vaccine in Nepal or the effect of climate change upon Mt Blanc's "Death Couloir" please keep checking the blog. More details to follow!

Finally, it's worth saying that we're just in the process of putting together the 2021 Hathersage Mountain Medicine Festival. Keep the 7th and 8th June free. Covid-19 willing - it promises to be a fascinating couple of days!


*The film, "Lunag Ri - David Lama And Conrad Anker Walk The Line" can be viewed here.

If you'd like to write for the blog please get in touch!


3 thoughts on “Mountain Medicine CPD And More...

Robyn commented 3 months, 2 weeks ago
On the drug use note - this is an interesting topic and one I've discussed at length with some of my wilderness med friends. My personal opinion is that if a climber decides to use drugs to achieve a goal they should be willing to declare that use in the same way one would declare the techniques used for a particular climb, or would declare oxygen use on an 8000er. Of course, where do you then draw the line. Should everyone have to declare acetazolomide use? Paracetamol? Ibuprofen? The context of the discussion was around carrying stimulants for a long 24+ hour push as an "in case"....I know especially in decades past in the high mountains (and probably still now) this was common. Another film to add to the list of interesting films about doping is "Icarus". Thoroughly enjoyed it!
Robyn commented 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Just read 13 feet under, thanks I hadn't seen that one before. I know the area well, having hiked there in the summer and cross country skied there (and got engaged there!) last winter. I'm trying to remember the name of the article written about an avalanche in norway where a father and daughter were out and she was buried for hours. It was an incredibly well written article - any chance you have a link for it?
Dave Gregory commented 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Looks great, leave booked for June!

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