Surviving the Death Zone - Thanks and Highlights

Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Jun 18, 2018

3 days … 44 moderators and speakers … over 120 attendees … Wow!!!

Here's a comment from one of our attendees that sums things up...

“It’s difficult to put into words the passion of these people and their commitment to the cause. It ended all too soon, my mind blown away with an information overload. A thoroughly interesting, in-depth and informative few days…”     

The 2018 Mountain Medicine Advanced Course finished on Wednesday and now that a few days have passed I’m finally able to think straight! On behalf of the organizers I would like to say a big “Thank You” to everyone who was involved. The list of thanks is a long one, but without the help of organizations such as the British Mountain Medicine Society, David Mellor Design, Faculty of Pre Hospital Care (RCS Edinburgh), Hathersage Parish Council, Hathersage Pool Café, Hathersage Scouts, Outside and Rab this event would not have been possible. But most of all, I would like to thank the speakers, moderators and audience members who trusted us with their time and demonstrated fantastic levels of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm throughout the three days.

Feedback is coming in all the time and we’ll post it on the blog over the next couple of weeks. Over the next couple of posts I’ll post some of my highlights. Here are the first 5. It was very hard to choose - feel free to send me yours!

Adele Pennington in full flow!

1 – Adele Pennington – As one of the UK’s leading mountaineers and guides, Adele has enormous experience of the “Death Zone”. Her talks and workshops were inspirational and led one member of the audience to write,

“Brilliant talk, delivered well, serious educational message dressed up as a travelogue. Like so much of mountain medicine, the issues of team work, motivation, crisis management, “situational awareness” and planning are completely applicable to my clinical practice…”

I totally agree!

Tom’s photo of his audience!

2 – Neil and Tom Sambridge – What can I say? Our youngest speaker stole the show! At the tender age of 11, Tom provided the grown up’s with a very clear and insightful account of the mountain adventures he’s shared with his Dad. Often light hearted, this talk was balanced by Neil who was able to offer a sober assessment of their time together as well as some useful practical advice for anyone planning to take their children into the mountains.

Jim Duff with the PAC.

3 – Jim Duff – On Wednesday afternoon the “Surviving The Death Zone” audience were split up into groups and rotated through a series of different workshops. All were excellent  - thanks to Ted Atkins, Andy Cave, Andy Clark, David Hillebrandt and Adele Pennington for a fantastic end to a great day. But it’s worth mentioning one workshop that really stood out. Jim Duff, the designer of the Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) was on hand to give a “masterclass” on its use. Jim’s experience in the Himalayas really shone through and he was able to share a wealth of tips on this incredible life saving piece of equipment.

Bill Tilman

4 – Bob Comlay – Bob was our guest speaker at Outside on Monday night. I had seen Bob speak in 2017 at the Sheffield Adventure Book Festival and knew straight away that he’d be the right person for the job! Bob has an extraordinary story to tell and members of the audience were captivated right from the off. As a young man, Bob crewed for the legendary explorer H.W “Bill” Tilman and in recent years he’s put together a fascinating biographical presentation that draws heavily from first hand experience. A real highlight of the course!

The collected works of H.W. Tilman are now available from

5 - Films – As you might be aware, I’m a great believer in “mixing things up” - talks, debates and quizzes are all very good, but sometimes the moving image is able to reveal something very special! We chose three films to show this year. Thanks to Dan Thompson at Alpkit for permission to show “Tom Seipp – A Mountain Journal”, Eric Becker for “A Higher Crawling” and Anson Fogel for “Cold”. All were given without charge and are freely available on either Youtube or Vimeo. The full version of “Cold” is available to buy on iTunes and is thoroughly recommended!

Further highlights can be found here.

A summary of the 2018 feedback can be found here.

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