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Mountain Medicine 2020

After times of social distancing and electoral leaders suggesting injecting disinfectants to treat corona-virus, we’re looking forward to better times to come. The Mountain Medicine course is scheduled in September and for now, goes on! This Alpine course compromises a schedule of theoretical sessions in the evening with mountain related themes and practical sessions outside on the mountain slopes. All under the guidance of NKBV-mountain guides. Rixt van der Ende is a medical doctor with an interest in outdoor sports and acute medicine. She just came back from the Atlantic ocean on board of the Wylde Swan as ship’s doctor.  A tall ship that sails eight months a year around the world with students eager to learn about sailing while still continuing their high school studies. Last year Rixt joined the Mountain Medicine course.

My first introduction with expedition- and wilderness medicine was in Soest, during the Advanced Wilderness Life Support course. The course sparked my passion for outdoor sports and interest in emergency medicine, it tasted like more. I heard about mountain medicine, and with a mountain hike in the Austrian alps fresh in my mind, I decided to join, without any regrets!  

In September we gathered with twenty enthusiastic and sporty (para)medics in Galtür, the starting point of our journey. We ascended to the Jamtalhütte, our basecamp for the week. During the hike we got to know each other; the group members had a widely varying age and background, but we had one thing in common: our love for the mountains.

At the beginning somewhat inconvenient with our crampons, carabiners, and climbing harness. However, at the end of the week “Sehr Profi!” – Matthias.

My expectations of the Jamtalhütte were quite low, considering the hike last year, with freshwater valued as a luxury. Nevertheless, we were pleasantly surprised by clean dorms, warm showers, and an astonishing view, how fortunate! A few hours later we were organized into groups and packed with materials we took off into the mountains. At the beginning somewhat inconvenient with our crampons, carabiners, and climbing harness. However, at the end of the week “Sehr Profi!” – Matthias.


During the week we familiarized ourselves with basic techniques of Alpine sports; how to cross a glacier, navigating in the mountains, climb the rocks, and everything about abseiling. Also, we learned about crevasse rescue and practiced multiple rope techniques.

All sessions were accompanied with good laughter, interesting conversations, getting out of the comfort zone, and beautiful views when we summited a mountain.  

After a long day in the outdoors, we were taken good care of with luxurious meals by the Austrian cabin host. In the evenings we were theoretical skilled with lectures about altitude sickness, internal emergencies and traumatology in the mountains, medivac, hike planning and various workshops. The mountain guides shared their experience in the mountains as well, quite inspiring!

The week went by so fast, it ended with a scenario training to assess our fresh skills. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, all my expectations were met.

Rixt van der Ende

The Mountain Medicine course is planned 6 till 12 September in the Silvretta Alps. If you can’t wait until we go up the mountains we have some theoretical and mental material to prepare for mountain trips.

Novels
The eight mountains – Paolla Cognetti
Into thin air – Jon Krakauer
Mountain rescue doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature 
– Christopher van Tilburg
                                                         
Movies
127 hours – Danny Boyle (als a novel)
Mountain – Jennifer Peedom
Alex Honnold’s Free Solo 

Series
Everest Rescue – Ryan Skorecki

Theory
Vertical Aid – Essential Wilderness Medicine for Climbers, Trekkers, and Mountaineers – Seth C. Hawkins 
Alpine Climbing Techniques to Take You Higher – Mark Houston
Advanced Wilderness Life Support, section Altitude Medicine and Avalanches
– David Della-Giustina & Richard Ingebretsen