Wilderness First Responder

SOLO Wilderness First Responder courses with Apex Mountain School. 



  • Apr 23 - 30, 2017 Location: 4 Eagle Ranch, Wolcott
  • Nov 5 - 12, 2017 Location: 4 Eagle Ranch, Wolcott


1 week


  • 4 Eagle Ranch, 4098 CO-131, Wolcott, Colorado


  • Cost is for full course.
  • $715 per person


Three of Five

Experience Level

Beginner to Advanced

When an illness or injury occurs in the backcountry, do you have a plan?

Learn the tools and skills for wilderness and rescue medicine. World-famous SOLO Wilderness Medicine School introduced this course to the U.S. in the 1970’s and has been educating an international audience ever since.

Our course curriculum and certification is provided by world-renowned SOLO Wilderness Medicine, and is taught by certified instructors. SOLO brought Wilderness Medicine to the United States in 1976. This intensive curriculum takes place over a condensed eight days, which will likely include 2 evening sessions, which will be specifically scheduled by the instructor and participants during the course.

The Apex Mountain School – SOLO Wilderness First Responder curriculum uses the principles of long-term care, improvised resources, and varying environmental conditions as the framework for learning. Now the most widely recognized and most oft-required outdoor leader certification, the Wilderness First Responder course was initially developed and taught by SOLO in the mid-1980′s. SOLO’s WFR curriculum is designed to provide outdoor leaders, guides, and rangers with the knowledge to prevent and deal with crises in remote settings.

The WFR curriculum addresses, among other matters, the issues of medico legal concerns, blood borne pathogens and infectious diseases. The Patient Assessment System, the foundation of the course, trains students on the fundamentals of determining and addressing the status and needs of backcountry patients. Other sessions provide instruction in traumatic situations and other medical emergencies response. Environmental issues such as hypothermia and heat injuries are dealt with in great detail. Practical simulations and labs provide practice in backcountry leadership and rescue skills.

Taking place at 4 Eagle Ranch, just outside of the Vail Valley, a typical day consists of a mixture of hands-on practical skill work and information-rich lecture sessions. To increase learning and comprehension, we complement these sessions with indoor and outdoor mock scenarios and simulations.

The course schedule is daily, with 2 evening sessions likely, which will be specifically scheduled by the participants and the instructor. The program is fast-paced– be prepared.

Since much of class time is outdoors, come prepared for the time of year and environment in which you are taking the course. Sturdy boots, reliable rain gear, appropriate clothing and cold-weather items are essential – Colorado weather can go from 70 to 30 degrees in minutes, nighttime temps may be frigid, and snow is always possible in the fall season. Bring lunch with you daily, as lunch is an open-discussion environment that is part of the class.

Please also bring along equipment relevant to the activity during which you’ll likely apply your WFR knowledge. If you’re a river guide, for example, bring some paddles or life vests to have on hand for use during practice scenarios. If you’re a skier or with ski patrol, bring some skis or poles. Ice axes, helmets, ropes, etc. are helpful to have on hand. This equipment is NOT required; it simply may allow the scenarios to be more lifelike and specific to your intent.

Students who successfully complete the course receive a SOLO Wilderness First Responder card and an American Heart Association Adult Heart saver CPR card (or equivalent). Certification is based on successful completion of the course, which includes 100% attendance of course. Instructors provide ongoing feedback and many opportunities for questions. Final assessment of each student’s skills includes written and practical exams. Syllabus, First Aid Book, and Workbook are included in your course fee and will be provided on the first day of your course.

Course Location: 4 Eagle Ranch, 4098 CO-131, Wolcott, CO 81655


Camping in the area is abundant, with campsites available in:

Camp Hale – The expanse surrounding the NOVA Guides Lodge, known as Camp Hale, is immense and has many camping options. In order to protect the historical resources in the Camp Hale area, camping is prohibited on the valley floor of Camp Hale except within the designated campgrounds. Camping is allowed along Resolution Road (702), Pearl Creek Road(715), and Mc Allister Gulch Road(708).

East Vail (Gore Creek Campground) – East-Vail exit from I-70, onto Frontage Road South, follow to end of road.

Wolcott – approx 7 miles West of Avon on I-70, Wolcott exit, right to Hwy 6, left approx 3 miles to camping on right.

Hornsilver Tiers – Minturn exit from I-70, approx 11 miles South to Hornsilver Tiers Campground on left.

Tigiwon Road (Half Moon Campground) – Minturn exit from I-70, approx 7 miles south to Tigiwon Road on right, at end of Road (way up there).

Homestake Road (Gold Park Campground) – Minturn exit from I-70, approx 12 miles South to Homestake Road on right, continue up dirt road a few miles to camping.

**Please use designated sites and be respectful on public lands.

Pricing & payment:

Price for the course is $715 per person.

Register at the Book It tab above, contact Apex Mountain School by calling either (970) 949-9111 or 888-MTN-SOUL, or register through our contact page.

Student Course Outline:

Section 1: Introduction

  • Introductions
  • Staff, Students & Course Outline
  • SOLO…A look at who we are
  • Wilderness First Responder vs. Urban First Responder
  • Role of the WFR
  • Medico-legal issues
  • Blood-borne Pathogens & Infectious Disease

Section 2: Patient Assessment System (PAS)

  • Patient Assessment System
  • Anatomy of a Backcountry Crisis
  • Primary Survey= “the first five minutes”
  • Secondary Survey & Vital Signs
  • History Taking and AMPLE
  • Lifting and Moving Techniques
  • PAS in the extreme environment

Section 3: Rescues and the Human Animal

  • Organizing the rescue= SOAP note and getting help
  • The Ten Essentials
  • Bivouac Skills and Practice
  • The Human Animal – overview of the Human Physiology
  • Body Systems – overview of Human Anatomy and Physiology

Section 4: The Cardiovascular System

  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Cardiovascular System
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Prudent Heart Living
  • Techniques of CPR
  • CPR Skills Practice

Section 5: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

  • CPR practical exam
  • CPR considerations in the remote environment
  • Automated External Defibrillation

Section 6: Soft Tissue Injury

  • Shock & Bleeding Control
  • Long term Management of the Shock Victim
  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Integumentary System
  • Soft Tissue Injuries & Bandaging Skill
  • Long Term Wound Care
  • Burns

Section 7: The Musculo-skeletal System

  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Musculo-Skeletal System
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Fractures & Splinting Techniques
  • Dislocations and Reduction Techniques
  • Splinting Practice

Section 8: The Central Nervous System

  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Central Nervous System
  • Head Trauma
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Spinal Cord Management: improvised collar, long boarding, litter packing

Section 9: The Chest and Abdominal Systems

  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Respiratory System and Cardio-Thoracic Region
  • Chest Trauma
  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Gastrointestinal and Genitourinary System
  • Abdominal Trauma

Section 10: The Human Animal & Environmental Emergencies Part I

  • The Human Animal
  • Heat related injuries
  • Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Cramps and Heat Stroke
  • Cold related injuries
  • Hypothermia, Frostbite and non-freezing cold injuries

Section 11: Environmental Emergencies Part II

  • Lightning related injuries
  • Drowning related injuries

Section 12: Animals, Plants and Allergies

  • Animals that Bite and Sting
  • Plants that Bite and Sting
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Llocal, Systemic & Anaphylactic
  • Use of Epinephrine

Section 13: Environmental Emergencies Part III

  • Altitude related injuries
  • Medical Emergencies and Patient Assessment

Section14: Medical Emergencies Part I

  • Changes in Level of Consciousness (LOC)
  • Diabetic Emergencies

Section 15: Medical Emergencies Part II

  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Emergency Childbirth

Section 16: Medical Emergencies Part III

  • Poisoning
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Group Preventative Medicine
  • Water Purification
  • Sanitation/Defecation

Section 17: Long-term Patient Care

  • Wilderness Stabilization and Bivouac
  • Improvising litters
  • Leadership in a backcountry emergency

Section 18: Mock Rescue

  • Mock Rescue
  • Debrief

Section 19: WFR Practical exam

  • Practical exam
  • Common expedition problems

Section 20: WFR Written Exam

  • Written exam
  • Closure and Graduation

Some personal gear provided by participant, see the gear list tab above.

What to bring:

  • Cold weather clothing, fleece, hats, gloves, etc.
  • Raingear
  • Pack
  • Sleeping pad
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle
  • Hiking boots
  • Notebook with pen/pencil
  • Items you would typically have in your pack on a backcountry trip
  • In your car, please bring supplies that you'd have with you when you intend on applying your WFR education, ex. paddles, skis, ice axes, etc. for scenario work.

You may also consider:

  • Second hand watch
  • Pocket Knife
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Compass
  • Camping Equipment
  • Any other needed personal items

If you wish to complete your participant forms in advance, download and print out the pdf below. Complete both pages for each participant, and give to your guide at the beginning of your trip.

Participant Forms

Click the button below to view our terms, conditions and cancellation policy.