Wilderness First Responder Colorado

You and your climbing partner “Randy” are having an excellent day of climbing near Moab Utah. After five hours of climbing Randy is preparing to lead his first 5.11 crack climb. Confident after climbing so well earlier in the day, Randy chooses not to place gear for the first relatively easy 25 feet. While placing his first piece, Randy’s grip loosens and he slips, falling 25 feet to the ground. He lands feet first and tumbles backwards, hitting his head with a loud “crack”. You rush towards Randy and quickly notice blood on the back of his head and his helmet split open. He has an obvious gash in the back of his head and his left leg is disfigured between his knee and ankle. He is sitting upright with his shoulders hunched forward, and he is not moving. As you approach closer, he says, “don’t move me, I don’t want to move”. What is your assessment of the patient? What is your first action? Do you have a treatment plan? Is this a life-threatening emergency?  Should you call for help or stay with your friend and try to address his injuries? Do you have the knowledge to properly stabilize Randy without causing further injury?

Backcountry enthusiasts, guides and travelers – Spending time in the backcountry gives you and the others in your group exposure to risks unlike any other environment. Miles away from professional medical treatment is a risk all its own. You may only have a small window of time to think and act before the patient’s vital signs drop significantly. Your wilderness medicine training may dictate the patient’s chance of survival.

Increase your knowledge and skills for response to medical and rescue scenarios in the backcountry by obtaining a Wilderness First Responder certification (“WFR”).  This certification is great for skiers, climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, whitewater enthusiasts, snowmobilers, and many others!

Wilderness First Responder courses are offered throughout the year by Apex, as well as the periodic WFR recertification (or WFR recert), required every three years to stay current. For more information on Apex’s wilderness medicine courses, visit our wilderness medicine page, call (970) 949-9111 or contact us by email.


  1. Great information. Thanks again for providing this. This would be great for ski patrols/schools all around to participate in.

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