About Wilderness Medic, LLC

Wilderness Medic LLC was founded to provide superior wilderness medical training and certification classes in the southwest region. For over 10 years we have had the privilege of traveling the world delivering Wilderness Medical Associates International classes to professional groups, universities, and individuals. We are the local provider for WMAI classes in southwestern Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. WMAI is made up of a diverse group of medical professionals worldwide that are constantly updating and improving the practical curriculum we deliver in our courses. We guarantee that your course will be made up of relevant skills that will enhance your existing medical knowledge, and make you more confident in your skills wherever you work or play. No certification is more accepted worldwide than WMAI.

All of our instructors have years of experience working as professional rescuers as ski patrollers, firefighter/paramedics, and SAR medical team leaders. Since best practices are constantly changing, it is important that our instructors have ongoing experience taking care of patients in the field so they can bring those skills and knowledge into our classes. Our instructors are experienced, dynamic, and passionate about the material they teach.

All of our course locations are chosen to be fun and relevant places to learn wilderness medicine. Camping is typically available, and there’s usually time after class to grab a quick mountain bike ride or go for a hike.

Two guys helping the third in the snow

Wilderness Medical Training

Do you like to go up into the mountains or down the river? Are you prepared to handle a medical emergency while in the backcountry? Being medically prepared in the backcountry is just as critical as having a map and compass! Get the proper wilderness medical training by taking a Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI) course.

WMAI has been setting the standard in wilderness medicine and rescue training for over thirty years. WMAI instructors are experienced medical practitioners as well as ski patrollers, paddlers, mountain guides, outdoor educators, and members of search and rescue teams. The instructors are professional medical practitioners not just teachers. If all you are looking for is the certificate, look elsewhere. If you are looking for the best medical courses in the region and the outdoor industry you have come to the right place.

What is Wilderness Medicine?

Wilderness Medicine differs significantly from standard Red Cross style courses and other programs that are oriented toward the urban environment. Our wilderness courses teach what to do with a medical emergency when help is miles away and calling 911 isn’t an option. We prepare students for emergency situations that involve prolonged patient care, severe environments and improvised equipment.

Gain Skills & Confidence

A WMAI course will take you well beyond traditional first aid. We teach the procedures and the principles behind them. We want you to know how body systems behave, not just how to memorize signs and symptoms. Once you have taken one of our courses you will never forget what to do; you will understand what needs to be done.

Respond to Medical Emergencies

Whether you work or play in remote areas, our practical curriculum in wilderness medicine will prepare you to make good decisions in the field.

Rescuers in the woods

Meet Our Instructors

Chelsea Gardner

Chelsea (She/Her) began her paramedic career in the small mountain town of Silverton, Colorado in 2011. Within her first year, she became the Assistant Director of Silverton Ambulance and an officer on San Juan County Search and Rescue. Over the next five years, Chelsea was tasked with managing critical patients in a mountainous environment, far from definitive medical care. In this setting, her WFR skills became more valuable than she ever could have imagined. Her current focus is on avalanche rescue and technical rope rescue. She practices with multiple agencies in Silverton and is a firefighter/paramedic in Durango, CO. On any typical day, you can find Chelsea and her four-legged friend adventuring in the San Juan Mountains or soaking up the sun while fishing the Animas River.

Chelsea Gardner

Annie DeFrancia

Annie (She/Her) took her first WFR course while studying Adventure Education at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. After graduating, she began instructing for the Colorado Outward Bound School where she combined her passions for experiential education, backcountry travel, and wilderness medicine. Later, Annie obtained her Paramedic certification and has been ski patrolling at Purgatory Resort and working as a full-time Firefighter/Paramedic in Durango. She especially enjoys working on the technical rope rescue team with the fire department.

In her free time, you will find Annie playing in the mountains and the desert, preferably embarking on some type of multi-sport adventure. Annie is passionate about outdoor recreation and exploring new places outside and respects that there is an inherent risk associated with many of these activities. She believes it is each person’s responsibility to be a prepared, trustworthy, and educated partner by having the proper training to appropriately assess and mitigate risk, and to manage the “oh-crap” moments.

Chelsea Gardner

Jeffrey Isaac, PA-C

Jeff (He/Him) is the curriculum director for Wilderness Medical Associates International and co-author of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine and The Outward Bound Wilderness First Aid Handbook, both of which are used in wilderness medicine courses worldwide. His teaching reflects the experience of 30 years in emergency medicine, outdoor education, and wilderness rescue. He has served as an ambulance and fire/rescue crewman, professional ski patroller, emergency department practitioner and on the medical staff of three ski area trauma clinics. He currently practices with the Crested Butte Medical Center in Colorado, where he also serves as team leader and medical officer for Crested Butte Mountain Rescue.

Jeffrey is also a licensed captain for the U.S. Coast Guard and an experienced blue-water sailor. He’s logged thousands of miles aboard his own sloop and served as mate and medical officer on numerous sail-training and research vessels. His marine resume includes 20 seasons as an instructor, course director, and vessel master with The Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine.

Jeffrey Isaac's portrait

Josh Kling

Josh (He/him) is an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certified Ski, Alpine, and Rock guide as well as an IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide. He has been a Pro ski patroller for over ten years and was on the local search and rescue team for over 20 years. He is the Coordinator of Permitting and Programming for the Outdoor Pursuits program at Fort Lewis College, where he tries to do one major human-powered ski trip with college students a year. In 2019 it was a weeklong backcountry ski trip to Mt. Baker In WA, in January 2020 it was Hokkaido, Japan.  In October 2023 he is ski guiding in Antarctica with Ice Axe Expeditions.  In January 2024 he’s returning to Japan with Fort Lewis for more ski programming.  Josh is the founder of Kling Mountain Guides (now San Juan Expeditions), and author of Backcountry Skiing Silverton. Josh has been working and playing in the San Juan Mountains around Silverton, CO for over 20 years.

Josh Kling in the mountains

Brad Sablosky

Brad (He/Him) has been a lead instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates International since 2008. In that time he has traveled extensively in North America and internationally delivering WMAI classes. Brad was a Paramedic/Firefighter with Durango Fire for close to 15 years and has been a ski patroller for over 20 years.  Brad’s background includes time as a canoe trip leader in Northern Canada, a camp director, working in therapeutic wilderness programs, membership on multiple mountain rescue teams, and as a private pilot.

Brad's portrait

Owens Strawinski

Ownes (She/They) has worked in the outdoor industry for over a decade a variety of roles. Most prominently as a commercial sea kayaking guide from Maine to Chilean Patagonia, and an instructor for Outward Bound in Washington teaching mountaineering, rock climbing, alpine backpacking, and sea kayaking. She has a background working in a clinical setting as a nursing assistant but has gained much of her experience through hundreds of days in the field caring for others in a variety of conditions. Owens has worked in all types of conditions and environments – from the sandy beaches of Baja to the icy crevasses of Tahoma (Mount Rainier).

Brad's portrait