Wilderness Advanced Life Support

The Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS®) is Wilderness Medical Associates International’s most advanced level course. Our 4 day (36 hr) course is open to certified or licensed advanced level medical practitioners involved in rescue, mass casualty, and remote outdoor environments or urban areas in crisis. This constantly-evolving course includes discussions of new and controversial ideas and teaches the appropriate application of medical technologies; we even test some of these in the field! The learning environment is challenging, stimulating and fun. Category 1 CME credits for physicians and physician assistants, CEUs for paramedics and Contact Hours for nurses are available.

The WALS program is constantly evolving and we plan to keep it that way. Instructors and students are encouraged to discuss new and controversial material, perspectives, and techniques. For the experienced practitioner, WALS provides well-rounded exposure to the challenges of providing advanced medical care in a difficult environment. You can look forward to a fun and stimulating five days.

A significant portion of the course will be outdoors. The practical sessions will not be dangerous or overly strenuous, but participants should be prepared to deal with uneven terrain and mountain weather. Technical rock and rescue skills are not required.

Current certification or licensure as an EMT-I, Paramedic, RN, NP, PA, MD, or DO is a prerequisite for admission. Other medical providers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Instructors: David Johnson, MD, Jeffrey Isaac, PA-C, Brad Sablosky, Paramedic-WALS

Class Format

This 36-hour, 4 day long course focuses on wilderness and rescue medicine for advanced level practitioners. Upon receiving the course roster from the sponsor, pre-course Study Guides will be mailed to students two to four weeks prior to the first day of the course. Each participant is asked to take an online pretest and complete case study assignments prior to the beginning of the course. Generally the mornings are devoted to homework review and lectures, while the afternoons focus on skill stations and patient scenarios. Skill labs include basic and advanced airway techniques and equipment, cardiovascular emergencies, and wound management. There will be videotaped scenarios using moulaged patients; one of these is done at night.


All teaching materials are provided by Wilderness Medical Associates International at no additional cost. This includes a book of lecture handouts, our case study workbook, SOAP notes, our textbook, Wilderness and Rescue Medicine and The Wilderness Medical Associates International Field Guide.

Completion and Grades

Certification requires 100% attendance, satisfactory completion of all homework assignments, course participation in all didactic and practical components including simulations, and the final examination. Wilderness Medical Associates International is committed to making reasonable accommodation to any student with special needs.

Certification and CEUs Available

All participants who successfully complete the WALS® course will receive a certification card from Wilderness Medical Associates International.

Thirty-six hours of AMA Category I CME credit is included for physicians and physician assistants. For paramedics and intermediates, this course is approved for 36 continuing education hours by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services. Nurses will receive 36 contact hours through Central Maine Healthcare, an approved of continuing education activity by ANA-Maine, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation


Recertification can be earned at anytime during the three years following your course, but no later than the last day of the month in which your original certificate expires. Recertification options include the 36-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course, the 36-hour WAFA-to-WFR Bridge Course, the 24-hour Open Recertification Course or the 16-hour WMAI Recertification Course.



David Johnson, MD

Dr. Johnson is a board-certified emergency physician and President and Medical Director of Wilderness Medical Associates International, Inc. His participation in trans-Atlantic sailing expeditions and numerous treks in North and South America, coupled with 30 years in urban and rural emergency medicine, have given him a broad base of experience in patient care in difficult and demanding situations.

Dr. Johnson is a frequent conference presenter and author, and has taught all levels of EMS and wilderness medicine courses throughout the US, and in some of the more far-flung corners of the world. He is co-author of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine, A Practical Guide for the Basic and Advanced Practitioner, used as a textbook in WMA courses worldwide. He has been recognized by Outward Bound USA with the McGory Award for outstanding contributions to experiential education. He is well known for his low-key teaching style and exceptional ability to relate complex medical issues to the elemental principles of wilderness medicine. He is also known for being firmly committed to the science behind the subject. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Johnson as the lead instructor for Wilderness Advanced Life Support™.

Jeffrey Isaac, PA-C

Jeff Isaac is the President of MedicalOfficer.Net, Ltd. and has been an instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates International since the company’s founding in 1981. He is now the company’s curriculum director and co-author with Dr. David Johnson of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine, A Practical Guide for the Basic and Advanced Practitioner, used as a textbook in WMA courses worldwide. His teaching reflects the experience of 30 years in emergency medicine, outdoor education, and wilderness rescue.

In a career that began in 1974 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 is a certified WEMT and a licensed physician assistant practicing with the Crested Butte Medical Center in Colorado, where he also serves as team leader and medical officer for Crested Butte Search and Rescue.

Jeffrey is also a licensed captain and an experienced blue-water sailor, having logged thousands of miles aboard his own sloop, as well as, serving as mate and medical officer on sail-training and research vessels. His marine resume includes twenty seasons as an instructor, course director, and vessel master with The Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. In 1991, Jeffrey authored The Outward Bound Wilderness First Aid Handbook, now in its third edition.

Brad Sablosky Paramedic-WALS

Brad has been teaching wilderness medicine for WMA international since 2008. His career in the outdoors began as a canoe guide for Northwaters Wilderness Programs in Northern Ontario, where he spent 15 years guiding 3-5 week canoe trips throughout Northern Canada.

Currently Brad works as a Firefighter/paramedic with Durango Fire and Rescue and is a member of their mountain rescue team. He also works as a ski patroller for Telluride Mountain. Both of these jobs provide constant ongoing experience caring for patients in the urban and wilderness environments.

Brad is a private pilot and owns a Cessna Skywagon which he uses to explore the remote parts of the desert southwest as well as the Canadian north with his wife and two children.

Rescuers helping a victim in a cave

Program Overview

Course Description
This 36-hour, 4 days long course focuses on wilderness and rescue medicine for advanced level practitioners.


4 days


$850 for EMT-P / RN
$950 for PA-C / NP
$1100 for MD

Client to Guide Ratio

Up 12 to 1




Telluride, CO- September 8-11, 2022

Price Includes

  • Four days of instruction. All instructors are Practicing Medical Professionals, i.e., they have actual patient contact on a regular basis and are not just instructors.
  • All teaching materials are provided by Wilderness Medical Associates International:
  • Lecture handouts
  • Case study workbook
  • SOAP notes

Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to the course site from your location
  • Wilderness and Rescue Medicine textbook
  • Items of personal nature
  • Individual travel costs, delays, etc.
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Personal clothing or gear
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal snacks
  • Hotels before, during, and after trip
  • Recommended Travel/trip cancelation insurance


  • Bring appropriate clothing for the location and time of year. Remember that, rain or shine, much of our time is spent outside. You will also need pens, a notebook, and a watch with a second hand. See our Student Handbook and speak with the sponsor for more information.


  • Participants must be ALS trained with current certification, i.e.: EMT-P and ALS trained EMT-I, Physician Assistant (PA), Registered Nurse (RN), or Physician (MD or DO). Others admitted on a case-by-case basis.

Course Outline

  • Day 1: 9 hours
    Logistics and Introduction; General Concepts in Wilderness Medicine; Roles and Responsibilities; Patient Assessment; Critical System Problem Recognition Drill; Critical System Summary; Spine
  • Day 2: 9 hours
    Homework Review; Musculoskeletal; Limb Splinting; Dislocation Reduction Demo and Practice; Skin, Soft Tissues and Burns; SAR/Organization; Small Group BLS Simulations
  • Day 3: 9 hours
    Thermoregulation; Cold Injuries; Altitude; ALS Treatments and Meds; Appropriate Technology; ALS Tools and Medications; Night Simulation
  • Day 4:  8.5 hours
    Homework Review; Thermoregulation; Cold Injuries; Altitude; ALS Treatments and Meds; Appropriate Technology; ALS Tools and Medications; Night Simulation; Summary for the Course; Medical Legal; First Aid Kits; Wrap-Up; Final Exam

Registration & Cancelation

  • Unfortunately, due to extremely high demand we have a very strict registration and cancelation policy. We can not transfer you to an other program. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND PURCHASING TRAVEL INSURANCE! We recommend the TravelEx Insurance Travel Select plan with the Adventurer Plus Pak upgrade.
  • To reserve your spot on a wilderness medical program please a 50% deposit is required if applying more than 60 days out. If your trip/ course starts in less than 60 days please submit full payment. 100$ off all program fees are due 60 days prior to start.
  • Program fees are non-transferable. If notice of cancellation is given in writing at least 60 days prior to the trip start date, you will be refunded your full deposit except for a $50 processing fee.
  • If notice of cancellation is given in writing within 59 – 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to the deposit amount will be charged. If notice of cancellation is given in writing less than 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to 100% of the program fee will be charged.