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Polar Medicine | Norway | February 2023


Join us on the frozen Finnmark Plateau of Norway (Finnmarksvidda), home to the Northern Lights, and experience an adventure of a lifetime in our Polar Medicine course.

Our team of highly qualified instructors will take your existing expedition medicine out into the harshest climates so you can learn, develop, and survive in this extreme environment.

From sled-hauling to sleeping in snowholes, managing polar traumas and more, you’ll be fully immersed within an Arctic learning adventure.


Start: 12 February 2023
End: 18 February 2023 

  • Spaces Left: High
  • Prerequisites:
    • Medical or Allied Health Professional
    • Students in the final year of study
    • Attendance of Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course (or similar) highly recommended
    • Basic navigation skills
    • Basic knowledge of expedition planning
    • Good fitness level

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We’re taking our Polar Medicine course back to the Arctic Circle to the stunning Finnmarksvidda, with a fresh new look we’re bringing more adventure and taking you further into the wilderness than ever.

Using specialist local guides, chosen for their extensive expedition experience, passion for nature and low environmental impact, alongside our own team of medical experts we will take you to the Arctic wilderness for a week of extreme medical CPD.


Meeting in the remote Norwegian town of Alta we will depart to the village of Assebakte near the Finland border. From Assebakte we will take snowcats or snowmobiles to the remote Ravnastua Mountain Hut which will become our base for the week. Ravnatsua has been run by the same Sami family since 1947 and they will provide you fascinating insights and stories into the history of their culture.

To take advantage of the short daylight houses, we will spend most of this time in the field exploring practical skills. Focusing on performance in the face of significant environmental challenges rather than endurance on skis.

Lunch will take place ‘expedition style’ allowing you to experience managing food, water, kit administration and self-care.

When the sun goes down you will then build upon this practical learning with a range of interactive group sessions and lectures.

Over the final days of the course, you will then head out and experience a full Polar Expedition. Building your own camps and taking part in a rescue scenario, this will bring together and test your newly acquired skills.

As you head home, you will take with you a solid foundation of clinical, practical, and non-technical skills that could enable you to launch your own polar and cold climate expedition career.

Plus, accreditation will be offered through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. We estimate 30 hours of CPD will be awarded for the complete course.

*Please note: due to the remote nature of this course vegan diets will be difficult to cater for. This will require additional planning and we ask that you discuss this with us at the earliest possible opportunity.

What’s included?
All tutoring, accommodation and meals during the course
Skis, snowshoes and hauling equipment.

What’s not included?
Travel costs
Travel and health insurance
Personal equipment
Sleeping bag and mat hire (if needed)

Do you need travel and health insurance?
We recommend all participants travelling outside of their home country, or where aero-medical evacuation may be required, have specific travel insurance in place for the expedition.

For your safety and security, we reserve the right to refuse access to an expedition until we have details of adequate insurance cover provided to us.

Please note: Should a course be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, you will receive a full refund and our usual terms and conditions apply. Full details of our COVID-19 policy here

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The group will meet at the Thon Hotel, Alta at 0900 on day 1 of the course.

The course will end on Day 7 at 1900 back at the Thon Hotel, Alta.

For further travel planning, is a very helpful site.


Course Content

  • Introduction to polar medicine
  • Polar expedition planning
  • Common medical condition in polar environments
  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite & cold injury
  • Medical kits
  • Aeromedical evacuation and casevacs
  • Public health and camp hygiene
  • Managing trauma in polar environments
  • Primary survey in the wilderness
  • Clothing and temperature management
  • Communication in polar environments
  • Winter navigation
  • Stoves
  • Fire lighting
  • Shelter construction
  • Sleeping in snow holes
  • Communication
  • Course summing up

Itinerary by day

For further information about course content please email or call +44 (0) 1297 300503.

Chris Imray

Chris is a Consultant Vascular and Renal Transplant Surgeon at UHCW NHS Trust, and also a Professor at Warwick Medical School, Coventry University and Exeter University. He has lectured to Expedition & Wilderness Medicine students on frostbite and high altitude and offers phone or email support on the subject to expedition medics.

Chris started climbing whilst at school, and has continued to travel all over the world to indulge this passion. His interest in altitude research began when working with the Birmingham Medical Research Expeditionary Society. More recently he’s been involved with the UCL team at CASE.

Having been one of the medical officers taking part in the 2006 Xtreme Cho Oyu expedition to Tibet, Chris went on in 2007 to be the Deputy Climbing Leader of the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Expedition. He summited both Cho Oyu (8201m) and Everest (8848m), and has the dubious distinction of having the second lowest arterial gases ever recorded in an adult (at 8,400m)!

Chris has a Diploma in Mountain Medicine and his mountain medical interests include frostbite, non-freezing cold injuries, extreme altitude physiology and the brain at high altitude. Along with Dr Paul Richards and Dr Dave Hillebrandt, he runs the UK internet-based frostbite service.

Ben-CooperBen Cooper

Ben  has worked in the Accident and Emergency Department in Sheffield for over 11 years and is an A&E Department Charge Nurse and an Emergency Nurse Practitioner.

Ben’s pre hospital care career started 15 years ago when he started as an aspirant for Northumberland National Park Search and Rescue Team, he then moved to Sheffield in 1994 and joined Edale Mountain Rescue Team: one of Britain’s busiest.

In 2001 he started working for Poles Apart as a location medic, assisting in providing film/TV location safety and medical support in extreme environments including Greenland and Iceland. Since 2004 his pre hospital career went south to Antarctica with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE). ALE’s field camp at Patriot Hills is home to one of the world’s most remote field hospitals. From there he has helped to provide medical and rescue cover to expeditions skiing to the South Pole, climbing Mount Vinson, running the Antarctic Marathon and 100km race alongside escorting clients on flights to the South Pole.



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