Polar Medicine | Norway | March 2022


Join our team of cold weather specialist and polar explorers on the edge of the Hardangervidda Plateau for a week of unbeatable polar medicine and expedition training.

Our acclaimed Polar Medicine course has been completely revamped and now packs in heaps more medical & expedition skills, more time on skis and an extended expedition element, all delivered by record-breaking polar guides including the extraordinary Antarctica expedition leaders Hannah McKeand & Denise Martin and an expert medical faculty with extensive cold environment experience.

Start: Sunday 20 March 2022
End: Saturday 26 March 2022 

  • Spaces Left: FULLY BOOKED contact for waiting list
  • 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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Our new Polar Medicine course has moved to the famous Norwegian village of Finse, a mountain village area on the shore of the lake Finsevatnet and accessible only on foot or by the stunning Bergen Railway. WEM’s team of acclaimed expert polar medics are joining forces with world-renowned polar guides, Hannah McKean and Denise Martin, to deliver a completely updated and upgraded action-packed Polar Medicine and Expedition Skills course.


Famed as one of the Polar training grounds of Nansen, Scott and Shackleton, Finse is situated a little over 3 miles north of the Hardangerjøkulen between the Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda national parks. For the Star Wars fans out there, Finse and the Hardangerjøkulen became the chosen location for the Hoth System in 1979 classic ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

During this action-packed week, you’ll learn the essentials of polar travel, survival and cold weather medicine while immersed in a polar environment. Our team consists of doctors who have spent significant time providing cover and exploring polar and high-altitude environments, supported by a team of local experts who bringing local expertise and knowledge of life in the Arctic.

This highly-practical course gives you the opportunity to experience a polar environment first hand. You’ll travel by ski, snowshoes and dogsled, sessions on avalanche awareness and rescue will teach you safe route choice, you’ll learn to build snow shelters with the opportunity to sleep overnight in your constructions, throughout the course you’ll learn essential polar expedition skills which will be out to the test on a 3-day expedition. The extensive practical content will be supported by a comprehensive curriculum of cold weather, taught via lectures, discussions and workshops.

Before heading home you’ll take part in a rescue scenario testing your newly acquired skills under the expert guidance of the WEM team.

Accreditation will be offered through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. We estimate 35 hours of CPD will be awarded for the complete course.

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
Drinks and food purchased from the bar

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 in Finse at 1400 on 20 March.

Ticket information can be found at www.nsb.no/en

You will be able to depart Finse after breakfast on 26 March.

For further travel planning, www.rome2rio.com is a very helpful site.


Course Content

  • Introduction to polar medicine
  • Clothing and temperature management
  • Dog sledging
  • Basic navigation
  • Stoves
  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Snowshoeing
  • Primary survey in the wilderness
  • Fire lighting
  • Improvised carries
  • Pre-expedition planning
  • Altitude medicine
  • Ski touring
  • Ski touring
  • Expedition briefing
  • Shelter construction
  • Sleeping in snow holes
  • Cold water immersion and hypothermia
  • Medical kits
  • Communication
  • Course summing up

Itinerary by day

For further information about course content please email admin@extreme-medicine.com or call +44 (0) 1297 300503.

Hannah McKeand

In 2006 Hannah set a world speed record for skiing solo and unsupported to the South Pole, a journey of 690 miles that she completed in 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes. She went on to completed six expeditions to the South Pole and over 6000 miles of Antarctic sled-hauling, more than anyone else in the world today. She has also undertaken expeditions on the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, South America, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Namibia, Afghanistan and the Amazon and she has sailed around the world. She works full time as a polar field guide, logistics consultant, and motivational speaker.

Hannah actively mentors young people, teaches aspiring explorers and hopes that by writing and speaking about her experiences in the world and sharing them with those who care to read or listen, then she will inspire people to go after their own dreams and achieve their own goals.

Hannah now lives in Salt Lake City.

Denise Martin

Denise has guided multiple last degrees and full expeditions to both the North and South Poles and was the first Canadian woman to do both. She worked 8 seasons guiding on Antarctica; she has been the Program Director for Outward Bound Canada; and she operated a Yukon based company for many years guiding (skiing and dog-sledding) all over the Canadian Arctic, including a 3-week crossing of Ellesmere Island and Lonely Planet film support on Baffin Island. Most recently in 2018 she has completed a 28 day crossing of Greenland, where she mentored the youngest member of the expedition.

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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