Aerie Backcountry Medicine

Aerie is a Missoula, Montana-based organization, providing wilderness and front-country medical training to over 2,000 students a year in the United States, Mexico, Central America, Africa, and India. In addition, we deploy EMTs and paramedics to provide medical coverage for wildland fire.  Led by our staff, we teach courses for MDs, RNs, PAs, and EMTs as well as outdoor enthusiasts with no prior medical training. We design all Aerie courses with the understanding that individuals learn best when they are engaged in challenging, realistic scenarios led by professional educators who are active in the medical and rescue fields. With this philosophy, we train our students for difficult conditions and long-term patient care, where resources are limited and access to outside care is minimal.


Aerie presents at national and international conferences, collaborates with other experts in the field to shape wilderness medicine curricula, and is asked by many large organizations to consult on wilderness medicine and risk management. Some of the highlights include:

  • The Wilderness Medical Society's (WMS) Annual Conferences. WMS is the world's leading physician-based wilderness medicine organization, and Aerie has presented at numerous WMS conferences on drowning, swift water rescue (offered in conjunction with the Whitewater Rescue Institute), and management of envenomations.
  • Over twenty years of presentations at the Wilderness Risk Management Conferences, co-sponsored by NOLS, Outward Bound, and SCA. WRMC is the most prominent gathering of wilderness risk managers in the United States. Aerie presentation topics have included, "Spinal Injury Management in the Backcountry", "Managing Risk for Conservation Corps", "Trends in Injuries and Illnesses for Conservation Corps", "Preparing Your Employees to Teach Wilderness Medicine to Your Participants".
  • Keynote Speaker for Mount Rainier National Park's All-Staff Safety Training
  • Lead presentation, "Case Studies in Wilderness Medicine",at the annual Mussoorie Mountain Festival in Woodstock, India.
  • Featured presenter for the US Postal Service for their unveiling of the "First Responder" stamp.

Training Partners

Service is the core of Aerie's mission, and it is no coincidence that many of our training partners are conservation service corps and land-management agencies. We provide ongoing training to many other youth conservation corps, including:

  • Northwest Youth Corps
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Washington Conservation Corps
  • Montana Conservation Corps
  • Minnesota Conservation Corps

We provide training at many Universities, including:

  • The University of Montana (Aerie courses are offered for U of M credits)
  • Montana State University
  • Carroll College

In addition, Aerie provides regular training to:

  • US Forest Service and BLM Smokejumpers
  • USAF PJ and SERE Specialists
  • Hotshot and other wildlands firefighting crews
  • Search and Rescue teams
  • State and federal land agencies
  • Youth-at-risk programs
  • Private individuals


While we operate at an international level at some of the most beautiful locations in the world, we define ourselves by our service to individual students and the local communities where we teach. Our unique combination of national prominence and relatively small size allow us to remain abreast of the latest industry trends while never overlooking our individual students. Aerie instructors translate their experiences as paramedics, RNs, EMTs, mountain guides, firefighters and ski patrollers into practical, invaluable instruction in wilderness and urban medicine. We emphasize prevention, treatment before a condition worsens, and accurate assessment skills so you can tell the difference between a field-treatable injury and one that requires immediate evacuation. Aerie courses also help students to deal effectively with the special demands of improvising care, providing longer-term treatment, and the psychology of treating patients in remote locations

From our first aid kits to wilderness medicine courses to our division of rural and urban medical classes, Aerie is committed to offering only quality services and products. With this quality, we support our students, staff and the communities where we teach. Aerie instructors are as comfortable teaching in the Mojave Desert as in an air-conditioned classroom. You can enroll in one of our public courses, or we will travel to any location to train your staff. Please continue visiting our site for more information or contact our office.