The Banff Wilderness Care Conference is an annual two-day conference focuses on issues faced by medical care providers operating in the wilderness or other austere environments.  A well-balanced event combining lecture style didactic sessions and outdoor workshops, provide participants an enjoyable yet informative event.

After our morning lecture series, each day participants can choose multiple one hour workshop, or participate in a single immersive event that includes exploring parts of our historic Banff National Park.  Our content experts are well qualified and passionate about what they do, and they bring that passion to this event.  The Rocky Mountains our location provides an amazing venue, which in May includes winter and summer conditions and allows for workshops ranging from avalanche rescue and snow shelters to water survival and mountain biking trips.  We are proudly one of Canada’s only opportunities for a wilderness conference experience.

June 8th: Pre-Conference: Slope Rescue (8:00am – 4:00pm)

June 8th: Early Registration and Social: Banff Park Lodge (4:30pm – onwards)

June 9th: Main Conference (8:00am – 4:00pm)

June 10th: Main Conference (8:00am – 4:00pm)

Pre-Conference: Slope Rescue Workshop 

​Specifically developed for the Banff Wilderness Care Conference and taught by Raven Rescue (, this basic one-day course will immerse participants in slope and bank-over style rescues applied in remote wilderness settings using minimal gear and equipment.  This program will be very immersive with lots of hands on time to practice the skills you will be learning.  Ski patrollers, rural EMS workers, hunters, scramblers, and paddlers only name a few who would likely find this program very valuable.    (Disclosure –  This workshop is being sponsored by Raven Rescue, a full-service rescue training agency. They are providing both equipment and instructors and are solely responsible for content.)

Early Registration and Social: Banff Park Lodge 

Join us for a pint of beer, register for the conference, meet new people and catch up with old friends, while we celebrate the start of a new conference. Plan to join fellow conference goers at the Banff Park Lodge.


STARS simulation bus – STARS

Join the STARS simulation team who will be providing hi-fidelity wilderness-based medicine scenarios in a setting that resembles an ambulance or rural care centre. If you work rural EMS or at a rural hospital or nursing station where wilderness related issues are common this experience is well suited for you.

Hemorrhage control – by Peter Symons
In this one-hour workshop you will discuss various hemorrhage control techniques and have the opportunity to have hands on practice using a variety of commercially available devices. Reduce space in your first aid kit by replacing bulky dressings with other items to deal with severe hemorrhage.

Hypothermia wraps – By Craig McArthur   
This one-hour workshop will provide participants the opportunity to discuss and practice techniques in dealing with one of the most common complications found in wilderness care. Hypothermia care should be part of any treatment plan when dealing with illness and injury in an austere environment. If you are not 100% comfortable with the recommended treatment/prevention technique, then this workshop is a must.

Improvised carries – by Kevin McNiff
In this one-hour workshop participants will have the opportunity to discuss and practice various methods of improvised evacuation techniques.   Many wilderness situations may involve having to move the injured or ill patient and often a stretcher is not an option. Learn how you can effectively move someone to a safe area, to camp, or to meet rescuers.

Wound Closure and Suturing – Dr. J Jenkins
This one-hour workshop participants will have the opportunity to practice their suturing skills and discuss and try other wound closure techniques.

Improvised Splints – Peter Symons
This one-hour workshop will review, and provide opportunity for participants to practice applying various splinting techniques using items that may be on hand in the austere environment. Proper splinting will do wonders in reducing pain and anxiety in our injured patients, this workshop will help equipped participants with some crafty techniques to make this happen.

Shelters – Kevin McNiff
This one-hour workshop will have participants discuss and build various emergency shelters. In survival there is a theory of the rule of 3’s. The second (3 minutes of air being first on the list) most important task to deal with in a survival situation is shelter/fire. If during an incident in the wilderness a decision is made to shelter in place, then an effective shelter is needed.   Simple concepts will ensure what you have constructed is providing the maximum benefit.


Improvised Rope Rescue – TBA (additional costs required)

Immediate evacuation of an injured or ill person from the back country may be necessary, and organized rescue may not always be available. Learn some simple techniques that will assist in identifying terrain that may be amenable for rapid evacuation, and how to safely move through that terrain. Using minimal ropes and equipment learn the limits of improvised systems, their appropriateness, and how to use them to get out of a situation that could turn much more serious if you were to shelter in place.

Simulated back-country rescue – Dave Watt
During this three-hour workshop participants will have the opportunity to put what they know to test and participate in a simulated back-country rescue. Put yourself in the shoes of a semi-organized rescue team and learn first-hand some of the difficulties faced in providing care in a challenging mountainous environment.

Caving experience – Canmore Cave Tours (Extra cost involved though Tour Operator)
Join Canmore Cave Tours underground in Rats Nest Cave on their Explorer Tour. The Explorer Tour may be our shortest cave tour, but it is by no means short on fun and excitement. You will spend approximately 2 hours underground exploring this amazing playground, passing ancient bones and cave formations along the way! Cost for this experience will be $110+tax (that’s $20 off) made through Canmore Cave Tours and will begin at 1300 in Canmore.

Bear Safety – Bow Valley Wildsmart (extra cost – $25)
Play with bear spray! Join local experts in discussing how to identify bear species, habitat, and behaviour.   During this three-hour workshop participants will then have the opportunity to discuss and practice how to prevent and deal with encounters with bears including using inert bear spray.

Helicopter Operations / Orientation – Parks Canada Visitor Safety
Evacuation of patients from the wilderness, especially in the Canadian Rockies, often involves using rotary winged aircraft.   These machines are highly efficient in performing this role but they do come with a large increase in risk to everyone involved.   This three-hour workshop is intended to orientate and review basic safety procedures and principles involved with rotary winged operations including operating around Heli-sling (short haul) long line operations.


STARS simulation bus – STARS

Join the STARS simulation team who will be providing hi-fidelity wilderness-based medicine scenarios in a setting that resembles an ambulance or rural care centre. If you work rural EMS or at a rural hospital or nursing station where wilderness related issues are not uncommon this experience is well suited for you.

Knots and rope basics – Clayton Williams
This one-hour workshop is an introduction or review of basic rope skills and common knots used when using ropes. Whether you are lashing a splint to a leg, setting up a simple improvised haul system or part of an organized rope rescue team. Understanding and practicing the “basics” is critical to how effective the rope work will be. This workshop is recommended for anyone who does not consider themselves and “expert” in working with ropes. A must for the uninitiated and for those with experience this opportunity should be taken to practice those skills.

Medical Kits – Mac Wardle
During this one-hour workshop participants will discuss and view a variety of different medical kit concepts and ideas.   It would be ideal to have everything you need for every medical issue you may encounter when travelling in the back-country. We know that this is not realistic. Deciding what is really needed, and discovering how some items may be good for multiple purposes will help us along our way in creating the “perfect” medical kit.

Water Purification – Craig McArthur
This one-hour workshop is really a must for back country enthusiasts and travellers.   Dive deeper than what good marketing has taught most of us about water purification. Clean water is fundamental for our health and safety. If you have not taken this workshop before we highly recommend that you attend.

MacGuyer medicine – Mac Wardle
During this one-hour workshop participants will have the opportunity to have lots of hands on practice discovering how various supplies in your medical kit can be used in a variety of settings, or modified to help in ways you didn’t know they could be used.


Avalanche rescue scenario – TBA

Review proper use of avalanche beacons, probe use, and shovelling techniques, and then put those skills to use in a real time avalanche rescue scenario. Once your victims are found and dug free, learn a team approach to providing appropriate care. This workshop will be performed in a snowy environment, participants are responsible to have appropriate footwear and clothing.   Additional equipment may be required to be provided by participants (avalanche beacon, probe shovel etc)

Snow evacuation – MTN Guiding ($25)
A person in your group has just injured their knee 1km away from the hut you are staying in. The group’s best option is to move the injured person to the hut and await organized rescue in the morning. Join ACMG guides from MTN Guiding to learn and practice how to build an improvised sled to move an sick or injured person using backcountry ski equipment.

Mountain Biking and emergency field repair – Mike Milne
Mountain bike local trails with long-time local Mike Milne. While enjoying great single track the group will stop and discuss simple emergency field repair for common issues encountered while mountain biking. These techniques might make the difference between getting home or being in a survival situation stuck in the back country. A must for anyone who does extended trips away from civilized areas. (participants will need to have their own bicycle, and helmets are mandatory)

Building a remote access team into your EMS System – Renfrew County Paramedics
This three-hour workshop is being hosted by the Renfrew County (Ontario) Paramedic Service and is intended to convey the pearls and pitfalls in creating their Remote Access Treatment Team (RATT).

Emergency Airway and Bleeding Control by CTOMs – CTOMs
This workshop will cover management of massive hemorrhage and the traumatic airway in an escalation of interventions.  With the use of task trainers, porcine pluck, and each other as training models, we’ll progress through basic to advanced procedures.  We’ll discuss why some interventions are more effective than others, and dispel some common dogmatic practices as likely less desirable than alternatives.  Join us for some critical thinking, skills practice, and to get your hands dirty.  (disclosure – This workshop is being sponsored by CTOMs, a medical device manufacturer and provider of specialized training. They are providing both equipment and instructors and are solely responsible for content.)

Via ferrata – Mt. Norquay (additional costs through tour provider)
Try out this 2.5hr Explorer tour along Mt. Norquays Via ferrata. An assisted climbing experience along the cliffs above Mt Norquay, you and your ACMG guide will climb ladders, cross suspension bridges and experience views of Banff rarely seen before. . An additional cost of $149+tax must be purchased through Mt. Norquay prior to the June 10th.

Traditional medicine workshop is not available at this time. We are working on finding some great facilitators to host this workshop this year. Please register for the workshop that are available at this time. If we do get this program up and running it will be posted, participants will be emailed and you can switch at that time.

(If you may want to participate in this workshop we recommend that you DO NOT sign up for the caving or via ferrata as we cannot reimburse you if you do not meet their cancelation policy)