Courses — 14 July 2023 at 9:49 am

Winter Expedition Medicine and Leadership Course, Endeavour Medical: A Review

Dr Jenny Baker / Clinical Fellow in Emergency Medicine / Edinburgh

Founded in 2021, Endeavour Medical is a new provider of wilderness and expedition medical training. Their large team of faculty boasts decades of experience in multiple extreme environments including mountain, jungle, polar, and desert with countless teaching and academic accolades to their name. Endeavour Medical delivers an array of courses, including global health and sports medicine courses as well as wilderness, expedition, and leadership offerings. Based in Morzine it provided the perfect location for easy access to the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps and is just 1 hour drive from Geneva airport. The course was run by Dr Lucy Sykes (Stroke consultant in Dorset and consultant for the Wessex Ghana Stroke Partnership), Dr Alex Taylor (ST3 Emergency Medicine trainee) and Dr Jon Dallimore (GP and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Expedition Medicine) who, between them, have a huge range of experience in global health and expedition medicine and are passionate about sharing their knowledge.

Key Facts

Duration: Five days. One day of lecture-based online learning and four practical days in Morzine comprising of scenarios, workshops, and discussions.

Dates: January

Location: Morzine, French Alps

Cost: £995. Inclusive of luxury chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and cake and dinner. Travel to course not included. Discount available to students.

Number of delegates: 12 participants (doctors and medical students).

Prerequisites: None, morning skiing is a course component but not essential.

End qualification: Course attendance certificate (worth 40 CPD points). Opportunities to complete Supervised Learning Events (including case-based discussions and clinical evaluation exercises).

Course website:

Course Content

Lectures include:

  • Hypothermia and hyperthermia
  • Altitude medicine
  • Mental health in the remote setting
  • Medical kit and pain management
  • Global health and sustainability
  • Tropical and dive medicine

Practical sessions include:

  • Patient assessment in remote environments
  • Injury taping and splinting
  • Scenarios involving leadership and medical management, often using real-life examples experienced by the instructors
  • Confidence roping and movement in the snow
  • Nutrition

The Course

Delegates arrived the night before the course began at the chalet in Morzine. The fire was roaring; we got to know each other and discussed our aims for the week over cups of tea.

The course began with an introductory talk from one of the leaders on keeping yourself safe in the mountains. Endeavour’s founder, Lucy, had done a snow dance and it certainly paid off; a large dump the week before meant there was plenty of snow, so we hit the slopes. Each morning we explored the pistes, with Jon helping the less confident skiers fuelled by hot chocolates. Morning skiing was not essential and there was plenty to do in beautiful surroundings, or just relax and enjoy the hot tub at the chalet. We were blessed with ‘bluebird’ days, giving us beautiful views over the Alps, across Chamonix and the summit of Mont Blanc. Morning skiing was followed by tea and cake at the chalet before the afternoon teaching.

Teaching was delivered as a mix of small group scenario work (building on the pre-course lecture series), practical sessions and discussions around key focus areas. The scenarios involved altitude medicine and human factors allowing delegates to put their newly learnt knowledge to the test. Discussions varied from sustainability and ethics to mental health on expedition. Over the week, everyone shared their experiences and feelings towards these topics. A personal highlight included listening to personal methods of coping with mental health on expedition. It was great to hear everyone’s tips and learn from each other.

Practical sessions included trauma care; practising with splints and traction, and a local physiotherapist showed us how to use tape to protect joints in soft tissue injuries. There were no achy limbs on the mountain after that! The chalet garden was used for practical scenarios. One example was running up the hill practising stepping in deep snow before some work with confidence roping and rescuing Alex where she had fallen down a slope close to the river and broken her wrist.

On the final evening, we consolidated our learning to rescue the facilitators, Jon and Alex who had fallen sustaining multiple injuries. Caring for and moving patients in the snow added a whole extra dimension, forcing us to move quickly to stop the patient from getting cold.

Evenings were filled with talks from each of the faculty members about their careers. It was great to hear their individual stories and experiences; Jon and Alex have so much experience in expedition medicine and Lucy has helped to develop stroke care in Ghana and the Gambia – between them, they had a lot of advice and made us feel like anything was possible. These were followed by a 3-course dinner and plenty of wine. One night we went into Morzine for local mountain dishes.

The Verdict

Overall, it was a great course. The pre-course lectures allowed the afternoon teaching to be interactive and practical. Morzine was such a perfect base with excellent skiing for all abilities. The chalet was in a beautiful setting; there are not many places better to practice traction splints than in front of a log fire whilst there’s knee-deep snow outside and the stars are shining. Unlimited wine and a hot tub aren’t bad either.

As well as the formal teaching sessions there was plenty of time to chat with the faculty and to learn from each other’s experiences. It’s hard not to be inspired when surrounded by a group of such like-minded people. By the end of the week, there were lots of plans afoot for expeditions and future meet-ups in Scotland and beyond.

Top Tips

  • Make time to watch the online videos before the course
  • Arrive early to make the most of the skiing
  • Bring your swimming kit for the hot tub at the chalet
  • Make the most of your downtime with like-minded people and experienced expedition medics to get ideas and inspiration for the future
  • Log your CPD time and reflect on what you took away from the course


Photos courtesy of Dr Jenny Baker