“Remember the view, and breathe,” Sarah Schlein, M.D., FACEP, advised her student, Nina Feinberg ’23, as Feinberg prepared to descend a steep rock face in Vermont’s west Bolton woods. Clutching the rope clipped to her waist harness, Feinberg took a deep breath and backed down the crag, with fellow medical students cheering her on. After a few hesitant steps, she looked around: “Okay, I’m fine, it’s really pretty.”
Rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, hiking and camping are among the activities that fourth-year medical students participate in during a two-week elective course in Wilderness Medicine. The intensive curriculum takes students out of the hospital and into the woods, lakes, and mountains to learn and practice skills for rescuing people from drowning, diving accidents, altitude sickness, hypothermia, crush injuries, and suspension trauma.