This new seminar was developed with the need for more vigorous education, medical knowledge, and rescue techniques in austere mountain environments. Silverton EMS (Silverton San Juan County Ambulance Association), San Juan County Search and Rescue, Silverton Avalanche School, The Mountain Medicine Institute, LLC and University of New Mexico, School of Emergency Medicine, Diploma in Mountain Medicine Program have teamed up to provide state of the art medical education, the latest in mountain medicine, alpine rescue and high end avalanche awareness and education in one seminar.

Mountain Medicine Institute, LLC started in 2014 with a goal to combine mountain medicine with avalanche safety skills. This company was started to act as a foundation to provide mountain medicine education in combination with other mountain rescue/safety training paradigms. The goal is to provide high end, outcome-based wilderness medicine education with a hands on field component while combining skills in avalanche awareness, snow safety, mountain travel, and other general mountain travel and expedition skills. The courses are developed in the spirit of experiential education with future goals to provide mountain medicine education in other paradigms of rescue and safety (ie swift water rescue and technical rock rescue), but in the meantime will utilize human volunteers for training exercises. Please see outline for proposed course that is attached.

Silverton, Colorado is a very remote, mountainous environment that is experiencing a significant increase in high acuity/EMS calls especially in the remote backcountry and wilderness in our county. This has created a need to combine EMS and SAR in order for these patients to receive appropriate care and rescue. Over the last three years both of these agencies have merged their resources to meet this challenge.

Silverton EMS has been in service since 1972. It started out as an all-volunteer EMT-Basic service that evolved into an Intermediate Service. Since 2013, Silverton is an Advanced Life Support service that works in some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the lower 48 states. San Juan County has the highest mean elevation of any county in the United States. The county also has the most avalanche terrain in the U.S. and most avalanche chutes along a major highway. Silverton and San Juan County are very much like a national park in that there is year round tourism and backcountry experiences leading to some unique logistical and patient care challenges. Their EMS/SAR system meets and exceeds the definition of austere environments.

San Juan County Search and Rescue has been in existence since the early `70s. It was the first SAR team to get organized and technically trained to handle high altitude, climbing, avalanche rescues in addition to the normal rescue situations. In October of 2016 San Juan County SAR was voted in as a member of the International Comission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) which will allow it to stay on the forefront of mountain rescue and mountain medicine standards. Silverton Avalanche School is a division of San Juan County Search and Rescue.

The Silverton Avalanche School, located in Silverton, Colorado is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to avalanche safety education, and an American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) course provider. Courses are taught by nationally recognized members of the American Avalanche Association (A3), AIARE, and the Canadian Avalanche Association. Their instructors include CAIC staff, snow scientists, and a host of mountain rescue specialists. they adhere to the AAA’s Guidelines for Avalanche Course Curriculum. Many of the instructors present new methods at the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) and are active in researching the fundamentals of avalanche processes.  SAS and SJC SAR are the same non-profit organization. SAS joined the International Comission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) in 2016. 

The University of New Mexico International Mountain Medicine Center is one of the premier programs for mountain emergency medicine and rescue in the world. Our faculty consists of mountain rescue paramedics, emergency medicine physicians, and mountain guides. We focus our teachings on internationally accepted and evidence based concepts, and strive to contribute to the general knowledge base of our field through research, education, and our own mountain rescue practice in New Mexico. Our internationally recognized courses equip health professionals with the knowledge and skills to adapt their medical practices to the mountains. Students leave ready to become technical and medical leaders for rescue teams around the globe.

American Medical Association Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Wilderness Medical Society and The Mountain Medicine Institute LLC. The Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) designates this educational activity for a maximum number of 14 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Paramedics and EMT’s recieve Continuing Education credits approved through the State of Colorado and the State of New Mexico.

Symposium Faculty:

Charles W Mains, MD, FACS

Attended Duke Medical School and completed surgical residency at the University of Colorado Medical Center. He is board certified in surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr Mains is the trauma medical director at St Anthony’s Hospital, an American College of Surgeons verified Level I trauma center, and is the director of trauma for the Centura Health Trauma System which includes 15 Centura trauma centers and 8 other affiliated hospitals throughout Colorado and Kansas. He chairs the Mile High Regional Trauma and Emergency Medicine Advisory Council as well as the trauma center Designation Review Committee for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He is the author of numerous publications involving both basic science and clinical research, and often serves as an invited speaker on a wide variety of trauma topics. Activities include rock and ice climbing, skiing, fly fishing and biking.

Jay Mathers, DO, Symposium Planning Committee Member

John ‘Jay’ Mathers, DO graduated from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, he earned his BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1990 and graduated in 1994 with degrees in Geography, International Relations, Environmental Conservation and Biology.  While at CU-Boulder, Jay taught climbing and mountaineering courses for the University of Colorado Outdoor Program.  After graduating from CU-Boulder he went on to work for the Colorado Outward Bound School teaching mountaineering/technical climbing courses and working as a ski patrolman for the Telluride Ski Patrol.  In 1999, he worked his first VIP patrol with the Denali National Park Service at the 14200’ camp doing mountain rescue work for the park.  After this he participated in two more patrols, one in 2000, and then in 2005 as a 4th year medical student.  He has a fairly extensive mountaineering and climbing career in North and South America including; 4 summits of Denali–one via the Cassin Ridge, one ski descent from the summit and a ski traverse of Denali.  He has ascents in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru and has climbed in multiple places in North America with a few first ascents of rock climbing routes in Colorado and Utah.  Dr. Mathers graduated from medical school in 2006; he then trained in Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and practices rural emergency medicine and hospitalist medicine.  He is board certified in Family Medicine and is a fellow candidate in Wilderness Medicine.  He currently works in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Animas Surgical Hospital in Durango, CO.  

Manuel Genswein, Symposium Planning Committee Member

Manuel is a native of the Swiss Alps who lives in Meilen and has done snow-safety work in 29 countries. He is considered one of the preimminent researchers in avalanche rescue.  He has published over 30 peer reveiwed papers in the field of avalanche rescue. His research and techniques have become the standard approach in avalanche rescue. Using an electronic engineering background, he has also developed rescue products and techniques that have been applied around the world. He invented the Easy Searcher avalanche beacon training device used at many ski resorts around the world. He also developed the V-shaped conveyor-belt shoveling approach and the optimized search strategy for multiple burials.

Kimmet Holland NRP, Symposium  Planning Committee Member

Kimmet has an extensive 35 year EMS/Rescue/fire background. He started his EMS, Fire and SAR careers in the Albuquerque area in 1982. His experience includes volunteering with Bernalillo County Fire Dept. and Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council. He worked at Albuquerque Ambulance paramedic, field supervisor and left in 1998 as an operations supervisor. During this time he also worked part-time as a flight paramedic and for the Town of Bernalillo EMS. Kimmet started his fire career in 1998 with Santa Fe County Fire Department as he worked his way up the ranks from paramedic/FF, Lieutenant, and retired in 2012 after 8 years as Assistant Chief of Operations and Training. During this time he was the Chair of Santa Fe Community College EMS program’s advisory committee and the director of Santa Fe County Fire Department’s Academy.  Kimmet also worked part-time as a ski patroller for Santa Fe Ski Area. Currently he is the Director of Silverton’s EMS, Member of San Juan County Mountain Rescue and is on the Board of Directors for Silverton Avalanche School.  Some of his certified skills include: high/low angle rescue, swift water rescue, confined space and trench rescue and avalanche rescue. Hobbies include skiing, climbing, mountain/road biking, backpacking and rafting….to name a few.

Jason Williams BS, NRP, DiMM, Symposium Planning Committee Member

As Director of the International Mountain Medicine Center at the University of New Mexico, I oversee all Austere, Wilderness, and Mountain Medicine programs. I am the founder/director of UNM’s Diploma in Mountain Medicine program and co-direct the Wilderness Medicine Rotation for fourth year medical students and residents. I grew up in the world of EMS and SAR and have practiced my love of mountain rescue for over 15 years. Most recently I formed a specialized mountain rescue group through the UNM EMS Consortium called the Reach and Treat team. When I’m not at the university, I collaborate with Beverly Mountain Guides and have been an integral component to notable expeditions including a National Geographic documented excursion of the crystal caves in Mexico. I have rock climbed all over the world but know that nothing beats being perched on a granite cliff face in the Sandia Mountains with my life-long climbing partner/wife.

Jim Donovan, SAR Captain, EMT-B, Symposium  Planning Committee Member

Jim is an avid mountain rescue specialist.  He serves as the Emergency Manager for San Juan County and is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician based out of Silverton Colorado. He serves as the Captain for the San Juan County Search and Rescue Team and works on the local ambulance service. Jim is trained in high angle rescue and works on rock and ice mediums. He has extensive wilderness rescue experience, ranging from jungles to mountains. In the winter months he directs the Silverton Avalanche School, the historic and premier avalanche training program based in the heart of San Juan Mountains. He is an avid backcountry skier and enjoys climbing the mountains throughout the year. Formerly a conservation biologist, he has published peer reveiwed research on topics in ecology and genetics. He was also key in developing the International Search and Rescue Incident Database (ISRID), that is used world wide to aid in locating lost persons.  Jim has professional certifications in emergency management, avalanche and rope access work.

Leo Lloyd RN, NRP, Symposium  Planning Committee Member

Leo is currently the EMS Training Captain with Durango Fire & Rescue in Durango, Colorado. Much of Leo’s pre-hospital medical experience (over 30 years) has involved both ground ambulance paramedic responsibilities in the Durango area and 9 years as a critical care flight nurse / paramedic with the Air Care Medical Flight Program based in Farmington, New Mexico. Leo has been an active member of the La Plata County Search and Rescue in Durango since 1985. He is also an instructor with Rigging for Rescue based in Ouray, Colorado. In addition to being an active climber (rock and ice), ultra-runner, and backcountry skier, Leo is also a husband (wife Susie) and father of three boys.

Stoney Molina NRP, Symposium Planning Committee Member

Stoney grew up in a small agricultural and mining community in western Colorado and spent most of his young life reading and playing soccer. He began his career in outdoor recreation and education at Colorado Mesa University’s (CMU) Outdoor Program in 2009. Since then, he has traveled domestically and internationally to ski, climb, bike, boat, scuba dive, and induce cultural disorientation.  He has worked professionally for Adventure Bound River Expeditions (Grand Junction, CO), and Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (Ashford, WA). He has studied wilderness and prehospital medicine through CMU, the National Outdoor Leadership School,  Professional EMS Education (Grand Junction, CO), and completed his firefighter and rescue certifications through San Juan College (Farmington, NM), Durango Fire Rescue (Durango, CO), and Rigging for Rescue (Ouray, CO). When he’s not working he enjoys eating food, hunting, and hanging out with his chocolate lab, Clark.

Ryan Mason NRP, Symposium Planning Committee Member

Originally from the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I grew up adventuring in the Delaware River Valley and the surrounding hills. I was drawn to Colorado for college by Colorado State University’s school of Natural Resources. In May of 2006 after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, I was looking for a ski town. I discovered Telluride and began pursuing a path of Ski Patrolling and river guiding. After a few years of Ski Patrol I began to find another passion, Emergency Medicine. For many summers I gained experience guiding class IV and V whitewater on the upper Arkansas River while pursuing river guiding professionally on the Colorado River though the Grand Canyon. In 2011, I began River Guiding Professionally in Grand Canyon. While also volunteering as an EMT for Telluride EMS, I was sponsored for an EMT-I99 program. I worked two years for Telluride EMS and Ski Patrol as an EMT-I99 before applying to Paramedic School. 2014 I started HealthONE’s Paramedic Education Program in Denver, Colorado. December 2015 I graduated with an Associates of Science degree in Paramedicine. Since Paramedic school I continue to Ski Patrol, Ski guide and River guide. After working a short time in Farmington New Mexico as a Paramedic I was lucky enough to find my current position at Silverton San Juan Ambulance Association. I continue this journey in Paramedicine while balancing and blending my passions for mountains and rivers.

2018 Speakers To Be Announced

Sponsors of Silverton Mountain Medicine Symposium