Blog No. One

December 1, 2016


Welcome to Desert Mountain Medicine’s Blog Page.

The first of many blog posts to come.

Who am I?

Well, I’m Ashley. Nice to meet you. I was born in Alaska, lived in an igloo and rode my pet polar bear to school everyday. I currently split my time between being a Staff Trainer, Course Director, and Instructor for the Outward Bound School in Colorado/Alaska and dispatching for a Heli Ski company up North in Haines, Alaska. I am fascinated by wilderness medicine, and the person that inspires me to want to be curious and expand my knowledge to do this work is Nadia Kimmel.

Who’s Nadia?

Good question. Nadia is “the driving force behind Desert Mountain Medicine. Frustrated by her initial classroom bound ‘wilderness medicine course’, Nadia envisioned a more experiential wilderness medicine curriculum based in the field, drew up a business plan, and christened it Desert Mountain Medicine. Outside Magazine voted her one of ’25 Goddesses Who Rule’ in 2003 for her inspired vision in starting the business.”

Nadia is currently an ER Nurse at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and also works as a nutritional consultant with a focus on whole-food nutrition for endurance athletes in Wilson, Wyoming.

So, what brought you to this website? Well, your curiosity and desire to learn, I imagine. And you came to the right place.

In our blog, we are excited to post things like:

  • Scenarios for you to keep your muscle memory fresh
  • New medicine protocols as they arise in our ever changing world of medicine
  • Bios on our incredible instructors
  • Interviews
  • Desert Mountain Medicine’s own student experiences
  • Legal issues
  • New course offerings
  • Deals on courses and gear
  • Medical myth busters
  • And much more.

You can expect bi-monthly posts to launch every 1st/15th of every month, so keep checking back.

But before you go, I would like to formally introduce you to Elsa Tharp. She is Desert Mountain Medicine’s newest employee. She is the Logistician.


Hi Elsa! We are so glad you are apart of the DMM Family! Can you explain a little about your role here at DMM?

I am currently the Logistics Coordinator for DMM. It is a new role, and an evolving one. My goal with it is to set systems in place so that the logistics will mainly run itself. All I am doing for now is following Nadia’s lead. Check back in in a year and I would bet that my job will look pretty different.

What is your proudest moment?

Most of the time I am proud of others. I feel better about the general state of the world when I recognize the courage and spirit of everyone around me. I was truly proud of myself just for me when I labored my 2 children into the world. Giving birth to life in a snowstorm, on my own two feet, in my home was an experience that opened my eyes to what I am truly capable of. It is the wellspring of strength that I pull from when I need conviction to become my best self.

Wow! A mountain of strength! What is it that you want to do when you grow up?

I haven’t met my adult potential yet, which is ok since we are capable until we die I suppose. My heart yearns to be a force in my community that empowers women. I am parallel processing this desire all the time; I look for that empowerment that will push me out there and just try. When that happens, Leadville [Colorado] will have a space that is safe, communal, educational, and inspirational. I hope it will be a hub the way women are a hub. We are all races, cultures, creeds, sexual orientations, and abilities. For now I just try to be a place of integrity and love for the women currently in my life and those I come across every moment of the day.

It sounds like you are a very passionate person, Elsa! Can you talk a little bit about why you are passionate about Mountain Medicine?

My last WFR recertification class was with DMM. It was humbling to step out of that class and realize that though I had held the certification for 10 years, I had only begun to feel I was worthy of it. I truly believe that DMM holds its students and clients to the standard that the wilderness medicine curriculums are striving for. After depending on other WFRs for my well being for so many years, and being responsible for children’s lives in the back-country, this standard of excellence is something I want to get behind.

I agree fully. Elsa, tell us what makes you laugh the hardest.

This is what my husband does before he gets into bed. We lived on a homestead with a flock of domestic turkeys in 2011 and he adopted some Tom Turkey mannerisms in attempt to woo me. Every night he takes his clothes off and circles the bed in fine turkey form. It’s funniest when I tell people at work parties, or when he gets others to practice with him. Also, when other people clap and cheer for me. I get a kick out of that.

Welcome to the Desert Mountain Medicine family Mrs. Elsa Tharp!

Interview dated November 29, 2016

Other News To Note:

Did you know that DMM has gone digital!?

That’s right!

We have gone to digital cards that will be stored on your account on the DMM website. You may download them at your convenience making it seamless for you to send to an employer. Now you can print and laminate them yourself! And, if you happen to lose it, print it again! Easy as that!

Here is how it works: When you pass a course with Desert Mountain Medicine, you will receive an email with a login and password. This allows you access to an account where you can print your card wherever you are at any time. It’s more convenient for you. And we hope you like that.

So again, I’m Ashley and thank you for reading Blog Number 1.

If you have any feedback, comments or even questions regarding wilderness medicine that you would like me to address in a blog issue, send me an email at [email protected]

Until next time.

Play Hard, and Be Safe.
Ashley from Alaska