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soulclimber11


Nov 25, 2004, 5:25 PM
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Alpine First Aid Kit
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From a two to five day climb..What is best recommended for a first aid kit..I will be climbing in the Sierras in the winter...Any and all factual opions will be greatly appreciated.


gohighgodeep


Nov 25, 2004, 7:16 PM
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SAM splint (at least one, 2 is better) 2+ bandages, safety pin, notepad/pencil, heat packs, ace bandage as well as the usual band-aids and the stuff for the mundane little scrapes and nicks... painkillers are always good too... you may want to talk to your doctor and see about getting a small supply of high grade painkillers for serious emergencies. an emergency blanket is good too.. most important thing to do is stay safe and keep your wits about you... and always tell someone where you're intending to be and when you'll get back.


akicebum


Nov 25, 2004, 8:42 PM
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Go light. The sam splint is a good idea, but you have a lot of things that you will be carrying that work just as well. A foam pad and a MSR wind shield will work for any arm splinting and a foam pad will work for a leg injury. That SAM splint is the sam size as 1000 calories worth of GU or 12oz of fuel. Heat packs are a very temporary fix. You can heat water if need be, but those little hand warmers won't do as much as you would like and the big ones are heavy and you could always have more fuel. Your best bet is pain killers, one or two the those occlusive gore badages, some steristrips, a couple of 4*4s, a knife, tape, couple typical Bandaids, and the cell phone. This should fit into a bag not much bigger than your average wallet. This leaves you more room for extra food when you ditch your injured member to go and get help, or to wait until help arrives. You aren't going to go George Clooney in the field so these items will cover you for any injuries you could do anything for.
It sounds like you don't have a WFR. The best tool you have in the backcountry is your mind.


mainline


Nov 25, 2004, 10:57 PM
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akicebum was right when he said you can improvise almost anything with the gear you already have. Seriously consider taking a Wilderness First Responder Course (WFR).

Things I always carry in the mountains no matter how long or short the adventure:

Whistle
Compass
Very small knife "arm cutter"
Iodine tablets (work well cleaning water and sterilizing wounds)
Sunblock
Ibuprofin
Fire starter of some sort


Partner tradman


Nov 26, 2004, 4:26 AM
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If you don't know any first aid:

Ibuprofen
Aspirin
Salt tablets
Dressing strip
knife
Whistle
Compeed / blister plasters
tweezers
Duck tape

If you know a little first aid, add:

Crepe bandage
Triangular bandage
Sterile dressings (various)
Styptic powder

If you really know what you're doing add:

Needles
Surgical gut
Hypodermic & sharps
Assorted goodies for the above
Scalpel
cannula
haemostatic cord


glockaroo


Nov 26, 2004, 5:59 AM
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Go light. The sam splint is a good idea, but you have a lot of things that you will be carrying that work just as well. A foam pad and a MSR wind shield will work for any arm splinting and a foam pad will work for a leg injury. That SAM splint is the sam size as 1000 calories worth of GU or 12oz of fuel.

I agree w/ going light and improvising. However, keep in mind the results of using up core gear for first aid. If you use your foam pad to splint your partner's leg, who gets to sleep/sit without a pad now? If you use the MSR shield on an arm, be ready to have your stove blown out. Etcetera, etcetera.

I'm not saying don't improvise, just keep in mind the side effects.

BTW, my SAM splint weighs 4oz, so that's about 400 calories of GU.

Glock-A-Roo
NREMT-I


iceisnice


Nov 26, 2004, 2:30 PM
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for alpine? don't worry too much about a first aid kit. a couple of gauze and tape is all you need. anything that requires more equipement is serious enough that your concern is getting the person out of there or getting help. if injuries are that serious that you can't get yourself or the other person out by yourself, a first aid kit won't do anything. education is the most important thing. as a paramedic and someone very active in SAR and an avid alpinist i would say go light and be prepared to adapt. carrying SAMsplints and all that just adds weight and it gives you a false sense of security. as someone mentioned above, educate yourself. that is the most important thing. knowing when to get help and when to adapt and overcome the situation yourself, can be the most useful tool. most people go into the mountains over prepared when it comes to equipement, or underprepared when it comes to knowledge.


climbingnurse


Nov 26, 2004, 2:42 PM
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Most important ingredient in your first aid kit: training

That said, I don't leave home without:
-ibuprophen
-duct tape
-iodine
-exam gloves (non-latex)
-cpr shield
-bunches of 4" x 4" gauze pads
-knife of some sort (but preferably a rescue blade)

And I tend to carry:
-SAM splint
-trauma shears
-nail clippers
-band-aids and steri-strips
-kerlex
-immodium
-benadryl
-note pad and pen/pencil
-and some things I'm forgetting right now.

I'll second the notion that heat packs are pretty much palliative in nature. Much better to keep yourself warm and hydrated. I don't think heat packs are worth their weight.


anykineclimb


Nov 26, 2004, 9:57 PM
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remember the old addage,

"I you carry it you'll use it"

so don't carry a 1st aid kit and you'll never need to use it! hehe

but seriously. Like others have said, knowledge will get you through most accidents/ injuries.

Multi use items are always good.
Duct tape
your pack frame stays/ backpad can be improvised as a splint.
Superglue repair equipment AND skin!

For trauma, a sandwich size ziploc is enough to carry a few 4x4's, bandaids, etc. Sanitary napkins are great too. really

Keep in mind, where you're going and for how long will determine what and how much you'll carry. For short day/ weekend trips I'll take much less compared to week plus jaunts in another country.


sixleggedinsect


Nov 28, 2004, 1:05 PM
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In reply to:
for alpine? don't worry too much about a first aid kit. a couple of gauze and tape is all you need.

thank you!

In reply to:
If you really know what you're doing add:

Needles
Surgical gut
Hypodermic & sharps
Assorted goodies for the above
Scalpel
cannula
haemostatic cord

um, dude? trolling? if you really know what you're doing, bring a few snickers bars instead, and a spare polypro. i dont know a single climber who has the knowledge to use that gear that would bring *any* of it on a climb. period.

if you insist on packing a FA kit on a climb, let alone an alpine climb, let alone an alpine climb in the winter, bring stuff that is absolutely versatile. gauze and tape are impossible to fake, so they're nice. safety pins, a few tabs of ibouprofen, the foam pad you already have, a bit of p-cord, a bivy sack. that is worth a hell of a lot more than SAMs, 'space blankets', and the ER-in-a-box.

anthony


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Nov 29, 2004, 5:10 AM
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um, dude? trolling? if you really know what you're doing, bring a few snickers bars instead, and a spare polypro. i dont know a single climber who has the knowledge to use that gear that would bring *any* of it on a climb. period.

No, not trolling.

Anyone who's ever climbed in the mountains knows that you routinely carry lots of stuff that you don't need until you need it. And then when you need it, you REALLY need it.

Unlike in your remarkably self-centered little world, I'm not carrying the extra first aid gear to save myself. I'm carrying it because I could be the first arrival at the scene of a serious accident involving a stranger. And just so you know, I have used every single item on that list except the cannula in an emergency, and there's not one piece that I'd be without in the same situation.

So, seeing as you're extremely clever and can get by with some snickers and a few tabs of ibuprofen, why don't you tell us all how you'd treat a falling injury which consists of a massive open fracture of the femur which has lacerated an artery?

Come on, tell us all how you'd use "a few snickers bars and a spare polypro" to treat that. It's -20C and night is falling. I've done it with my first aid kit, let's hear how you'd do it with yours.


cjstudent


Nov 29, 2004, 6:47 AM
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um, dude? trolling? if you really know what you're doing, bring a few snickers bars instead, and a spare polypro. i dont know a single climber who has the knowledge to use that gear that would bring *any* of it on a climb. period.

No, not trolling.

Anyone who's ever climbed in the mountains knows that you routinely carry lots of stuff that you don't need until you need it. And then when you need it, you REALLY need it.

Unlike in your remarkably self-centered little world, I'm not carrying the extra first aid gear to save myself. I'm carrying it because I could be the first arrival at the scene of a serious accident involving a stranger. And just so you know, I have used every single item on that list except the cannula in an emergency, and there's not one piece that I'd be without in the same situation.

So, seeing as you're extremely clever and can get by with some snickers and a few tabs of ibuprofen, why don't you tell us all how you'd treat a falling injury which consists of a massive open fracture of the femur which has lacerated an artery?

Come on, tell us all how you'd use "a few snickers bars and a spare polypro" to treat that. It's -20C and night is falling. I've done it with my first aid kit, let's hear how you'd do it with yours.


Haha, yea.

Having just completed WFR, i agree its a touchy situation on what to take. We had a "big name mountaineer" come to my college campus a year or two ago and he said the only thing he had in his first aid kit was duct tape and toilet paper.

I think its a trade off. I have a very small (it fits in a half size plastic sandwhich bag) first aid kit that I take on all climbing trips, I even haul it up a multi-pitch with me. Its pretty basic:

A few 3x4" gauze bandages
1" tape
1 pair of gloves
3 epi ampules & 3 syringes (not epi-pens...)
few bandaids
few tabs of ibuprofen and/or tylenol
few asprin tabs
CPR mask (like the microshield...)
a soap note & small pen
a few benadryl tabs
small amount of marking tape (so a trail can be marked for evac, or to find way back to accident scene after going for help)
1 small ace bandage


The whole thing is really light, and for the most part is what I feel that I need. Of course if its a day hike, or short trip to a sport area i take alot more. (like cravats and stuff...) But the above first aid kit is what i take when weight is an issue and room to carry it would be a problem.


On an alipine adventure I would probably take the same stuff. You can improvise alot of the things you need. I leave behind the sam splints. In WFR we were taught to improvise alot of stuff, and were only able to use what we brought along. I don't take a whole rolling mini-ER in my backpack just in case i would come along an injured party. SURE...if I found someone injured I would do everything within my realm of care and safety for me and my party to help them. The first thing u should think about is the safety of yourself and your party. I'm not going to put my best friend's life in grave danger to do a rescue. But we would do all that we could before it began to cross the scene safety line. (Environment!)

I have to say though, if I was on an alpine climb and came across an injured person with an open femur fracture with arterial bleeding, that would be a bad case. EVAC would be the best thing for him, ASAP. sure you could take care of the femur fracture with a traction splint, but i wouldn't want to bivy over night with major arterial bleeding. Most of us aren't wilderness doctors.

(disclaimer: I'm only a WFR. The suggestions made were only listing what I take and what I do. its not a recommendation so don't flame me. Another note, WFR has me interested in wilderness medicine so next semester i will hopefully be getting my EMT basic)


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Nov 29, 2004, 7:01 AM
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I like your addition of the marking tape for evac. I've heard some folks carry a flare for chopper pickups, but I've never found a way to justify the weight and bulk to myself.

You're quite right about having to judge the environment too. The circumstances I described were compounded by the fact that there was no mobile phone reception and the cloud was too low for a night pickup by chopper anyway. Every option looked risky. There may have been some risk in what we eventually decided to do, but it was a balance of the risk to all 3 of us, with the casualty's just as carefully considered as our own.


anykineclimb


Nov 29, 2004, 7:10 AM
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um, dude? trolling? if you really know what you're doing, bring a few snickers bars instead, and a spare polypro. i dont know a single climber who has the knowledge to use that gear that would bring *any* of it on a climb. period.

No, not trolling.

Anyone who's ever climbed in the mountains knows that you routinely carry lots of stuff that you don't need until you need it. And then when you need it, you REALLY need it.

Unlike in your remarkably self-centered little world, I'm not carrying the extra first aid gear to save myself. I'm carrying it because I could be the first arrival at the scene of a serious accident involving a stranger. And just so you know, I have used every single item on that list except the cannula in an emergency, and there's not one piece that I'd be without in the same situation.

So, seeing as you're extremely clever and can get by with some snickers and a few tabs of ibuprofen, why don't you tell us all how you'd treat a falling injury which consists of a massive open fracture of the femur which has lacerated an artery?

Come on, tell us all how you'd use "a few snickers bars and a spare polypro" to treat that. It's -20C and night is falling. I've done it with my first aid kit, let's hear how you'd do it with yours.

jeez, thats an easy one.
direct pressure to the artery to slow/ stop bleeding. maybe throw on a tourniquet, if need be. Use trekking pole pole for traction splint.

If you want to get fancy, clamp off the artery with your leatherman, tape the handles together and the secure the bugger to the patient.

Ta-DA!!


sixleggedinsect


Nov 29, 2004, 7:41 AM
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In reply to:
Anyone who's ever climbed in the mountains knows that you routinely carry lots of stuff that you don't need until you need it. And then when you need it, you REALLY need it.

Unlike in your remarkably self-centered little world, I'm not carrying the extra first aid gear to save myself. I'm carrying it because I could be the first arrival at the scene of a serious accident involving a stranger. And just so you know, I have used every single item on that list except the cannula in an emergency, and there's not one piece that I'd be without in the same situation.

ok, dude. anyone who's ever climbed in the mountains knows that you routinely carry lots of stuff that weigh you down, thereby making the climb more difficult. carrying first aid gear that isnt versatile isn't worth it. even search and rescue folks won't carry the junk you state you regularly carry unless they're both trained, *and* know in advance the injury would need such tools. and even then they might go without because wilderness environments are generally not appropriate times/places to be indulging yourself in ALS techniques, suturing folks closed, etc.

In reply to:
So, seeing as you're extremely clever and can get by with some snickers and a few tabs of ibuprofen, why don't you tell us all how you'd treat a falling injury which consists of a massive open fracture of the femur which has lacerated an artery?

Come on, tell us all how you'd use "a few snickers bars and a spare polypro" to treat that. It's -20C and night is falling. I've done it with my first aid kit, let's hear how you'd do it with yours.

immediate manual traction, direct pressure with a tshirt first if the bleeding is bad enough, improvised traction splint, dressing, blah blah blah. right out of the WFR book. how the hell do all those professional search and rescue teams save lives with mere EMT and WFR credentials? boggles the mind. what the heck, in that massive bag of junk of yours, helped you out with your open femur fx?

you better believe that in the accident you describe, an extra polypro and a few snickers would come in handy.

there is a friendly name for folks like you which gets batted around- 'rescue geek'. so psyched to provide care that you carry unnecessary junk at all times just in case. that's not a bad thing, generally. more power to you. but reccomending that others mimic your first aid kit is just plan ludicrous, my friend.


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Nov 29, 2004, 7:45 AM
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Close, but it's a little more difficult than that.

Applying traction to a such a big open fracture could well damage the artery further. It's already bleeding fairly heavily, and you'll have at least 4 hours to wait in extreme cold before a rescue team can reach you. Do you really want to risk killing her then and there?


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Nov 29, 2004, 7:55 AM
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there is a friendly name for folks like you which gets batted around- 'rescue geek'.

AHAHAHAHAAA!

I'm a rescue geek because I carry 50g or so of extra first aid gear? Maybe 50g would slow you down, "my friend", but I think I'm probably fit enough to handle it.

And yeah, I care. I care enough about the people around me to learn skills that may or may not be necessary, to carry equipment that one or all of us might need, and to pay attention and mind to what I'm doing when I climb.

You've made it amply clear that you think I'm foolish for caring enough about my fellow man to carry less than the weight of a hex of extra gear in case he gets in trouble. You may think that says something about me, but really it says something very sad about you.


salathiel


Nov 29, 2004, 8:11 AM
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Wow! Neutral corners people. Lets just answer the question and leave our Florence Nightengale delusions out of this.

Fact: all of these items listed before will be helpful. Use your judgement to REALISTICALLY determine if you are MacGyver enough to lean more toward snickers bars and aspirin, or if you need more kit.

Read a book on Wilderness first aid a couple of times, and work with your partner beforehand to practice the stuff from the book. Light a fire on a rainy day. Make it romantic. Have hot cocoa and smores and cuddle afterwords. This is the advice I also give to both Sixlegged insect and tradman. Both of whom have your best interest in mind.

Blur


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Nov 29, 2004, 8:25 AM
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You're quite right salathiel, I'm sorry about that. I shouldn't have let myself be baited by such a petty troll.

Yep, as the man says, practice it beforehand - even just in your back yard! - and be sure to think carefully before putting yourself in a situation where you think you might need to draw on that practice, and you'll be just fine.

Take care folks!


dingus


Nov 29, 2004, 8:50 AM
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You're quite right salathiel, I'm sorry about that. I shouldn't have let myself be baited by such a petty troll.

I for one happen to agree with that petty troll. Most climbers are really not prepared to deal with genuine medical emergencies, regardless of whether they have a first aid kit or not. Self righteous angst isn't going to change that.

My first aid kit? Knife, lighter, tape, pain killer, maybe some antiseptic ointment and a couple of clean wipes.

Broken leg and spurting artery? I'll do the cross thing over my chest as I try to stem the bleeding. If I can't stop the flow with pressure you're as good as dead AND WE BOTH KNOW IT IN ADVANCE, so why pretend otherwise? At least I'll have a knife to cut the rope should I inadvertantly lower you over a schrund.

Sorry in advance.

Seriously though, the expectation you have that climbers owe it to civilization or something, or to the good of our souls, to learn first responder techniques and stay current on them?

It is unreasonable. It is not going to happen.

DMT


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Nov 29, 2004, 8:56 AM
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Would it be reasonable to have those skills then not carry equipment you might need to exercise them?


dingus


Nov 29, 2004, 9:08 AM
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In reply to:
Would it be reasonable to have those skills then not carry equipment you might need to exercise them?

It depends of course. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

DMT


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Nov 29, 2004, 9:11 AM
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Fair comment.

I don't think I have a responsibility to the world, but I definitely have a responsibility to the people I climb with, particularly if, as is frequently the case, I'm leader of the group.

If the equipment weighs hardly anything and I have the skills, I'm sure you would agree that it would be rather short-sighted of me not to take it with me.


sixleggedinsect


Nov 29, 2004, 9:14 AM
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In reply to:
Would it be reasonable to have those skills then not carry equipment you might need to exercise them?

would an EMT carry an ambulance on his back for his winter alpine climb? would an ER doc carry the trauma ward, a nurse, and a couple techs around? would that fit in a backpack? could you sling it on a biner with your prussiks and your keychain light?

granted, people in positions of specific responsibility, say, an expedition doctor, or a tripleader, or maybe on a trip where you *expect* a certain type of injury, will generally carry a heftier kit, but this was for a 2-5 day alpine climb.

a'ight. bowing out.

anthony


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Nov 29, 2004, 9:25 AM
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:lol:

That's not what I said and you know it, which is why you're now running away.

I presented a short list of items that I would consider useful if you know how to use them, not a "trauma ward". I've already said that the extra gear weighs barely 50g, which for a trip of almost any length is no problem for a reasonably fit person.

Oh and as for your idea that I should take specific equipment on trips where I *expect* a certain type of injury, yeah I'll be sure to ask my climbing partners what injuries they're planning before we leave next time.

:lol:

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