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The Tower of Mordor

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
Photo: Matthew Parent

All Photos: Matthew Parent

Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventurer Gareth Leah’s Pico Cão Grande Expedition

A dark tower of volcanic rock shrouded in clouds dominates the unearthly landscape. Formed millennia ago when high-pressure magma solidified inside the vent of an active volcano, its presence is foreboding. This is the peak of Cão Grande, a 370m volcanic plug situated deep in the jungle on the island of São Tomé in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to the expedition, I’d spent a year planning (mainly dreaming) of the day I would be able to visit this island whose landscapes resembled a scene from a Jurassic Park movie. It was a project I knew was ambitious on so many levels. Everything had to be carefully planned and arranged, as the island offers almost nothing in the way of purchasable goods or medical help. If something was to go wrong, we would be on our own.

Arriving on the island was a cultural eye opener. Stray dogs running wild through the busy streets, a seven-person family riding a single 125cc motorbike, a balancing act fit for a circus performance. Navigating the narrow roads that winded south from the capital we arrived at Agripalm plantation, the furthest point we could reach before being forced to continue on foot through the jungle. A 3km hike through thick jungle and we emerged at the base of the wall, greeted unknowingly by a 100m high roof that jutted out some 30m. There was no information on the peaks rock formation prior to arrival and standing at the base we gained a very real sense of the task at hand.

image003        image002         image004

We climbed in 14-hour shifts every day for 4 weeks and had only 1 attempt on each pitch to make it happen before we had to leave the island. In the end we established a new 15 pitch 455m line up the wall, which goes at F8b (5.13d). We named it Nubivagant (Wandering in the clouds).

When we at last stood atop the peak, we were blown away by the magnitude of the challenge and not just by the climbing! It had been wrought with difficulties, many of which had threatened to end the project from the start. Luggage problems, blown battery chargers, generator issues, snake bites, jungle logistics, currency exchange, sickness and stuck vehicles all looked that they would stop us in achieving our goal. However, with each new obstacle that stood in our path, we would find a solution, though none were what you would describe as “traditional”.

Having now completed the route and with time to reflect upon the island, the peak and the people we have encountered along the way. I am thankful in all that I have gained from the trip which amounts to a lot more than just a new route, but new friends, skills and an understanding of a life where people are masters of their environment.

About Gareth
Gareth Leah is a worldly adventurer, passionate writer, business developer and rock climber. Born and raised in UK, he discovered rock climbing and quickly became obsessed with adventure and the unique problem solving qualities it presented. Leah owns his own guiding company and is currently living in Mexico, where he is working to grow climbing as a community, culture and sport through development of new climbing areas, local communities projects, and industry education and awareness. He supports a number of causes that benefit climbers such as, the Access Fund and Climbers Against Cancer. See more at www.GazLeah.com.

Essential Gear for the Journey:
Bug Spray – Natrapel
This stuff works great. I like the non-Deet option and it smells great.

Ben’s Face Net-Great to have when the bugs were fierce.

Ben’s clothing spray – We sprayed the entire basecamp with it. Tents, clothes, sheets etc and it definitely worked at keeping the bugs at bay.

Adventure Medical Kits Comprehensive- This was amazing to have. There were a handful of cuts, small health issues such as diarrhea, fever, headaches, vomiting, all the good stuff you get from visiting a jungle that no ones really been too. I think the really good thing about this was the book. When people were becoming sick, i used it to help diagnose the problem and decide on a solution.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .7– It is great to have in the backpack. It has all the essentials needed to deal with common problems. If you can’t fix your problem with this kit, you’re up a creek and need an EMT anyway.

Dental Kit – I never used it in the end, my fillings held out. However, I did use it on one of the locals who developed a MASSIVE abscess in his molar. The information in the pack gave again helped me diagnose and decide the best solution. Using some broad spectrum antibiotics and this kit I was able to clean the wound out, numb the pain and he is now perfectly back to normal. Huge success!

3 Useful & Life Saving Items You Should Take On Your Next Adventure

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Reflection of mountains and trees in water, Moor Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

3 Insanely Useful & Life Saving Items You Should Take On Your Next Adventure

So you are heading out to explore the Allagash Wilderness of Maine, backpacking in the Sierras or mountain biking an old logging road. You’ve got the gear packed and the posse assembled, but have you thought about the fact that you’ll be 20 miles from a road? That means your crew will be depending upon each other in case something goes down.

Prepare for anything and get #AdventureEquipped. Channel your inner Scout with a few simple items that could make you the hero if you and your buddies are stranded out in the wilderness. Trust us, you’re friends will thank you for taking these along.

 

The Doctor is in

Accidents can happen. Carry a first aid kit and you’ll be ready for bee stings, punctured wounds, sprained ankles and a host of other emergencies. The Ultralight watertight .9 is an easy take- along filled with all the supplies you’ll need. It even comes with a handy first aid guide and is housed in a waterproof zip lock bag in case your canoe capsizes.

0125-0290 AMK Ultralight Watertight 9 RT copy

A $20 Box Could Save Your Life

Who ever said $20 doesn’t buy anything? Then they haven’t explored the immensely useful items inside the Survive Outdoors Longer Traverse survival kit. Packed into the small tin are essentials like water purification tablets and water storage container, fire starter with flint, emergency blanket and signaling mirror. The box covers the basics of water, shelter, fire and signaling. The Traverse is easy to slip in your bag and weighs about 6 ounces.

0140-1767_SOL_Traverse_STRT

A Knife with a Purpose

About the size of the palm of your hand, the Phoenix incorporates 8+ survival tools into a small pocketknife size multi-tool. The contents include a fixed, serrated and drop point bladed knife, 3-7mm wrench, flat head screwdriver, fire starter and flint striker, LED light and signaling whistle.

 

0140-0838_sol_phoenix_open_light

 

How NOT to Get Stranded Out in The Wilderness

North, South, East, West, you thought you knew where you were going but now you’re lost. Of course, knowing the terrain, watching the weather and knowing how to use your compass is key in the wilderness. Check out these links below to learn the skills, scout the terrain or get a read on the weather.

Learning Map & Compass Skills

http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/blog/2009/04/navigation-basics-map-and-compass/

Learning Wilderness First Aid and Rescue:

NOLS http://www.nols.edu/wmi/courses/wildfirstaid.shtml

REI https://www.rei.com/outdoorschool/wilderness-medicine-classes.html

National Weather Service http://www.weather.gov/

 

 

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

ankle injury

Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series

Heading out into the wilderness can be an amazing experience that allows you to explore remote areas and challenge yourself. As a smart adventurer, you’ve probably already taken the steps to prepare for your journey by bringing along the basics for survival (Food, Water, Shelter, First Aid Kit, extra Clothing ) and knowing the terrain. But anytime you’re a few hours from advanced medical care, you are assuming risk and should be prepared for injuries and illnesses. That’s why it’s good to know some first aid basics. In our Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series, we’ve compiled a list of skills and treatments we consider essential for anyone who goes out in the backcountry. Our articles are not a substitute for professional medical training or treatment. We recommend taking a full Wilderness First Aid course for more comprehensive knowledge and seeking professional care as soon possible.

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide, By Dr. Eric A. Weiss

There you are, just hiking along the trail when suddenly the footing changes and you roll your ankle to one side. You feel it stretch and maybe even feel it tear. It stops you cold and it hurts.

SPRAINS

A sprain is stretching or tearing of ligaments that attach one bone to another. Ligaments are sprained when a joint is twisted or stretched beyond its normal range of motion. Most sprains occur in the ankle and knee.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include tenderness to the site, swelling, bruising, and pain with movement. Because these symptoms are also present with a fracture, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. Use caution and treat the injury until x-rays or further medical evaluation is available.

Treatment

  1. First aid begins with R-I-C-E (see below). If the victim cannot bear weight at all, use a splint to stabilize the foot and ankle and get assistance out of the backcountry.
  2. If the victim can still walk, use a C-Splint,  compression wrap or tape the ankle for support.
  3. Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, 3x per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. As soon as possible, seek medical evaluation to determine the need for X-rays to check for fracture.

A leg tensor bandage being applied outdoors

R-I-C-E-S- Immediate steps for treating sprains and strains

Rest: Resting takes the stress off the injured joint and prevents further damage.

Ice: Ice as quickly as possible as it will reduce the swelling and pain. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area for up to 20 minutes, 3-4 times per day. Follow with a compression bandage. Wrapping is key, as the joint will swell as soon as the ice is removed.

Compression: Compression wraps prevent swelling and provide support. Pad the injury with socks or soft items, and then wrap with an elastic bandage. Begin the wrap at the toes and move up the foot up and over the ankle with the wrap. The wrap should be comfortable but not too tight. If the victim experiences numbness, tingling or increased pain, loosen the wrap.

Elevation: Elevate the injury above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.

Stabilization: Tape or splint the injured area to prevent further damage.

Next Steps:

Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, three times per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.

 

What’s the Best Medical Kit for Disaster Preparedness?

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Q: I live in an Earthquake Zone, and I was wondering which medical kit would you advise for me if a quake hits and I need to help some people, as well as a kit I can keep in my home?

A: If you are planning on administering care to other victims, you will want a kit with enough contents to treat a large group and an organization system that is easy to use in an emergency. For this reason, I recommend ourMountain Series Comprehensive kit, which contains a wide range of wound care supplies for trauma scenarios like those encountered during an earthquake, as well as our Easy Care organization system that organizes contents in injury-specific pockets with quick-reference instruction cards. The Comprehensive makes a great home preparedness kit as well, since it contains a number of specialized medical instruments that are difficult to improvise and might be impossible to obtain during an extended disaster scenario.

“Ask the Doc” Mailbag Round-Up for April 2010

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Q:  used the heatsheets emergency bivvy (3.8 oz). next morning discovered a lot of moisture in the bivvy. this gave rise to an extra cold and damp start to the day. is this a common with the bivvy? many thanks for a small but important bit of kit. it may not seem like the back country but when i am here in northern ireland events can turn bad.

A:  Condensation inside the bivvy is par for the course with this product – since the material itself is not breathable, moisture accumulates fairly rapidly.  This is why we classify the Heatsheets Bivvy as an emergency product – since, in an emergency, it is necessary to preserve heat and get warm at all costs, even if condensation results.

Q: I have to prepare a medical kit for 40 people in a wilderness setting and being “waterproof” is a must so we don’t lose supplies.  What Adventure Medical Kit do I need?  My wife is a retired R.N., so we would also like something that has a stapler as well as sutures in it.

A: A kit for 40 people is going to need to be pretty large – I would recommend either our Guide I or Expedition kits from our Professional Series.  These kits have enough supplies to treat a wide range of ailments and injuries over a large group of people, and they are designed for professionals or individuals with advanced wilderness first aid training.  (For a more user friendly option, I highly recommend our Comprehensive kit, which features Easy Care organization so even someone without any first aid training can administer medical care.)  All of our kits in the Professional series use water-resistant fabrics, although they aren’t 100% waterproof – for a kit as large as what you’re looking for, I would recommend keeping it in a waterproof container such as a Pelican case, Otter box, or even a very large size Aloksak; alternatively, you can pack the inner components into zip-lock bags to keep them dry in the event that the kit is submerged.

As for sutures/surgical supplies, I recommend picking up a Deluxe Wound Cleaning and Closure module from our refills page – this module is for professionals only, and it contains sutures as well as a skin stapler and staple remover.

Q: Would it be safe to put the Quikclot sport silver after I’ve use neosporin on a gauze?

A: QuikClot (and QuikClot Silver) are designed to be used in an emergency situation when bleeding is heavy or life-threatening.  If the amount of bleeding has slowed enough for you to dress the wound properly (with gauze and antibiotic ointment), it probably isn’t necessary to use QuikClot.  In answer to your question, it is safe to use QuikClot or QuikClot Silver in this situation, but my advice would be to use QuikClot directly on the wound immediately, hold it in place using direct pressure for as long as is necessary to stop the bleeding, and then to use antibiotic ointment, non-adherent dressings, and gauze to dress the wound once bleeding has stopped.

Q: What is the best kit for horseback riding? We ride in the mountains often, and sometimes get far from camp.

A: I suggest either our Comprehensive or Outfitter, since these kits both have detachable inner bags that you can take with you on excursions from your base camp.  Both of the kits have enough supplies for large groups or extended trips, so if you’re venturing out with smaller groups on shorter trips, you may want to consider the Weekender or Sportsman kits instead.  The Comprehensive and Weekender kits are from our Mountain series, which will suit your needs if you just ride horses to get out into the wilderness, while the Outfitter and Sportsman kits are specifically designed for hunting/fishing trips.

Q: I will be directing an archaeological project in the lower Andean mountains of Peru (ca. 1000m).  We will have a crew of four people and will be working for about a month.  It is five hours by horse to the nearest road and then four hours by truck to the nearest town. We will have supplies brought in once a week and each crew member is expected to bring in their own basic supplies.  We can get most basic supplies in Peru (boxes of gauze, bandages, eye flush, antiseptic wipes, etc,) but I am concerned with a major machete cut.  Snake bites and burns are second and third on my list.  Any suggestions for kits.

A: I would recommend the Comprehensive kit from our Mountain Series for your needs (four people in a remote location for 30 days).  Although you can obtain basic supplies, it really is preferable to have everything contained in one kit, especially one like the Comprehensive in which the contents are organized by injury.  If you are particularly worried about major cuts/bleeding, pick up a Wound Closure Medic, which as everything you need to clean and close a wound, as well as some QuikClot Sport, which will stop bleeding within minutes.

-Jordan Hurder, AMK Product Specialist

Frustrated with Group Size/Trip Duration Rating

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Question:
FAKs rated by people/days (2-3 people, 5-7 days) frustrate me. I think a more useful measure might be people/”time to help”. I bought the Field Trauma kit because I was looking for a kit to use where assistance was 1-2 hours away, I want the kit to answer “What will kill the victim in 1-2 hours?” – Bleeding, not breathing. If a 1″x3″ bandage will stop it, you won’t die today from it. We’re within 2-6 hours of aid, so what do I need to keep a victim alive till we get help?

Answer:

Fred,

Thanks for sharing your frustrations with the Group Size, Trip Duration Rating. Let me share a story with you. Back in 1989 when we launched Adventure Medical Kits, our only kit we sold was the $190 Comprehensive Kit in our current Mountain Series. This was much more comprehensive than anything on the market at the time. An editor from Outside Magazine was reviewing the kit and he asked me what I would take out of the kit to make it lighter and smaller. And I asked him what injury or illness does he not want to be prepared for?. How about taking out Glutose Paste for Insulin Shock or the oral rehydration salts for dehydration? How about taking out the Sawyer Extractor Snake Bite Kit?

A few years later, Dr. Weiss wrote the book, A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine, to help people treat injuries and illnesses when medical care will not arrive. He included “Weiss Advice” improvisational techniques in the book so you can improvise when you don’t have the medical supplies you need. For example, page seven has a tip on how to improvise a CPR barrier using a nitrile glove. The section on treating insulin shock suggests using Glutose Paste but if you don’t have it use sugar granules under the tongue will work. The section on rehydration goes over treating dehydration with oral rehydration salts or an improvised solution using fruit juice, honey and salt. Dr. Weiss’s book is your guide to keeping someone alive until help arrives whether it is two hours or two days away.

Back to the question on classifying kits. We are working on a more sophisticated set of metrics to help people choose the right medical kit for their adventure. While group size and trip duration will be one of the metrics, others like risk factor, hours away from medical care and level of first aid training will come into play as well. Your question is timely and will help spur us on in the development of these new metrics.

Thanks, Frank

Frank Meyer

Marketing Director/Co-Founder

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Which kit should I keep in the house and car?

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Question:

Which kit would you recommend to keep around the house or in the car?

Thanks, Chris

Answer:

I have carried the Mountain Series Comprehensive Kit in my car for the past 20 years. It is my favorite kit and with the detachable inner bag inside you have a kit for day trips as well. Of course, any of the Mountain series kits would work well for the car or home. The Comprehensive has always been my favorite and it was the first kit Adventure Medical Kits launched in 1989.

BE SAFE,

Frank Meyer, Marketing Director/Co-Founder

ASK YOUR QUESTION – CLICK HERE

Which kit is the best for my needs?

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Q:
I am a river guide during the summer, I usually do class 3-5 rapids, and do multi day trips with up to 12 people. I have my WFR and EMT certifications. I also do a lot of backpacking, I do back country skiing in the winter. And I enjoy mountain biking on days off during the summer and was wondering which would be the best kit for me.

A:
Israel, If you are going with one kit – than the Comprehensive kit from the Mtn. Series would be your best bet. This would be good for your river trips when stored in a waterproof dry bag. It has a detachable, ultralight and watertight bag that you can use for backcountry skiing, mountain biking and backpacking. The kit has plenty of room for adding additional items depending on your trip. Be Safe

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