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Xpedition 90X – Making Antarctic History with an Expedition of Firsts!

Monday, November 5th, 2018


xpedition 90x vehicle

Airworks Compressors Corp. is embarking on an expedition of epic proportions, and Adventure Medical Kits is excited to be on board as the Safety Sponsor!

Xpedition 90X is a journey to the South Pole hailing from Edmonton, Alberta and will be making history in 2019 with the first single vehicle expedition, first hybrid vehicle expedition, and first Canadian-led driving expedition to the South Pole, carving a definitive place for Xpedition 90X in Antarctic history.

A 4-man crew, led by Airworks’ President Darryl Weflen, will venture together in a modified International MXT called ‘Rockhopper’ (affectionately named after Antarctica’s national bird), spending anywhere from 20 to 30 days in the most challenging conditions while testing equipment on the journey. Wrapped by William Huff Advertising in a futuristic steampunk-inspired design, and upfitted with Mattracks, extensive LED lighting by Partsking.ca, a custom-designed service body by Milron Metal Fabricating and a complex live tracking satellite system provisioned by GFI Systems, Rockhopper is already garnering much attention.

However, the main focus of this foray to the harshest continent on earth is to prove the ruggedness of Airworks’ new, Edmonton-invented, patent-pending technology: the G-Force Hybrid Drive System and showcase how Canada is leading the world with innovative, green technology. Rockhopper is being modified to contain a small diesel engine and electric motor system. The diesel engine will drive the generators as well as propel the vehicle, which will also utilize an electric propulsion assist system. Primarily marketed for military applications to convert heavy trucks and vehicles 5 tons and up to decrease fuel usage and heat signature while on deployment, the G-Force will be commercially available by early 2019.

The crew will be undergoing equipment, vehicle and cold weather training in addition to a series of first aid, emergency and crisis training. Adventure Medical Kits outfitted the team with vital first aid supplies, including the Professional Series Expedition Medical Kit and QuikClot.

Facing colossal hardships like crevasses, extreme temperatures, long days in close quarters and the unknown perils of a foray into the frigid, icy winterscape that is Antarctica, Xpedition 90X will push the limits of Rockhopper, the G-Force, and the crew.  Follow them as they make history!

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Xpedition 90X, Media & Marketing Director: Ingrid Schifer

Email: ingrid@schifandthecity.com  Direct: 780.850.8466 Office: 780.423.2114

Surviving the Backcountry: Tips on Training, Gear, & First Aid Supplies from Expedition #BeSafeGannett

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

#BeSafeGannet – 3 Days to Go!

This Friday, July 13th, #TeamTender will board a plane with all their gear and head out for Wyoming on the #BeSafeGannett Expedition up Gannett Peak. To say we’re excited would be an understatement! Although our expedition won’t physically begin until we reach the trailhead on July 14th, for our team the journey began over 8 months ago, and each day of training and preparation has taken us one step closer towards reaching the summit, a goal we hope to have achieved in less than 10 days from today.

Team lead Joe Miller here to give you a snap shot of how our team has prepared themselves to #BeSafe on this expedition with months of planning, including everything from physical training to gear considerations to choosing a medical kit. I’m going to give you a look at what questions, criteria, and rules I use to help me and my team travel safe and prepared.

8 Months of Preparation

#TeamTender has put in a huge amount of effort preparing for this expedition. Trip logistics planning kicked off 8 months before the expedition start date, and training plans were initiated 6 months prior. If you have read my previous blog post on trip safety, you know just how much effort should go into any backcountry excursion. A trip this remote forces you to perform a lot more preparation in order to #BeSafe.

One of the most important pieces of our preparation was building and executing our training plans, as the best thing you can do to ensure safety on the expedition is to be fit and fast.  If you’re looking for a good resource on building your first training plan, I highly recommend “Training for the New Alpinism” by Steve House and Scott Johnson.  In addition to the physical training, a lot of preparation has gone into choosing our gear, building our first aid kit and preparing for emergency scenarios.

Gear Preparation

Besides fitness, gear is the next piece of preparation in trip safety.  I love gear. I mean I really really love gear. You should check out my truck: its gear central. From packs, to sleep systems, climbing gear, boots, layering, biking supplies, avalanche travel necessities, cooking systems, fishing supplies, first responder gear, and especially first aid and survival gear, my truck is a rolling closet of anything you could ever want on any adventure. I love to be prepared for everything.

New gear for two of our team included investing in a large pack capable of hauling 40+ lbs.

When picking out gear I look for a few specific criteria:

  1. How well does the gear support your goal?
  2. How much effort does this gear take to use?
  3. How reliable is this piece of equipment?

Criterion 1: How well does the gear support your goal?

Look at everything you are bringing and determine how well it supports and/or limits your achievement of your goal. The latter is fairly easier to determine. Does it weigh a ton? How much “just in case” logic did you use to justify that in your pack? How does it directly support your goal? Your goal should be 1) whatever objective you’re gunning for, and 2) getting back out alive. As the great Ed Vestures said “Getting to the top is optional – getting down is mandatory.” However, while “what if” thinking is sometimes helpful, it shouldn’t encourage you to pack for every extreme.

Criterion 2: How much effort does this gear take to use?

“Ultra-lighters” live by this one. Ounces add up to pounds, and that weight ends up on your back (or your adventure buddy’s pack). The lighter the better, but also refer to criterion number 1. Some things are absolutely worth their weight. If you’re trekking across a glacier like we will be, a rope and other glacier gear is mandatory weight (falling in a crevasse doesn’t need to be life ending). That being said, if you can minimize weight and/or use items for multiple purposes, you can cut weight elsewhere. For instance, I know I will need some cordage for anchor building material in crevasse rescues; this can also double as tent tie downs, splint material, and gear straps.

#TeamTender getting in some post-work rope training in preparation for glacier travel.

This criterion also holds true for ability to use – simple, easy-to-use items work better for a team. For example, while some super-duper ultralight stoves can shave grams off your base weight, it can take over an hour to cook dinner.  When you’re in need of some necessary food and cook time prevents you from going to bed earlier, is it really that helpful?  Everyone will have different views and gear priorities, and as with anything in life, a good balance is key.

Criterion 3: How reliable is this piece of equipment?

This is really a combination of criteria 1 and 2, but it warrants its own attention. On one of my earliest trips as a leader, I remember hauling back an old stove which had definitely seen many years of abuse. 3 days into the trip the stove stopped working in spite of copious amounts of fuel. Five hungry and tired boys waited impatiently as I stressfully dismantled, fixed, and reassembled our stove in an attempt to feed us all. Emergencies don’t happen when you’re alert and ready for them; they happen when you are tired, hurt, or have already made one or many bad decisions.

When heading out on a big trip like #BeSafeGannett, you should already know you can rely on your gear. This is not a time for testing out new products or systems.  You should know how your gear works, inside and out, and have relied on it before.  This way, you will know how to use it when you’re tired, injured, or just plain hungry.  I like to slowly work changes into my backcountry systems one at a time so nothing feels too foreign. If you’re going on a big trip, you better have your systems (and your teammates’ systems) figured out well in advance.

First Aid Kit Preparation

Because I want to know everything in my pack and limit my gear to the essentials, I personalize and rationalize everything I’m bringing with me – this also applies to my first aid supplies. I start with a base kit (for this trip I used the Mountain Series Explorer) and customize it out from there based upon what my team needs for a specific trip – in this case to safely climb Gannett Peak.

The Mountain Series Explorer kit contains first aid supplies to equip a team of 4 headed out for up to 7 days, which exactly fits our expedition.

When building a kit, it’s essential to consider the gear criteria I detailed above, but it’s more important to remember – you have to get out of this alive. Remember:

  1. Your #1 goal is getting out alive
  2. Your medical is important enough to be heavy, but not unnecessarily so
  3. Your first aid supplies need to be reliable

1. Get Out Alive

In the backcountry, medical support is very limited, and your #1 goal needs to be to get out alive. You should categorize every medical situation as life threatening, long-term debilitating, or minor. The first two categories should yield an immediate decision to evacuate and get to better medical attention. During anything life threatening, the goal is to support life until front country medicine is available. For life threatening scenarios, knowing CPR and what supplies should work to combat major bleeds, circulation problems, allergies, and environmental issues is imperative.  Any potential long term debilitation from an injury should be minimized. This includes spinal issues, preventing infection, and immobilizing fractures to prevent more harm. Anything minor should be addressed quickly so it doesn’t escalate into a bigger issue. I’m speaking in broad terms here, but looking at your first aid kit and analyzing whether its contents will help you get out of a bad situation alive is a useful exercise.

2. Weight vs. Contents

How heavy does a medical kit have to be? This tends to be the hardest part of building a first aid kit; it’s truly a balancing act. Often, first aid kits are too large, and used by those with little understanding of how to properly use the components of the kit.

Recently, I vetted my personal first aid kit with a combat medic.  Through this, I learned that proper training allows greater resourcefulness. As with athletic training, if you have proper medical training you can do more with less. Anyone intending to spend time in the backcountry should take a Wilderness First Aid course, such as those offered by SOLO Wilderness Medicine. For those wanting to peruse further backcountry medical knowledge, the Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT courses are intensive and thorough.

Regardless of what medical training you have, ensure that you know how to use the items in your kit and that you are prepared to use them to take care of potential medical issues on your trip. Basic, easy-to-use supplies are often best, as you (or your team) may be able to use them without much training and for a variety of issues. Beware of having a single, bulky item that will only help you in a very specific scenario, especially if it is easy to misuse. Building your kit is a balancing act, and only you know what will work best for you.

3. Reliable Contents

You need to rely on your first aid kit more than any other piece of gear in the back country. You need to audit and refill your kit before and after your adventures. It takes a lot of thought and practice to maintain a reliable kit to ensure that you and your team know how to respond if any life threatening or debilitating event happens. Everyone on your team should know where the first aid kit is and how to use the supplies inside. Ensuring your components are worthwhile is very important; sterility for wounds, strong bandages that hold in place, and non-expired medications are key. Having quality medical components is something Tender Corporation takes great pride in.

Building a First Aid Kit for #BeSafeGannett

As I said before, I took the Adventure® Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer kit and customized it for the specific risks we will encounter in the Wind River Range. I prioritized supplies that will address life-threatening issues and found ways to use those same supplies for minor issues. I also added some items for more specific scenarios because I’ve personally justified their use-to-weight ratio.  Here’s some of what I’m packing for the group kit for the Wind River Range:

Emergency Plan: The first thing that goes into my first aid kit is a documented Emergency plan. I put this in a zip lock bag so it is still legible if it rains. This holds route information, evacuation routes, individual medical information, and primary insurance information. For Gannett, everyone has secondary backcountry rescue insurance as well. (If you’re an American Alpine Club member you get this with your membership!) Creating an emergency plan helps keep everyone on the same page.  Leave a copy of your emergency plan with a loved one, so that they can give it to the responsible rescue parties should they need to. Having an emergency plan should stimulate a conversation with your team on any pre-existing medical conditions that might impact care on the trail. This will also help you decide on any other specific items for your kit.

Gloves: Providing medical assistance can get messy.  Clearing an airways and dealing with other bodily fluids should not be done without a pair of gloves.

Diphenhydramine: Having Diphenhydramine medication is important for any allergic reactions which cause swelling to close airways. If someone is seriously allergic, they should have an epi-pen and you should know where they keep it. I also have some NSAIDs in my kit in case a patient’s personal preference is to take them. Having some form of anti-diarrhea medication is key for overnights. For longer backcountry trips, I also carry a few days’ worth of antibiotics in case something does get infected. You’ll need a prescription for these and should use under the direction of your doctor.

Dressings: Supplies to stop bleeding take up most of the space in my kit. Any major bleeding will cause issues in circulation, so it needs to be addressed immediately. I pack a few sets of rolled gauze, a couple triangle bandages with safety pins, self-adhering bandages, elastic bandages, medical tape, Easy Access Bandages®, tincture of benzoin, moleskin, and an Advanced Clotting Sponge. With this, I can take care of any major or minor bleeding issues. I’m not going to go deep into the intricacies of wound care, but here’s a reminder of the basics: apply direct pressure to stop bleeding, (if you need to go hands free create a pressure dressing), clean the wound to prevent infection and protect the wound from further risk of infection.

Support for Sprains and Strains: For major sprains and strains I utilize triangular bandages (remember, the ones I can also use to stop bleeding?) and straps from my pack. Beyond that, you can use your hiking poles, or sticks to splint and stabilize. I abide by the “RICE” approach for most issues that are not life threatening: Rest, Ice (or cool), Compress, and Elevate. More major issues that require immediate hospitalization are splinted, immobilized, and evacuated.

Shelter and Warmth: In case of hypothermia or for a make shift shelter, I have a Survive Outdoors Longer® Emergency Blanket. I can hypo wrap a patient with this, or create some shade or protection from rain if necessary. I’ll also have some strike anywhere waterproof matches for quick fire starting. If I’m not already on a climbing trip, some p-cord makes good use for splints and traction. Other survival gear includes a compass and water purification.

Signing Off

We hit the trail July 14th and will be sending updates from the trail whenever we can, which our trip coordinator will be sharing on social media. Make sure to be checking our hashtag #BeSafeGannett for the latest updates. We can’t wait to put all our training to good use and share this experience with you! – #TeamTender

 

Trip Safety: Don’t Get Stuck in the Dark

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Embarking on a backcountry adventure can be one of the most rewarding experiences. When all the planning, anticipation, and physical effort culminate in awe-inspiring views, you receive a feeling of escape not available in the front country. While one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to continually go deeper and find more remote settings, it’s not without its own perils. As a Search and Rescue (SAR) Member, I’ve seen firsthand how a potentially fantastic day can turn into the worst day of your life for you and your loved ones.

Adventures – no matter how amazing – are not without peril

Preparation is crucial for trip safety in your backcountry expeditions. This simple statement has so many layers to it; it’s easy to brush it off and assume you have done enough. Route planning, properly packing your bag, and even preparing your physical and mental fitness all go into preparation. Today I’ll touch on a couple trip safety tips that, when applied, can help prevent common mistakes for everyone traveling in the backcountry.

Trip Safety: Pack the Right Gear

Gear is sexy. You can read a million and half blog posts or YouTube videos on gear.  From reviews to proper load-outs, there is a lot to learn and it seems to keep getting more complex. However, the basics maintain true. Pack your 10 essentials (Don’t know what these are? Go check out REI’s great post on them). While I firmly stand by my alpine “light and fast” style and agree that the ability to move quicker adds safety, there are certain things that are worth the weight.

Illumination

Last summer, there were multiple rescues to aid hikers stuck in the dark. Even if you’re setting out at sunrise and you feel overly confident you can get your hike done in just a morning, please still bring a headlamp. It makes my wife happy when I get to eat dinner with her on a Sunday night, instead of setting out to rescue hikers stuck in the dark.

Pack a headlamp so you don’t get stuck in the dark

In that same vein, bring extra batteries, especially if you’re working on a big day. Fancy headlamps that use built in lithium Ion batteries definitely help cut weight, but when it dies, it’s dead until you get back to a charger. My climbing partner was the victim of exactly this scenario coming down a 30 degree scree pitch off Mount Temple (BANFF, Canada) at 3 am. Our fast decent turned to a crawl when we were reduced to one headlamp. Learn from our mistake.

First Aid Kits

First aid kits are our specialty here at Adventure® Medical Kits, and I love the fact that I have so many supplies at my disposal to build kits. I’m a huge fan of our Mountain Series Day Tripper Lite kit. It’s perfect for day trip adventures and isn’t overloaded with unnecessary supplies. It also has great organization and labeling; in a rush, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Another option is the custom bag from the Mountain Series, which lets people like me build their own kit and label it as needed.

My med kit for day hikes: the Day Tripper Lite, QuikClot®, an elasticized bandage, and a C-Splint™

Regardless of if you build your own kit or use a premade version, go through it often. It’s incredible how quickly you forget you used something in the middle of your climb when things start going well again.  A couple things that I mandate in even the smallest med kit are an elastic bandage, some form of a splint, Diphenhydramine, Ibuprofen, a couple big gauze pads, a small roll of medical tape, and an emergency blanket. Knowing what is in your kit is almost as important as knowing how to use it! I highly recommend that every backcountry enthusiast takes a Wilderness First Aid course (WFA), where you’ll learn the necessary skills to administer basic first aid in the backcountry. This can make the difference between a scary and stressful hike out and a confident, enjoyable return to your car.

Footwear           

The Mountains are a rugged place. They require rugged footwear. Most likely your road runners are not going to cut it, and your designer flip flops won’t make it even half a mile. Choose a stiffer, more supportive shoe to give you better protection. Unless you have seriously trained your body, a minimalist shoe can cause you long term issues. Not only does having a supportive shoe protect your feet, but your knees, ankles, and hip will also thank you. Having proper footwear ensures your body is taken care of. There are tons of debates on whether it’s better to have waterproof shoes or not in the summer. Some argue the non-waterproof will dry quicker and breathe better.  In the winter it’s almost no question – go waterproof.

Allow stiffer boots and trail shoes some time to break in. Once they do, you’ll never want to buy a new pair.  The break in process shouldn’t be overlooked; the first couple outings should be a bit easier than your usual hike, as both your feet and shoes need to adjust. Definitely bring some extra moleskin or GlacierGel® for blisters during your break-in period. At the end of the day, waterproof or not, find a shoe which really protects your foot and ankle, gives you good traction, and fits well.

Clothing              

Dressing for a hike is similar to dressing for other athletic activities; however, you must take exposure into account.  Your clothing must work well for extended periods in inclement weather, high wind, or extended sun exposure. The age old saying in the backcountry is that “cotton kills,” as once cotton is wet, it doesn’t insulate anymore.

Take into account ridgeline walking, where exposure to the wind and weather can be intense

In the mountains you can get hypothermia year-round. To combat cold any time of year, dress like an onion – layers layers layers! There are three basic layers: a base layer to move sweat away from body, an insulation layer, and an external layer to protect from elements. The specifics obviously all change depending on the season, but the principals stay the same.

Pest Control

Know the pests in the general area. Bug bites are a really annoying. A bear bite can be catastrophic. Understand that you probably should bring some form of deterrent for bugs and bears if they are known in that area. Ben’s® Clothing and Gear is fantastic to treat you gear before heading out.

From bear spray to head nets to bug repellent, pack for the pests in the area you’re visiting

Packs

One thing the 10 essentials fails to bring up is how to carry all those things. A good fitting backpack is necessary. It’s worth investing in a durable pack to get you through years of adventures. The biggest aspect of any pack should be its fit. Different disciplines have slightly different requirements. For instance, my hiking bag has large, cushioned hip straps, so that the load will sit on my hip bones. My technical climbing pack has minimal hip straps as it will get in the way of my harness. Figuring out the proper size pack is also important (I’ve blown zippers in the backcountry from stuffing my pack too tight). I’ve also had back pain from under-filling a big pack and having the contents rattle around on a decent. Having a number of packs for different outings will keep your back happy and pain-free.

Choose a pack appropriate for your activity – consider both size and fit

Trip Safety: Know Before You Go

Having fun and enjoying the outdoors is best achieved when you are properly prepared. While carrying the proper gear will help mitigate potential issues, there are intangible things that are invaluable in preparing for a hike.

Know what the climate is like where you are going.

In the early spring my SAR team might have 4 rescues in a day, while mid-summer we get 1 in a weekend. Why is this? In the White Mountains, we’re only 2 hours away from Boston on the interstate.  On early spring weekends, weather in Boston may be sunny and warm, with no snow; however, weather in the Whites includes waist-deep snow and raging rivers fueled by the spring melt.  Check the weather and trail conditions where you’re going – don’t assume it’s the same as what you see from your front door.

Seasons can look quite different in different places – like snowy springs in the White Mountains

We live in a wonderful age where Facebook communities, Sub-Reddits, and Instagram posts can help you deem what true current conditions are.  Weather has different patterns in different locations; do some research and see what generally occurs in the area you will be traveling. The weathermen do their best but are often wrong. Getting caught in a surprise summer thunderstorm in the alpine is life threatening. Learn the basics in reading the weather and apply those skills with knowledge of the local weather patterns.

Set a turnaround time before leaving the house.

This should be a firm time in which you know you need to turn back. A turnaround time keeps you honest with how quickly you are actually moving. The mountains will be there another day, and setting the time before leaving the house keeps the emotions in check.

Let someone not on the hike know of your planned route.

Text/call right when you set off and right when you return. In some places people will put detailed notes on their car dash. This is especially helpful for technical routes, as it lets other parties know what line is going to be most crowded.

Account for elevation change.

Elevation gain is not easy, neither is elevation loss. Remember getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.

Don’t just check the mileage – check the elevation change!

Don’t discredit what elevation change is on the hike. The general rule of thumb is every 1,000 feet of elevation change will feel like another mile on the hike. For example, if I hike 4 miles to the summit with an elevation change of over 2,000 ft., that will feel like 6 miles. So a seemingly 8 mile roundtrip hike can really feel like a 12 miler. Plan your hike accordingly. Know your party members and what constitutes a fun day.

Be realistic on where you and your party is at physically.

If you haven’t had a cardio day in months, and you don’t know what leg day is at the gym, pick a more introductory hike. Check your ego and build up to that big hike. There is no shame or pain in hiking something under your threshold. A carry out on rugged terrain with broken bones is pretty miserable. Even hiking a couple miles hungry and exhausted will make you not want to return to the mountains for a while.

Plan for sunshine, prepare for thunder.

You may blow through your hike as fast as you think, but you might not. Bring enough food and water for some extra hours. Think about exposure to the elements: some extra time in the sun or wind or getting caught in a rain storm can make for a miserable outing.

Conclusion

Backcountry travel is no easy task. There are so many variables which go into a good adventure. I’m constantly re-evaluating gear and travel techniques to help keep me safe and have a good time. From gear to pre-adventure prep, there are plenty of trip safety actions you can take to ensure you have a great next adventure.

About the Author

Joe Miller is an alpinist residing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He serves on the Pemigewasset Search and Rescue team, which has received some fame from the television show North Woods Law. Joe loves everything about the outdoors and can be found taking full moon laps up Cannon Cliff, ice climbing classics in Crawford notch, and slaying powder on his splitboard. Joe started working at Tender Corporation in 2015, as he loves the proximity to the mountains. When not outdoors, Joe lets his inner geek flag fly; he can be found holed up with his dog and cats tinkering with electronics and computer systems.

Hilaree O’Neill: Remote Expeditioning with Adventure® Medical Kits

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Skier, climber, mother, and the first woman to climb Everest and Lhotse in a single 24-hour period, Hilaree O’Neill is an adventurer like no other! This spring, Hilaree accomplished her personal goal of climbing and skiing the “Peak of Evil,” a 21,165-foot mountain in the Indian Himalayas. Her team is the first party to ever complete a ski descent of the mountain. We asked Hilaree what the experience was like and how she prepared for the expedition. Here’s what she said: 

“From a Skier’s Perspective, Papsura Was Absolutely Perfect”

For most of my adult life, I have been a professional adventurer. Climbing, skiing, and generally clinging to the side of big mountains has always been my medium of choice. Often to access many of the places my passion leads, myself and my partners must be well versed in self-reliance. Expedition-style travel is especially tricky to plan for due to the length and remoteness of the undertaking.

Just this last May, I returned to a mountain that I had long been obsessed with in a very remote region of the Indian Himalayas. Along with two partners, I set out for a month-long journey to climb and ski Papsura Peak, aka the Peak of Evil. I had first seen the twin peaks of Papsura and Dharamsura back in 1999, on my very first expedition. From a skier’s perspective, Papsura, the taller of the two peaks, was absolutely perfect. This last May was my second attempt on the Peak of Evil and my 5th expedition to this region of India.

Photo Credit: Jim Morrison

It was about a four day walk to get from the nearest village to the mountain’s basecamp at 14,000 ft. From there, it was another 8,000 ft and nearly two weeks of acclimatizing and route-finding to reach the summit.

So How Does One plan for Such a Trip?

One of the first, and most important, things to consider is your medical kit. There must be some balance between being your first and best source of medical treatment should something go wrong and packing a manageable weight and bulk, as well as the effectiveness and accessibility of your supplies.

This is where Adventure® Medical Kits comes into the picture…

Prior to any expedition, I will take several different parts of my medical kits, pull everything out, and compile them into 2 to 3 different systems. In the case of our Papsura Expedition, I doubled down with Adventure® Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight Pro, as I knew we had porters to assist with our gear all the way to basecamp, and therefore we could have the relative luxury of a very extensive kit. From there, however, we were on our own.

Photo Credit: Chris Figenshau

At that point, we left behind the bigger medical resources at basecamp and brought individual smaller kits like the Ultralight/Watertight .7 that each of us carried all the way to our high camp. The experience I had in the area from my previous trips helped me know how to narrow down not only our supplies, equipment, but even our route to such an extent that we were able to laser focus on the objective at hand: a remote 3000ft, 50 plus degree face of snow and ice at high altitude.

When it came time for our summit push, we planned on paring our kits down even further to just one fist-sized medical kit, the Ultralight/Watertight .5, that would go in one of our packs as group medical supplies.

Of course, at each point along the climb we would further specialize what we carried with us based not only on size and weight, but also on being able to treat the most likely type of injuries, given our activities. For example, the trauma pack and the C-splint would make it all the way to high camp, while the burn pads, allergy meds, and bulk of the blister kit might get left at basecamp. The summit kit would include ibuprofen and other altitude meds augmented from the pharmacy at home, steri-strips, a single Survive Outdoors Longer® Survival Blanket, plus maybe the trauma pack and tape. We would rely on our ice axes or ski poles to fill the need of a C-splint, and extra clothing to act as tourniquets or slings should there be a need.

Of course, it’s impossible to plan for everything so, again, it’s a balance, and the best case scenario is to never have to use any of it. Fortunately, the most use we got out of our medical kits were the ibuprofen, lots of blister stuff mostly for our porters, along with triple antibiotic and the occasional Easy Access Bandage®!

On May 15th, We Went for It.

 

Photo Credit: Jim Morrison

Without a doubt, our trip to the summit proved to be one of the most intense and committing climbs I have ever done. For two weeks, we pushed hard every day until we felt we were ready to tackle the west face in single day push.

We arose in the darkness at 3am. We started the climb two hours later and moved continuously up the face for 9 hours before we finally reached the first reasonable spot to take off our packs and rest – this spot happened to be about 50 feet below the summit. After a long pause where we drank and ate and waited for the monsoonal clouds to lift, we finally tagged the summit and started our ski descent. While conditions were amazing for climbing, they were pretty rugged for skiing, and our descent took another 4 hours. All in all it was about a 20 hour day.

Photo Credit: Jim Morrison

By the time we crawled into our sleeping bags, we were exhausted – tapped both physically and mentally.  It took a few days of recovery for the enormity of our effort to be fully appreciated.  We were the first Americans to summit Papsura Peak and the first party to ever complete a ski descent of the mountain. More importantly though for me, I had stuck with my obsession and seen it through to the end!

 

Photo Credit: Chris Figenshau

About Hilaree O’Neill

The first woman to climb both Everest and Lhotse in a single 24-hour period, Hilaree O’Neill’s mountain adventures led Outside Magazine to name her one of the most adventurous women in the world of sports. For Hilaree, skiing is the gateway to possibility. She started skiing at age 3 at Steven’s Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. She took a leap of faith shortly after graduating from Colorado College and moved to Chamonix, France, where she was introduced to the world of big mountain skiing and climbing. From there, the place for Hilaree was anywhere she could cut turns on mountain slopes: volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, in Mongolia, India, Lebanon, and first descents of the tight couloirs of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.

Between expeditions, Hilaree O’Neill spends her time as a mother, adventuring with her two sons. In addition, her writing has been published in National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic’s “The Call of Everest”, the Ski Journal, Outside Journal, and several other publications. Hilaree continues to travel the globe, always looking for new ski objectives and honest suffer-fests.

What do I do if my dog runs through a barbwire fence and his leg is bleeding?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

IMG_9990

Adventure Dog Series-Your Guide to Dog First Aid

Adventuring is always more fun with a dog in tow. And you know your buddy loves the adventure just as much as you do. Yet even tough dogs can get injured out on the trail. Will you know how to take care of your four legged friend? Follow our posts for first aid tips and how to’s. Your dog will thank you! Woof!

What do I do if my dog runs through a barbwire fence and his leg is bleeding?

Taken from Dr. Sid Gustafson, DVM  (Author of Canine Field Medicine and a consultant for Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventure Dog Kits

If the bleeding is External and Severe:

Severe bleeding needs immediate first aid. Severe bleeding spurts rhythmically with the heartbeat and is bright red.

Stay calm and approach the dog slowly.

Due to pain, injured or ill animals can be unpredictable. To prevent injury to yourself and others, it is recommended that you restrain the dog as appropriate. Before you can control the bleeding you need to control the dog.

Wash your hands or wear latex gloves for protection.

Don’t wash wounds that are bleeding heavily-It will make it harder for clots to form.

Apply continuous and direct pressure with a sterile gauze pad or a clean piece of cloth to the wound. Alternatively, use QuikClot® gauze  in place of a traditional dressings. QuikClot is a chemically inert material that speeds coagulation of blood, resulting in a stable clot that stops bleeding

If blood soaks through the pad, apply a second pad on top of the first (do not remove the first pad)

If you cannot control the bleeding with just your hand pressure, wrap the wound with pads still in place in several layers of roll gauze, an elastic bandage or duct tape.

If there are no broken bones, elevate the injured limb

Transport to the nearest Vet or emergency clinic.

For Minor Cuts and Lacerations with slower flowing or seeping blood that is dark red.

  • Restrain as necessary
  • Carefully remove any foreign particles from the wound.
  • Clean wound with saline solution and an irrigation syringe to prevent infection.
  • Keep bandage clean and dry if possible. Make sure to not wrap the injury too tightly. Your dog may resist the bandage or gnaw to remove. Attempt to keep covered. A dog will naturally want to lick a wound and keep it clean, so don’t fret if the bandage comes off. Just make sure the bleeding has stopped and the wound has clotted.

At Adventure Medical Kits we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated essential first-aid kits to help keep the guesswork out of what you should pack—as well as keeping costs down by minimizing the amount of items you have to buy. Our dog-specific kits include key items you’ll need for the most common injuries and also include a handy first aid handbook and reference manual to guide you through treating dog injuries and illnesses.

Dog Kits

 

 

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/

 

 

Adventure Medical Kits Ambassador Rebecca Rusch Rides Rome to Trobole, Italy- in an 850km Self Supported Ride

Monday, May 9th, 2016

RRItalyRome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In late April, Adventure Medical Kits ambassador Rebecca Rusch joined the Italy Divide Ride, an 850k self supported ride from Rome to Torbole. Here is her recount of this unique event.

Beginning at the Eternal City, Rome, riders had the opportunity to pass some of the most famous archaeological sites in the capitol before riding the ancient Via Francigena (connecting France and Rome) toward Tuscany. Siena, the Chianti countryside, and climbing the Apennines to Bologna are some of the course highlights before finishing the race in Torbole at the Lake Garda Bike Festival.

I’d already met some of the other riders at the racer meeting. The meeting was really just riding around the Colosseum and eating pasta! Great way to get relaxed and meet the other riders. There were a wide range of people racing- like my friend Jay Petervary- who went all out and raced, while others took their time and camped along the way.

 

UltraLight mat, Spark Sp III sleeping Bag, Pocket Towel, X Bowl, X Cup, Wilderness Wash, Compression Sacks, Aeros Pillow Premium.

UltraLight mat, Spark Sp III sleeping Bag, Pocket Towel, X Bowl, X Cup, Wilderness Wash, Compression Sacks, Aeros Pillow Premium.

When heading out on a trip like this I like to be light and fast, but that doesn’t mean I have to be unprepared. I choose what I’m going to carry carefully and knowing its there is peace of mind so I can go further or longer when I want to. Thanks to my great sponsors Sea to Summit and Adventure Medical Kits I can be #AdventureEquipped, which means controlling what I can control, so that I don’t worry when things turn unpredictable. Here are just some of my bike packing essentials.

0125-0290 AMK Ultralight Watertight 9 RT copyMy Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight .9 kit contains: anti histamine tablets for allergic reaction, trauma dressings (including QuikClot for heavy bleeding, gauze roll, non-adherent dressings, tape), blister dressings (I love BlistoBan because it’s so thin and really works!), anti-inflammatory meds, asthma inhaler, and a needle (for blisters). I also carry a mini knife, and CPR shield.

 

Happy Trails,
Rebecca

 

About Rebecca Rusch

When describing Rebecca Rusch’s athletic achievements, it may be easier to talk about what she hasn’t done, but, like Rebecca herself, we’re doing this the hard way.

Her national and world titles in whitewater rafting, adventure racing, orienteering, and cross-country skiing certainly impress, but they only set the stage; it’s the two-wheeled victories that really lengthen her resume. Rusch’s mountain bike accomplishments would strain the pixels on your screen. National wins across multiple off-road formats top the list, as well as record-setting victories at storied ultra endurance races like the Leadville Trail 100, Dirty Kanza 200, and 24 Hour MTB World Championships. Not content to wait for the race to come to her, Rusch also claimed the record on the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail, coming in more than an hour and a half faster than the previous champion. It wasn’t her idea, but it doesn’t take a professor to see why she earned the moniker “The Queen Of Pain.”

While maintaining this laundry list of accolades would be enough for most athletes, Rusch takes no such time to rest on her laurels. Her SRAM Gold Rusch Tour has been traveling to races and events across North America to help get more women in the saddle and riding their bikes through skills clinics, social events, and group rides. She created Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a grueling gravel road event in her hometown of Ketchum that attracts hundreds of riders to her backyard every year, all for charity. Organizations like the International Mountain Bike Association, World Bicycle Relief, PeopleForBikes.org, the National Interscholastic Mountain Bike Association, and the Wood River Bicycle Coalition can count her as an official ambassador and, in some cases, board member. Visit her site at http://www.rebeccarusch.com.

 

Repost: Letter from Customer

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Original post from z-medica: http://hub.z-medica.com/StopBleedingFastBlog/bid/236528/Letter-from-Customer

Orginally posted:  Posted by Christina Guman on Wed, Oct 24, 2012

I’m a municipal law enforcement officer from New England and have attended some great classes put on by Dark Angel Medical and QuikClot.

I had an extra Combat Gauze pack in my kit and gave it to a friend a few weeks ago who is a registered Maine guide/Kayak guide and hospital Rad Tech.

Less than two weeks after I gave her the pack and explained it’s use, she had a client walking along some jagged rocks on the Maine coast. The client (young and healthy) fell and cut a deep gash in his shoulder in a location where she could not apply a tourniquet because of the location.

The gash cut all the way into the joint and partially severed an artery there. He had a bad bleed and they were two (2) miles away from help.

She packed the wound with Combat Gauze and was surprised at how much she was able to pack into the gash. She then wrapped the wound up and applied direct pressure while she towed the patient back to shore to awaiting EMS who took him to hospital right into surgery.

The Docs/nurses were amazed at how well QuikClot worked and commented that his life was saved by the quick application of this product.

The details are still coming in, but I wanted you all to know how about another life saved by your products.

Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely yours,

Sgt. Nate Goodman
Freeport Police Department

The Bear Necessities for Avoiding Bear Attacks: Hunters Beware

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

By Buck Tilton

Encounters between humans and bears are rising in number. Why? The weather partially explains it. Warmer temps keep bears active longer. But the main reason, all things considered, is more likely to be the increase in the number of bears. Wyoming, for instance, estimates triple the population of grizzlies (about 200 to more than 600) in the Yellowstone ecosystem since the mid-1970s. As Brian DeBolt, the bear management officer for Wyoming Game & Fish, told the Casper Star-Tribune: “. . . if you’ve got more bears, you are going to have more conflicts.” And hunters top the list of possible victims because they walk around quietly, stalking game in bear country, and smelling like dinner.

Statistically, your chances of being killed by a bear, thankfully, are slim, but, to reduce the chances to an absolute minimum, here are three basic rules concerning bears:

  1. Hike and camp in a manner designed to avoid bears. In known bear country, avoid areas that are used often by bears–trails with bear tracks and bear scat, trails through berry patches, and trails through dense brush and thick forest. Avoid areas that smell of decaying meat. Bears like to cover their uneaten food and camp nearby to finish it off later. If possible, camp in the open. Cook food at least 100 yards from sleeping sites. If camping near a river, sleep upriver from the cook-site. Night breezes tend to blow down river, pushing the food smells away from the sleeping bags. Camp cleanly: Avoid wiping food-stained hands and utensils on clothing. Avoid spilling food on the ground. Avoid fish and greasy food. Pack food and other odorous stuff (such as toothpaste and gum) in a separate bag so the smells don’t get into pack and clothing. Hang the food at night, if possible, out of bear-reach from the ground and from the trunk of the tree.
  2. Hunt in a group large enough to ensure a measure of safety. Bears like a measure of safety, too, and have not attacked a group of four or more in recent history.
  3. Strive to never surprise a bear. Bears, particularly grizzlies, do not accommodate people up close and personal. Mother bears need even more room. Push their comfort zone, and they tend to either attack or run away. Once smelling or hearing humans, almost all bears will run away.

Surviving a Bear Encounter

A surprised bear that has seen the surpriser cannot be predicted to act in a certain way. Hopefully, he or she will turn and run. If the bear doesn’t run, speak in a calm, quiet voice. Back away slowly, but do not run. Running encourages the bear to play chase, a game the bear will win. If the group of people is four or more, it usually works best to maximize the threat to the bear. The people should stand close together, raise their arms, speak in a reasonably loud and assured voice, identifying themselves as humans, the age-old nemesis to the bear. Statistics say the bear will retreat. Bears who feel threatened turn to the side, displaying their size.  They will often woof aggressively. They may charge toward the threat, and suddenly stop. These are invitations for the human to retreat. It is advisable to do so, but, remember, no running. It is best to back off slowly and keep speaking in a calm voice (which may be difficult by now). Humans without backpacks may benefit from turning to the side while backing off, an act that makes you look smaller and less intimidating. Climbing a tree is seldom worth the effort. Black bears climb like squirrels, and grizzlies will climb into the lower branches at a very fast rate. Avoid eye contact with the bear, an act of aggression.

Surviving a Bear Attack

If the bear actually attacks, different tactics are called for depending on the species of bear. Black bears seldom attack seriously unless they are hungry. They are not used to having food fight back, and it is statistically best to counter-attack, doing all possible to convince the black bear to dine elsewhere. If the bear is a grizzly, assuming a least-threatening posture–playing dead–is the best tactic. Curl up to guard vital parts, clasping hands protectively behind neck. The brown bear may take a few bites, but then leave you alone. If, however, a grizz does not soon lose interest, fight back as aggressively as possible. Remember, the best offense is a good offense!

Recommended Gear List:

First Aid Kit – AMK’s Outfitter. Includes a wound irrigation system and enough wound care supplies and pain medications to treat to 1 – 14 hunters on trips of up to two weeks.
Hemostatic Bandage – AMK’s Trauma Pak with QuikClot®. The US Military-approved QuikClot® stops serious, even arterial,  bleeding in as little as five minutes.

Buck Tilton has authored 36 books on outdoor safety, including Wilderness First Responder, which won an award for excellence in medical writing from the American Medical Writers Association. For the last 20 years, Buck has contributed hundreds of articles on wilderness safety to Backpacker. In addition to his writing and journalism, Tilton also co-founded the Wilderness Medicine Institute (now WMI of NOLS), which remains the largest school of wilderness medicine in the world.

Hunting Injuries — Myths and Misconceptions

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

By Buck Tilton

With the season of the orange-clad huntsman comes an opportunity for a wound — more than 35,000 of these incidents occur in the U.S. each year — usually relegated to the wilds of major metropolitan areas. What you don’t know or what you think you know, but are mistaken, can make someone with a gunshot wound worse. So, let’s take aim at some of the enduring myths and misconceptions surrounding this potentially life-threatening injury:

MYTH: Modern, high-powered bullets always leave exit wounds larger than entrance wounds.
THE REALITY: It ain’t necessarily so. A tumbling, twisting, mushrooming bullet may surely create a wound much larger when it leaves a body, but often the bullet breaks apart or shatters a bone, and small fragments blow out of the body through a hole or holes smaller than the entrance wound. Remember, don’t focus solely on the entrance wound and forget to look for the exit wound.

MYTH: Big bullets leave big holes and vice versa for little bullets.
THE REALITY: Think again. Sharp edges (such as arrowheads) slice the skin, but bullets stretch skin, crushing it momentarily before blasting through, and the elasticity of skin causes it to bounce back, leaving a hole typically smaller than the bullet’s size.

MYTH: You can judge the path of a bullet through a body by the orientation of the entrance and exit wounds.
THE REALITY: BZZZ! Wrong answer. The hunk of lead can make mysterious turns and ricochets once inside a body, entering, for instance, the shoulder and ending up passing through the abdomen or entering the thigh and ripping up into the chest.

THE CORRECT RESPONSE

Check for both entrance and exit wounds, yes, and apply direct pressure with bulky material such as the trauma pad from your first aid kit or shirts and bandannas. When external bleeding has stopped, cover the wounds with sterile dressings. The petrolatum dressing with AMK’s Hunter kit works very well at protecting the wound and speeding up the healing process. In arm and leg wounds, bones may have been broken. Check for broken bones and splint the extremity if necessary. Treat for shock and go for help ASAP.

Make sure your kit includes trauma pads and QuikClot for stopping serious bleeding

SOME POINTS ABOUT ARROW WOUNDS…

If you base your management of impaled arrows on John Wayne movies (think of the “Duke” in one his many popular Westerns, heroically ripping out Indian arrow after Indian arrow as if they were bothersome splinters), number yourself among the first-aid impaired. Today’s broadheads are not only razor sharp but also designed to tear apart large chunks of an animal’s anatomy. Pushing one through or, even worse, trying to pull one out usually enlarges the problem substantially.

THE CORRECT RESPONSE

You can cut off, if you’re able, the visible shaft down to, say, three or four inches. Pad around the shaft well with gauze or clean clothing and tape or tie the object securely to prevent movement. If the object is stuck in an arm or leg, be sure the tape or ties does not cut off blood flow past the tape or ties. Treat for shock. Go for help.

RECOMMENDED GEAR LIST

AMK’s Hunter Kit Includes 5″ x 9″ and 8″ x 10″ trauma pads for stopping bleeding, among other hospital quality wound care materials; Nitrile Gloves for safely handling blood-soaked bandages; and MD-penned Easy Care™ Card with instructions on how to stop bleeding.

Trauma Pak With QuikClot®Comes with essential wound care materials, including a 25 g pack of QuikClot Sport, the US Military’s Hemostatic bandage of choice; stops serious – even arterial bleeding – in as little as five minutes.

Buck Tilton has authored 36 books on outdoor safety, including Wilderness First Responder, which won an award for excellence in medical writing from the American Medical Writers Association. For the last 20 years, Buck has contributed hundreds of articles on wilderness safety to Backpacker. In addition to his writing and journalism, Tilton also co-founded the Wilderness Medicine Institute (now WMI of NOLS), which remains the largest school of wilderness medicine in the world.