Treatment for snake bite is a real mess. "Cut and suck" was the preferred treatment back in my youth (60 years or so ago), but many other modalities were also touted. Studies revealed that cut and suck actually did more harm than good, to say nothing of other methods that were even worse(like drinking booze). Thus the current preferred treatment: Get the victim to a hospital as quickly as is reasonably possible where the proper antivenom can be administered, if necessary. Today, in many circumstances, that would be helicopter transport, if indeed the victim is in the back country - the victim probably isn't. I recall a presentation about forty years ago where a Tucson physician was discussing the circumstances surrounding snake bites. There were two categories - young children playing around in their years, often around the front porch and (2) young adults out collecting or other wise intentionally interacting with poisonous snakes. no hikers. I do recall one rescue where the victim scrambling up a rocky slope, came eye to eye with a rattler, lost his footing, and fell, crunching his lower leg and ankle. That's it. I quoted from my dog eared copy of the sixth edition of Medicine for Mountaineering, rather than two earlier editions I possess. This volume is my personal favorite (there are other good references as well). My assessment of the snake hazard, based on some sixty years interaction with the critters, is to leave them alone, and they will leave me alone. In general, poisonous reptiles (don't forget the dreaded Gila Monster!) are a relatively insignificant hazard to the outdoors enthusiast, nowhere near that posed by rough terrain (falling!) or inclement weather (either hot or cold) or possibly even forest fires (currently a problem in some areas). I don't take it upon myself to judge the value of all the offerings presented at my REI stores or on the website. I don't purchase things I think are irrelevant and I let my wallet do the talking. On of the key isues in treating a victim, especially when in a remote setting, is developing trust and confidence, basically informing the victim (provided they are lucid) about the measures being taken and what is going to happen to them. While someone else is arranging for the helo, stretcher, or whatever, I just might possibly get out the Extractor and suggest that we try this gadget out since it possibly could be of some marginal benefit. I wouldn't overhype it, but many victims are relieved so see that some measures are being taken. This is situational, and it might not be worthwhile, depending upon the anxiety level of the victim, but it could be useful. I oncee read that the traditional Native American treatment for snakebite was to simply stop, sit down, and remain quiet for days, if necessary. Doesn't seem like a bad idea at all, especially if antivenom is not available.
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Basically a non-issue. Quoting from Medicine for Mountaineering, 6th edition (2010), "less than1per cent of venomous snakebites in the united States are lethal." That's roughly 5 to 10 people annually (some of whom have refused therapy. That is the toll from all situations, not just simply hiking or wilderness bites Treatment is best accomplished in a hospital setting, if indeed the patient has received venom (25% have not). Keep the patient still. immobilize the bitten part, and transport by the best means possible I imagine many people buy and carry things like the sawyer Extractor because they are overly concerned about snake bite hazard. If they don't buy the gadget at REI they will get one at the nearest drug store. REI does indeed sell items that I regard as unnecessary or trivial, but it is still a free market economy, for better or worse (at least until I am anointed King of the Universe0. Ages ago, I packed a cut and suck outfit against the dreaded snake bite, finally discarding it a coupleof decades ago. During that time as an avid outdoors fan, a fairly active caver, and an archaeologist, I encountered many rattlesnakes. As an active SAR volunteer in southern Arizona, we treated many swift water situations and lots of fall victims, but no snakebites. Once again, I agree that the Extractor is pretty worthless. I don't recall ever seeing it in my local store, but then i don't monitor their inventory for what I think is suitable.
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I would ad, take some sort of first aid course, preferably oriented toward the outdoors, if you have not already done so. Its not that hiking and backpacking are particularly dangerous, but sooner or later, slips and bumps will occur, either to you, a companion, or a complete stranger encountered on the trail. Actually, you will most likely use first aid in a domestic setting or around an auto accident.
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A little more information would be useful in giving you information. What specifically do you mean by medium and high. What seasons are you contemplating? Specific peaks?? There is a big difference between an icy couloir in the summer and the same terrain in winter and different boots for those conditions are essential. Today, most crampons are adjustable and can fit wide variety of boots. IANARE.....
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@Mac Hiking covers everything from short day hikes to multi day backpacks over challenging routine. I recommend commencing with short day hikes, three miles or less (assuming you are in decent physical condition) and then extending gradually from there.
Even on a short hike carry a least a quart of water. something in the way of first aid, snacks, a flashlight of some sort, and hopefully a map, perhaps even a compass. Get into the habit of using an appropriate map, ideally a 1:24,000topo map - knowing where you are and where you are going is fundamental. Bring along your cell phone. Be properly clothed for conditions, including proper head gear. As you venture out, hopefully with experienced companions, you will develop preferences for gear. Learn about the "ten essentials and start ASAP to carry at least a rudimentary version of them, even on day hikes.
The three B's are fundamental - boot, backpack, and sleeping bag, On a short trip on easy terrain, normal sneakers will do just fine. Most versatile is a low cut boot or shoe with lug sole (pretty routine these days), probably some sort of leather and fabric construction. From there the sky is the limit. Depending on your inclinations, you can possess several pairs of boots for different situations. There is a good selection in every REi store I have ever visited.
Backpacks - you will certainly need at least a good, well fitting daypack, capacity about 40 liters IMO, but some prefer less capacity. You can begin with less but this should be a high priority for acquisition. Proper fitting and sizing is crucial. For overnights and longer you will want a pack with more capacity, 65 liters or so at least. Proper fitting is even more important here and this is a major item, so take your time and evaluate carefully.
If you get into the activity, you will want a quality sleeping bag, along with a decent pad. You can get by with expedient items, perhaps just a spare blanket of two, but eventually, if you do many overnights, you will want a down bag, weighing three pounds or less, and rated for a comfortable night's sleep at 20-25F. This is another major purchase, so take your time and be sure you will use it. if you do, it will soon become a cherished item.
Most indispensable will be informed and capable companions. They will last a lifetime (trust me, I know).
There's lots more, so pay attention to this forum. Lots of good stuff here,
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Can't resist an invitation like that....My first experience to the VE25 was a mountaineering patrol on Denali in 1988, three weeks in duration with three of us in the tent nightly. Spent two weeks at the Advanced Base Camp (14,400 elev) where we experienced a storm with 80 mph winds and -80 windchill (the most severe conditions I have ever experienced). The tent, pitched in the lee of substantial snow wall, was a welcome refuge. Two years later, I ordered four VE-25s for a four year project locating and recording archaeological sites on Santa Rosa Island (Channel islands National Park). Temps on the island rarely dip into the high 30s,but the winds can easily reach 60 mph, especially toward evening. These tents were used by one person and pitched wherever the person desired. I typiclly pitched mine in a nice thicket near camp. Those tents were pitched for seven days at a time, alternating weeks, for four months, in a project that lasted four years. UV had affected the flys on the tents by that time, but otherwise they were in good shape. Another person pitched a VE-24, a perfectly adequate tent in normal conditions, in a scenic, albeit windy location, where the high winds one evening absolutely destroyed that tent. Meanwhile, snug in my VE-25 in the thicket, I was not even aware of the storm. The point is - it isn't just the tent, it is also the location that is significant. But the VE-25 is a really tough tent IMHO
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You might find this evaluation interesting and worthwhile, although it is of a modeel 210 Fast Find: http://www.equipped.com/McMurdoNewFastFind.htm I would second thee admonition to be well versed in emergency procedures. Just because you can quickly send out an emergency signal with your accurate location does not mean that aid will come quickly - that happens only in movies. Many factors influence SAR response and not all of them are favorable. It is best if you can initiate a good response on your own (stop the bleeding, at least).
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We have aa couple of threads discussing the negative effects of campfires- escaping, causing air pollution, etc., and I think it is worthwhile to point out that there are positive aspects to fires as well.
To wit: Campfires provide heat and light, which can be crucial in numerous situations, especially what we might term "survival" conditions, when other more customary light and heat sources are not available.
Back in the 50s and 60s, when I was learning and perfecting outdoor skills, I got pretty good at getting a fire going in adverse conditions. This came in handy on several occasions, some of which were edging on crucial.
In 1963 I signed up with REI. my first purchase was a Primus 71L stove It is still around here somewhere, now a prized antique). At that point, my ability to build fires under adverse conditions began to decline, since I could now carry a virtually guaranteed heat and flame source. my ability to build and ignite fires in a howling snowstorm steadily declined.
These days my essentials bag include some hexamine (Esbit) tablets and I always carry a small bottle of 70% alcohol hand sanitizer, which makes an excellent fire starter and accelerant. I am confident with those aides, and a bit of my rusty skills I will be able to get a fire going, if I ever need one. And those occasions do arise, often when least expected. Fire construction is an essential, fundamental outdoor skill
The crucial thing about fires is knowing when to start one, and when NOT to start one, under any circumstances, Heat, wind, and dry conditions indicate that no fires should be built, period. Dinner will have to be dark chocolate bars, served cold.
On other occasions, a fire can be the difference between life and death, quite literally.
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