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First Aide Kit Suggestions

Original Post
Nyte Knight · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 10

So my 13-year old has taken up climbing, with her poor mom tagging along on the rope with her. Her ultimate goal that she has her mind focused on is climbing El Capitan (eventually when she's conditioned enough).

Right now we are gym climbing while she gains skill and confidence and mom gains confidence in her. But she's been eying going outdoors soon.

I have a basic camping/larping/Girl Scout first aide kid that's more heavily skewed towards allergies, sprains, splinters, burns, and dehydration. Things we've encountered or have a higher risk for with the activities we do.

Suggestions on what I should add to it for climbing? It's in a pretty big duffel bag so I have plenty of room to add things.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

This is not an easy question, and I predict the responses are going to be all over the map.

A couple general truths:

The more you know about FA, the bigger your kit is likely to be, just b/c you're aware of more potential problems. Ignorance may not be bliss, but it sure doesn't weigh much in this context.

The flip side is that a well trained FA'er should be able to improvise better than a novice, and the heavy specialized gear might not go in the pack all the time.

Second biggie - it depends on the setting. Roadside cragging doesn't call for the heavy kit that might be totally appropriate a day or two into the backcountry. (Advanced training is more appropriate back there as well, but that's not what you asked about.)

Bottom line - for "front country" cragging, my kit has a lot of bleeding control items, Benadryl and pain pills. No splints or huge bandages, as these can be improvised if the dung flies into the blower. With my meager training, if a serious wreck were to occur, I could address immediate life threats, protect the C-Spine, and basically wait for definitive help to arrive. But again, I'm within an hour of the latter.

Jeremy Riesberg · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 5

I keep an ace splint, olaes pressure dressing, nasopharyngeal airway, disposable CPR mask, high quality tweezers, and tape in my day pack. I bring very little onto a rock climb. However, I do take this into the alpine and I would take this kit up a big wall. It's unlikely I would need anything else. If so, that person likely wouldn't live till EMT arrived.

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340

Band aids

Beyond that, you may want to consider enrolling in at least a Wilderness First Aid course if you're serious about being prepared for an outdoor accident. Having the "tools" is one thing, having the knowledge to use them is another.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,453

As “Gunkiemike” says, training can allow you to improvise. A dirty handkerchief and pressure will stop the bleeding, but it’s a heck of a lot better if a gauze pad goes on between the cut and that handkerchief! A small kit you actually have with you is way better than a large kit back in the car.
Here’s what I take at a couple of “Levels”.
“Level 1” – 3 or 4 “Tough strip”, 1 inch-wide” Band-Aids; and 1, or 2, of those little towel-antiseptic-wipes; a small vial with 6 or so Ibuprophen and a similar number of Benadryl. This goes into a small zip-lock bag and that goes into the zippered pocket of my chalk bag (along with a very small knife and a very small headlamp). 95% of climbing first aid is needing something for abrasions and small cuts, and maybe a very minor sprain or bee sting. If I were going to add something to this I’d add (in order) a small tube of antibiotic ointment, a roll of ½” tape and either 3-inch or 2-inch gauze pad.
“Level 2” – For more serious, longer climbs (and/or most hikes) I carry the following in a small, tough nylon bag that can either attach to my harness with a ‘biner or be inside my climbing pack on my back. Items are listed in what I think is, roughly, more important to less:
roll of 1-inch adhesive tape, (2-inch may be better, e.g. useful for sprained ankle)
one of the “blood clotting” bandages that are now for sale,
Pencil and a couple of 3x5 cards (write down info about the accident & the patient’s condition)
10-12 Ibuprophen (“Advil”) [ or “Alieve”] for sprains ,
4-6 Benadryl
6-10 aspirin,
1 or 2 3-inch gauze pads,
1 or 2 2-inch wide Band-Aid(s)

While not first aid, this bag also usually contains a small headlamp / flashlight and maybe a compass.

sarcasm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 480

This may seem a touch over kill, but to be honest, you seem like that sort of person, haha, so maybe you could look into the Wilderness First Responder program. It's fairly involved and semi expensive but everyone I know that has done it raves about it. You will learn A LOT, and it will adequately prepare you for a myriad of adventures. Good luck. Send her up the Dawn Wall once she gets all that indoor experience dialed in.
Have fun!

George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 8

My minimum is some tape and an Israeli bandage. You can pick one up on Amazon for ~$8. It's an efficient and compact compression bandage that will quickly manage a serious injury to any part of the body. Seriously, check it out!

Beyond that, there's no replacement for appropriate training and improvisation skills.

Nyte Knight · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 10

Wow I wasn't expecting that much info.

I have basic first aid/CPR/AED training. As well as crisis assault training, but I doubt I'll need that. Then again with some drunken idiots, who knows. I'm a teacher so these things are work mandated (SPED teacher) and not helicopter parenting.

My kit contains pretty much everything suggested. I have some quik clots and plastic splints I recently added when we took the girl scout troop camping way out at a group site. I am looking into the Wilderness First Aid training (the Wilderness EMT training is too overkill) from REI unless the Girl Scout council offers it cheaper. They have it in the past. Current insurance regulations allow us to camp/hike less than 30 miles from EMT services (or cell services to call for EMT) but that training allows farther and might come in handy should there be a serious injury and cell service is not immediate.

But I think I will throw together a basic pack for her to hang on her harness. Mom with the first aide knowledge is only good if she's on the ground.

Any thoughts on walkies to communicate with the ground and those on the rocks?

While the kid has El Cap aspirations, I do not. I like keeping my feet on the ground. I'm slowly warming up to the idea of climbing (and possibly outside too) but like the safety of a rope but not hanging 3000 feet above valley.

Nyte Knight · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 10

And looking over these accident reports, it sounds like a helmet for the climber and the belayer is a necessary piece of equipment.

Another question....anyone climb with glasses? Kidlet's vision is so severely impaired (bad 2-way astigmatism) that requires her to wear her glasses at all times and right now contacts would have to be made custom for her and her eye doctor isn't recommending them.

Anyone have experience with sport glasses? The type that look like wrap around sunshades with straps?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

I wear prescription glasses all the time. Been climbing in them for 40 years with no issues whatsoever.

mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

RE helmets:

IMO helmets are even more important for children than for adults.

RE glasses:

I believe that "they" recommend polycarbonate lenses for rock climbers.

RE El Capitan:

There is a lot more to big wall climbing than conditioning. Hire a guide.

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
Megan Parks wrote:And looking over these accident reports, it sounds like a helmet for the climber and the belayer is a necessary piece of equipment. Another question....anyone climb with glasses? Kidlet's vision is so severely impaired (bad 2-way astigmatism) that requires her to wear her glasses at all times and right now contacts would have to be made custom for her and her eye doctor isn't recommending them. Anyone have experience with sport glasses? The type that look like wrap around sunshades with straps?
I've had really bad luck getting wraparound prescription sunglasses. I have an astigmatism in one eye, and for polycarbonate lenses, that results in a really thick lens that is completely impractical. I would recommend going with regular glasses and then sunglasses that go over the regular glasses, and going with a hardshell type helmet instead of the foam helmets, just so that there is space for the arms of the glasses. Also, get a set of Croakies for the glasses, so they are not lost in a fall.

WRT first aid kits, get the WFR over a WFA/WAFA, as it teaches you a lot more about managing evacuations, and take a self-rescue climbing course. This is more for the leader's benefit, say for example so that the belayer/follower knows how to rescue the leader in the event of a bad fall over a ledge, or getting stuck in a crack or offwidth.

Personally, I carry a somewhat larger first aid kit, containing a NuMask CPR mask ( amazon.com/gp/product/B0062…), gauze, ACE bandage, short SAM Splint, WFR reference guide, duct tape, irrigation syringe, small set of medications, documentation, trauma shears, athletic tape, and an assortment of bandages. That said, I built this based on what my university group takes on trips, so it's probably overbuilt.
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

I'd suggest WFR training as this + experience in the outdoors will teach you how to improvise most stuff. I'd also add cloth tape, a SOAP note + pencil/pen, WFR handbook and, if you have it, some kind of strong pain killer (i.e. hydros). For really frontcountry stuff without a long hike in, consider a SAM splint. Tincture of benzoin can be nice, especially for crack climbing and tape gloves, but isn't necessary.

I wouldn't bother bringing band-aids or gauze as tape can be used for band-aids and clothing can be improvised for dressing.

Roamin' Buffalo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 50

SUPERGLUE. And benzalkonium disinfectant,

Seth Webster · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 5

I have come to the position that I will wear a helmet unless I have a good reason not to. Though that is a personal decision that many climbers do not take. Each person needs to decide what risks are acceptable to them.

I am also almost blind without my glasses. Climbing with them has never been a problem. Though there have been times I have considered attaching those behind the ear-neck loop things.

I am not the hugest fan of walkies. Just another thing to fumble with and it still does not guarantee good communication. Communication before the climber takes off is important. And rope commands can be useful too. It is better to get all of that stuff figured out before hand than just leaving it to the walkie.

I am also not sure about the kit on the harness. Climbing is hard enough for me without extra weight :P

For just cragging, I will have my kit in my gear bag and could just lower my partner to the ground to treat them. In my unprofessional opinion, the vast majority of the time you will be able to lower your partner to treat them. If you can't, I am not sure having a kit on their harness will do much good.

Here are a couple of items I carry that I did not see listed above:
- A needle
- Moleskin/blister care
- Antiseptic ointment
- Usually have a bandana in my pack

jcm537 · · Broomfield, Co. · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 0

Duct tape & a defibrillator.

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25

I rarely carry a first aid kit. I have done a wilderness first aid course though I found that it was mostly common sense.

First aid? I hardly consider band-aids for minor scratches to be first aid. That is just field aid. Cuts, abrasions scratches? These are not serious enough to need first aid. If you are climbing then tape, super glue can provide basic aid and protection to continue.

Significant injuries that require secondary aid aka professional treatment these are the things that real first aid needs to focus on. I find most requirements to be far too bulky and rarely used for them to be worth carrying. Furthermore improvisation can cover most things. Stop severe bleeding, splint fractures, evacuate or seek evacuation if patient can't be moved.

Most of the time I would consider additional safety equipment move important of pack space than a first aid kit. Spare headlamp, rainjacket, additional warm clothes, fire equipment, mobile phone, bivy sack.... Most of that I don't carry already on many trips. But most of those items would be far more likely to be used for safety reasons than a first aid kit.

(There are few serious injuries or deaths that I've read about where a first aid kit would have been life saving. There are MANY serious injuries or deaths where additional safety equipment would have been.)

Individual needs though make some medications vital. Eg severe allergies, diabetes etc...

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,453

Glasses are a pain sometimes (e.g. when they fog up), but contacts can be more of a pain...like when you get some dust in you eyes and it feels like sandpaper, and then you have to take the contact out and clean it...maybe while you're hanging from a multi-pitch belay anchor with the wind blowing.

About the only time I wear contacts is ice climbing on humid (read "snowing") days.

While it sounds like right now you're doing only "1/2 rope-length climbs" (where the leader can lower-off back to the ground) sooner or later you're headed for multi-pitch climbing, so think about that situation and start practicing now the procedures and techniques that work for that climbing scenario. For example, if there's a designated "second" it makes sense for that person to carry the first aid kit (leader is more likely to get injured); and losing glasses 2 pitches up is a lot different from losing them 25 ft up a 50 ft climb. I.e. think about "Croaky's", or other straps, to hold them on;... and maybe carry a spare pair if you totally can't function without glasses. Also, I've had more glasses nearly flipped off my head by the rope as a second than as a leader.

Helmets....wear 'em ! Leader should wear 'em more in case she gets flipped backwards in a leader fall, or swings into a corner, than for rockfall protection. Second should wear 'em so that she's still conscious (and thus can still give a belay) if hit by a rock dislodged by the leader when she fell.

JK- Branin · · Southern New Hampshire · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58

Most climbing first aid kits will include tape, nail clippers, and some sort of antiseptic. Past that it gets personal: do you have any special needs (epipen?), what is your level of training and comfort with first aid, are you especially prone to a certain type of injury, or especially a wimp about one (which is fine).

On the wall my first aid kit is tape, knife, epipens, Benadryl, nailcippers. For really long days Excedrin and/or ibuprofen go in as well.

For a day the crag I'll add tincture of benzoine, some latex gloves, a pen and notebook, and maybe a basic store bought type assortment first aid kit. My kit for personal trips is pretty light, but I have the training, experience (unfortunately) and confidence to make do with it. Were I going with kids or in a professional capacity it would likely get larger...

SINGLE BIGGEST TIP: Get some training. The best kit in the world does no good without the knowledge to use it. A wilderness first aid course is not only super informational for the type of stuff we do, but also a lot of fun. Wilderness First Responder is even better, and one of the more fun weeks outdoors I've ever had.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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