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The Troubleshooter’s Handbook

Murphy’s Law, meet your match. Our experts offer trip-saving fixes for 44 mishaps, from bug bites to bad partners to broken bones.

DEADLY – Survival odds are poor. Written your will?.

Heart Attack
>> Symptoms Chest pain, short of breath, dizziness
>> Quick Fix Chew 325 mg of aspirin, give CPR (if necessary), and send someone to get help. Don’t evacuate the victim by his own power.

Choking
>> Symptoms Extreme panic, inability to breathe, cough, speak
>> Quick Fix Give the Heimlich ma-neuver. If the victim loses consciousness, open the airway (head-tilt/chin lift), and give CPR.

Stroke
>> Symptoms Slurred speech, facial paralysis, incontinence, memory loss
>> Quick Fix Make the victim comfortable (insulated, too), lay them on their paralyzed side. Evacuate asap.

Chance Meeting with Joe Simpson
Run like hell. His bad luck may be contagious.


Out of Water… in the Summer… 20 Miles from the Trailhead
Dehydration can kill in hours. Here’s how to get more H20.

Desert
Find Sources Seek out shaded potholes in ledges and canyons. There’s groundwater where green plants grow, but expect to dig six
feet or more for it. Prickly pears and agave contain potable fluid.
Make Your Own Trap water from plants: Enclose a leafy branch in a plastic bag and add a small rock so fluid collects in one corner; tie the
open end shut. Place the bag in direct sunlight to speed transpiration.

Mountain
Find Sources Look for snow in shaded crevasses. Boulder fields can hide springs or melting snow; listen for water under the rocks.
You’ll have better luck below treeline so head downhill.
Make Your Own Collect meadow dew: Wrap your feet and ankles in a cotton t-shirt or absorbant fabric and walk through the grass.
Wring out the material and repeat until it’s all sopped up.

Forest
Find Sources Scout uphill and downhill of dry sources and seek out seepages below cliffs or outcroppings. Watch for bees, birds,
and herding animals, all of which need a regular drink, too.
Make Your Own Harvest fog: String up your tent’s no-see-um mesh in a misty spot overnight. Rig a collection container at the
mesh’s base or suck up the droplets before daylight.


Severed Toe or Finger
Use direct pressure to stop the potentially deadly bleeding. Rinse the digit and store it in a zip-top bag for the hike out—with snow or ice if possible.
Snap photos for posterity.

BeeAnaphylactic Reaction
Throat swelling and airway rapidly closing? If you suspect an allergic reaction, remove the stinger, take an oral antihistamine, and inject an EpiPen.
If you didn’t pack an Epi, speed up your Benadryl’s absorption: Crush it into powder, mix with water, and drink the Kool-Aid.


River IconRaging River
Keep your head about you and above water

Annoying: Slip-sliding on rocks
Wear shoes while crossing, and plant both trekking poles and both feet before stepping. Move only one point of contact at a time and stay facing
upstream.

Alarming: Swept away
Ditch your pack and float on your back with your arms above your head (do the backstroke) and your feet raised. Don’t aim for branches, which can
trap you. Instead, angle into the current, and aim for the bank. Don’t stop swimming until you can stand up—and pump your fist in the air

Dangerous: Caught in a flash flood
In a slot canyon: Climb to a sheltered spot or a ledge above the debris line. Walls too steep? Shield yourself behind a rock or fin, where eddies and
pools will form and slow the water. Do your best to hang on.

Deadly: Headed toward a waterfall
You’re not (totally) doomed (at least three people have survived unprotected trips over Niagara Falls). Up your odds by taking a deep breath,
turning feet first, protecting your head with your arms, and swimming the second you smack the water. Do NOT yell “cannonball!” On second thought,
what the hell?

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