Sumatra | IndiaNorway

 

I've recently returned from an expedition to Sumatra, where we conducted the first biodiversity survey of an unexplored forest, attempted (read "failed") to make the first ascent of the 3080m Mount Kurik, and crossed the island on foot. 

Extract from Say Yes to Adventure Magazine

Our four-person team encircled the damply spluttering fire, it was the night after our arrival at the base of Mount Kurik: Said was poring over our route plan, Iris was jotting down the day’s biological observations, and Roy was stretched out on his roll mat, clutching his bandaged hand to his chest. Yesterday’s attempt to summit had failed, and we didn’t have the equipment necessary for a different route. Maps of the area are vague at best, and tend to contradict one and other. We had expected a steep ridge to Kurik’s summit and had found a vertical rock face. On the descent Roy had hacked at a moss-covered tree stump with his machete, but the “stump” turned out to be concealed boulder: his machete slipped and cut his ring finger right through the bone. Grimacing, he washed it with surgical spirit. I pulled out my makeshift med kit and we bandaged it up as best we could: a tampon to absorb the blood, a condom to keep out infection, duct tape to hold it all together. The finger had swollen in front of the ring, but we didn't have the tools to remove it. Roy is a devout Muslim, and the expedition unfortunately overlapped with Ramadan: he stoically refused to ingest painkillers or antibiotics until sunset.  The cold didn’t help, the morning after the summit attempt I emerged to find Roy shivering by the fire:

“How did you sleep?”

“I couldn’t, I sat and prayed for day”. 

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