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Injured hiker on Giant, and two of our own helping

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  • Injured hiker on Giant, and two of our own helping

    In case you have been watching Neils Spot today, he has been at a stand still on Giant for awhile. As it has been reported to me, he and Alistair are caring for an injured hiker, and waiting for rescue personnel to arrive.
    If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled ~ Red Skelton

  • #2
    Thanks for the info, I have written to Mudrat to call him , this wont be necessary now.

    Thanks again
    8000m 0/14

    Comment


    • #3
      The short version is Neil and company helped rescue a young woman who was pretty badly injured.
      Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

      Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
      Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
      Past President Catskill 3500 Club
      CEO Views And Brews!

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      • #4
        Myself and Neil helped with a rescue of a young women,Saturday afternoon, who had fallen 40+ feet off the side of the trail on Giant about 1/4mile above the Washbowl. She had a sprained/broken foot and could not walk. So we got her out the woods and down to a flat spot. We called rangers, lit a fire and hunkered down to wait for rescue.
        “In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”
        ― Eric Liddell

        Comment


        • salt
          salt commented
          Editing a comment
          So scary. Imagine the luck of running into a pair of ultra experienced hikers at such a moment. Thinking about a 40+ footer anything makes me cringe. Was this young lady solo out there? If so, even scarier, even luckier. At the risk of sounding corny or whatever and pardon my french but you guys are effing heroes!!! Great job.

      • #5
        Talk about an eerily prescient post! Act As You Should!


        Glad to hear there was no need for the 'buried in boughs' option!


        Well done Neil and alistair !
        Looking for Views!

        Comment


        • #6
          The following is the report of the rescue that Alistair Fraser and I were involved in. Had we been 5 minutes further down the trail at the time of the accident the outcome would have been a lot different because the victim and her partner would have been the last people on the mountain.

          Alistair and I were descending the Ridge Trail on Giant after a very satisfying day. We had started at the Owl's Head Lookout trail-head on Rte. 9N and bushwhacked Green before ascending the north trail on Giant. We had completed the out and back to RPR by 2:30 and I was looking forward to an early finish. Friends of mine were staying at Mercy cabin and I was envisioning a post-hike visit with adult beverages. Then an early start for Henderson and the Santanoni Range the next day to cap off day three of a weekend.

          The trail was quite good higher up, packed snow over a hard ice foundation and we made excellent time on the descent. We were both wearing K-10 crampons, which bit into the ice wonderfully. Gradually, snow gave way to ice and the trail became a river of it but the K-10's kicked butt. I was glad not to be wearing microspikes or Hillsounds. Then, just below the upper switchback section I saw a massive and steep ice flow, which gave me pause. Alistair was about 5 minutes ahead of me because I kept stopping to take pictures. I decided to use a protruding and angled tree trunk as a step and very carefully began lowering my foot down on to it. I knew I must not miss that 4-inch trunk or I'd go sailing.

          There were two young women on the other side of the flow, maybe 15 feet away. They were descending extremely delicately and were about 10-15 feet above the actual trail having traversed the ice flow. The one lower down wore micro-spikes. Just as I was lowering myself onto that trunk the one in MSR snowshoes lost her footing, fell and began to slide. She was instantly moving as if she had been shot out of a gun. It was a terrible sight to witness. She shot across the trail and flipped over and went out of sight but the sound of her hurtling through the woods and her screams were horrifying. And then, all was deadly quiet. Fearing something very bad I moved across the trail until I was directly above her and she was lying perfectly still, head uphill, face down. Then she lifted her head and I could see she was shaking and crying softly.

          I instructed her friend to stay on the trail and using trees to hang onto I carefully lowered myself to her. I crouched beside her and began asking questions. She was fully conscious and after I introduced myself, explained I was a chiropractor with wilderness first aid training I noted the look of relief that flooded her face and then I went to work.

          The only pain she reported was in her left ankle. What a miracle! I got her pack off and handed it to Alistair who had bushwhacked up and across from the trail. Luckily he was within earshot when it happened. I removed her snowshoes and in a difficult setting summarily evaluated the ankle. It looked like a grade two sprain of the ligament(s) on the outside of the joint. However, besides pain when I passively stretched those ligaments she had pain upon resisted eversion and extreme tenderness over the end of her fibula. She might have had a fracture.

          I informed her of what I was finding but was also shooting the breeze about where she went to school, how many peaks she had done etc. and she was obviously 100% functioning at the brain level. In such a setting my favorite combined neurological and orthopedic test is to instruct the victim to get up. This she did and I put her snowshoes back on for stability. I informed her that depending upon her ability to bear weight we had various options that ranged from our assisting her in walking out (assisted self-evacuation) to being flown off the mountain.

          It took 5 minutes to go ten feet and I did what I could to keep that left ankle in eversion when she bore weight so as to keep the damaged ligaments slack. Whenever she put weight on it with the ligaments under even moderate tension she winced in great pain. At this point a walk-out was looking impossible so Alistair and I discussed deploying the SOS function on my Spot device. I went down to a flat area next to the trail where the victim's friend was now waiting and Alistair took over in walking the injured hiker down towards us. Daylight was fading.

          I was about to push the SOS button when I saw the friend was looking at her phone! This would be much, much better and I called 911, got patched through to the DEC dispatch and was able to explain the situation in detail. Help was on its way! I then phoned my wife and Tom Haskins to let them each know why my Spot track would not be moving for a while.

          I told the friend to put all her warm clothes on before she got cold (as opposed to after) and went back up to help Alistair who was doing a fantastic job. We got her down and sat her on a big fallen tree and immediately got busy gathering birch bark, dry pine snaps and pieced of dry wood. I cleared away a few inches of slushy snow down to the ice layer and placed several pieces of wood down for a dry foundation. The girls had dryer lint and I had several pieces of the same mixed with paraffin. Between that and the birch bark we soon had a cheerful and warm fire going. Alistair had found a 16 foot long and 3 foot wide piece of durable plastic with bubbles like bubble-wrap at a clandestine camp while getting wood. The girls were sitting on it, the vic with her foot elevated. The fire required a lot of attention to keep going and threatened to go out a few times but we kept it burning brightly and nice and hot.

          It took about 90 minutes from the time of the 911 call for the ranger to arrive and she of course was extremely competent. After about 30 minutes she had the victim in a splint and an improvised webbing harness and she wore a similar set-up that she hooked to a carabiner that was attached to the rig on the victim. She wanted to get down to the Washbowl and she decided to use the tarp as a sled (brilliant idea!) and we folded it up and sat the victim down on it. The ranger, behind the “sled” and attached to the victim, acted as the brakes. I had a thin rope around the fold at the front end and I steered, pulled and cajoled the contraption as necessary. Alistair, wearing two packs, walked alongside and pushed, pulled and guided us as required. It was hard work but very effective. The victim was able to help maneuver herself over and through the steeper rocky sections with her arms and hands. It was raining and very windy. It had grown dark well before the ranger had arrived.

          As we arrived at the Giant's Washbowl a team of 4 more rangers was arriving from the trail-head. What a welcome sight! They had plenty more gear and a real sled. They wrapped the victim in a full body hot pack and prepared to evacuate her down to rte. 73, which was full mile of some extremely gnarly trail away. Alistair and I escorted the friend out and upon arriving at his truck realized just how tired and worn out we were.

          We drove around to the 9N trail-head and retrieved my vehicle and headed back to Tom and Doreen's for a cold beer and recounted our (mis)-adventure to them. We were scheduled to meet a hiking partner who was out of cell phone range at 6:30 the next morning at the Santanoni Range trail-head. But were now too worn out and tired to do the planned hike. Via Facebook I was able to contact someone who I knew was going to the same trail-head at 6am and she agreed to let our partner know what had occurred and explain why we would not be showing up. This saved me from having to get there myself at 6:30 the next morning.

          Finally, we went to bed thinking of what had gone before and what kind of ice we would find on Noonmark and Blue Mountain the next day.
          Last edited by Neil; 01-30-2018, 10:58 AM.

          Comment


          • Neil
            Neil commented
            Editing a comment
            I would guess a 911 call would get through no matter what. I asked the friend how much battery she had left. 12% But the victim had 85% so I had the friend call back and give the friend's number. By that time they said that help was already on the way.

          • autochromatica
            autochromatica commented
            Editing a comment
            Makes our impromptu snowshoe repair seem trivial. WAY TO GO NEIL & ALISTAIR!

          • salt
            salt commented
            Editing a comment
            My gosh. I know I'd already commented above but that was before I'd seen any of this. I was out today and saw no one. Not one single person. This young lady had someone watching over her for sure. You two are amazing individuals. The way you said she was calmed when you first spoke to her and introduced yourself. Gives me chills. I could go on forever. Wow, just wow.

        • #7
          If not for you and Alistair, the victim would've spent far more time on the mountain and probably in much more discomfort. Bad luck was the misstep with snowshoes on ice, good luck was having you two nearby.

          Talk about serendipity! Headline reads "Discarded plastic from clandestine camp makes good!"

          A tiny detail, but of significance to Canadian hikers, I'd be curious to know if the phone that was used worked with Verizon or ATT. Verizon (CDMA system) has good coverage in the Keene/Keene Valley area whereas ATT (GSM system) has none. Canadian phones use the GSM system so a Canuck phone would've been SOL in this situation. SPOT, inReach or a Yankee phone w/Verizon would've been the only options to signal for assistance.

          Kudos to the DEC Rangers for the prompt response! Always comforting to know these hard-working professionals are at the ready.

          PS
          How was the victim's companion? A bit shook up I imagine.
          Looking for Views!

          Comment


          • Trail Boss
            Trail Boss commented
            Editing a comment
            The big three in Canada are Rogers, Bell, and Telus. None are the Canuck subsidiary of a Yankee carrier. All Canadian carriers switched to GSM ages ago.

            My Rogers-issued phone gets no service in Keene/Keene Valley (only serviced by Verizon; their 'frankentree cell tower' is behind the retirement home). However, it can pick up ATT's signal out of Lake Placid but only if I'm at a sufficient altitude ... so not down at the Keene Valley Diner.

            I recall a time when I was with a group of Canucks in the Diner and not a single one of us had cell service yet Americans were seen using their phones. That's when I started to look into what the heck was going on. Verizon has tremendous coverage in the USA but they use a communications standard (CDMA) that is incompatible with GSM (i.e. Canada and the rest of the world).

            It's possible to buy phones that can operate on both GSM and CDMA. They're facetiously called "world phones" or "world-wide carrier" despite the fact the world has standardized on GSM. However, the market for "world phones" is the USA where the two standards co-exist and customers may wish to switch from one carrier to another using the same phone. Or, I guess, for Americans/Canadians who cross the border frequently.

            As far as I know, I can't walk into a Rogers, Bell or Telus store and buy a "world phone" because there's no need for a phone to support CDMA in Canada (maybe a special-order item). It's possible Bell and Rogers (who started with CDMA) might offer some limited service for visiting Americans (with Verizon phones). Maybe; I don't know for sure.

            FWIW, check the specs for unlocked Google Pixels and Apple iPhones and you'll see "world-wide carrier" indicating they contain both GSM and CDMA radios. The phone is ready to use with either Verizon/Sprint (CDMA) or ATT/T-Mobile (GSM).

            Maybe a little too much for the layperson but it's all spelled out here:
            https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp

          • FlyFishingandBeer
            FlyFishingandBeer commented
            Editing a comment
            I guess that explains why my signal is great in LP, Saranac, and pretty much everywhere else along Rts. 3 and 86. The towns of Keene/KV are a deadzone to me, until I get up a little higher in elly. I don't have to get up THAT much higher. I've always associated it with being up high enough for line-of-sight radio signal, but I guess that isn't quite right either. So far I've had some level of service on every NY 4k peak where I've thought to take my phone out of airplane mode for one reason or another. I never bothered checking on Allen or in the Santas.

            Interestingly, as soon as I get within a few miles of the border where my family lives my phone usually switches to Rogers. I had AT&T put something on my account to keep me from being erroneously charged international rates because of this. They all use Verizon and don't have this issue.

            Trail Boss your inbox is full, btw.

          • Trail Boss
            Trail Boss commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks. Fixed. Inbox is now open for business.

        • #8
          I need to pick up some crampons. Are these the crampons that you use?

          https://kahtoola.com/product/k10-hiking-crampon/

          Would these be all you would need for the Adirondacks in winter
          Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
          ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

          Comment


          • brandtb
            brandtb commented
            Editing a comment
            Bunchberry Hillsound Trail Crampon PRO has a pair front modest pointing spikes which are very useful on ADK icy trails/climbs...not quite as agressive as the very nice BD standard crampons gebby links to (or the Petzl I-Flexlock crampons that I use)- the K10 does not have that nor do they have fixed anti-balling plates?!? Those DIY plates have been known to fall off and get lost, as well that fact that you have to put them on in the first place - which can be difficult for some reportedly...bad design.

          • FlyFishingandBeer
            FlyFishingandBeer commented
            Editing a comment
            I use the Khatoola KTS Steel crampons, which are a very similar but heavier and sturdier version of the K10s. I like them, but I don’t love them. The steel KTS crampons (also available in aluminum, but don’t waste your time) have full 1”+ spikes, a collapsible metal heel strap frame for packability, and an additonal metatarsal strap for more support. My beef is with their binding system which is a bit of nuissance to set up for your boots initially. Once its sized to your boots its very secure, but cannot easily be switched from boot type to boot type if you don’t want to have to mess to the toe strap’s multiple adjustment points. My next pair will probably be Grivels or a company with a similar binding system.

          • salt
            salt commented
            Editing a comment
            Grivel G10, G12. Last a literal lifetime. Definetly better than some BD Cyborg, Sabretooth, whatever. Grivel is the truth. Buy a pair, put worrying about a crampon behind ya. If it's an ultra lightweight thing your after, I couldn't comment. I'll go heavy, heavy is sturdy, sturdy feels safe.

        • #9
          So, since we like to find the moral of the story from words, it seems the mistake was wearing snowshoes on tipped ice above a potential long slide. Of course, its difficult to know the odds that it would go this poorly, just by words. I wonder if you guys thought of warning the hiker before it happened, but it sounds like you had your own steps to worry about. Thank you for your support of her.
          I might be kidding...

          Comment


          • #10
            Alistair passed them and stopped and talked to them, not sure what he said but they told him they were OK. I got to them less than one minute before the fall and was 15 feet behind their position. Inappropriate gear and lack of experience were the causative elements IMO. First winter peak, 4th High peak, period. Also, the victim's pack was extremely heavy. She still had 2-3 liters of water, carried a can of baked beans and what-not. She had consumed 1.5 liters so she carried a lot of water up and down, which could have contributed to fatigue. Also, getting up to the summit, then down to the fall site in snowshoes must have resulted in accumulated fatigue as well.
            People often underestimate Giant in winter. Ice.

            Comment


            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              Two quick questions...

              * How heavy is "extremely heavy" in this story? Without dredging up old threads on pack weight was she carrying more than say 10-12% of her body weight?

              * Did everybody descend via the icy section in question or was there evidence of a workaround going off trail near this spot that other hikers used?

            • gebby
              gebby commented
              Editing a comment
              Definitely thought that snowshoes were not the appropriate footwear for the ice you described, but if someone has pushed themselves to the point of exhaustion and isn't thinking clearly, definitely the kind of mistake that is easy to make.

          • #11
            I think I would be tempted to tell someone that snowshoes do not give enough pounds per square inch on ice unless you're putting consistent toe pressure on sharp toe crampons. And I would mention that she needs to watch for the nearest tree at all times. Each step has to be analyzed individually, but you know that, of course. I suppose the heavy backpack did help her traction though, until the balance was lost.

            Certainly not a good experience level either, unless of course a veteran of other areas, but I assume that is not the case.

            New hikers don't know to back down a slope with snowshoes either, but of course the problem was snowshoes to begin with.
            Last edited by CatskillKev; 02-01-2018, 11:38 AM.
            I might be kidding...

            Comment


            • #12
              We tell a hiker to be prepared, and then blame the heavy pack when she falls. I understand the reasoning, either way, but it must be confusing.
              I might be kidding...

              Comment


              • gebby
                gebby commented
                Editing a comment
                Prepared is one thing, but "had consumed a liter and a half and still had 2-3 liters" and was going down. Clearly over-prepared and water is too damned heavy to carry and not drink, especially in winter.

              • Neil
                Neil commented
                Editing a comment
                I put the main causes on snowshoes and inexperience. The heavy pack contributing to fatigue is more or less speculative. How heavy? Heavier than anything I've ever carried on a day hike. She was in the trees when she fell.

              • Neil
                Neil commented
                Editing a comment
                We were both out of water by then and were glad to drink some of hers!

            • #13
              I heard that there was no fracture, "just" a sprain and she is walking around on crutches.

              Comment


              • FlyFishingandBeer
                FlyFishingandBeer commented
                Editing a comment
                Great news, Neil. Thanks for the update.

                She should be fully functional in time to do some more winter hiking this year, and hopefully she will.
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