Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mountain Rescue Prime Time

Molly wrote about our camping trip last weekend, but what she didn't mention was my bonus hike on the way home. For Seattle Mountain Rescue, Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the summer are by far the most common time for injuries in the mountains. The most common type of injury being a lower leg and the most common location being the I-90 corridor.
Sure enough as we drove west towards Snoqualmie Pass on Sunday afternoon I got a message about a hiker with a broken leg on Bandera Mountain. I was only about a half hour from the trail head and had all my hiking gear with me. The girls dropped me off at the trail just as another SMR volunteer arrived with the rescue truck. I strapped half the litter to by pack and headed up the trail.  I was with two other SMR folks and there was one more already 10 minutes up the trail.

It took us a little over an hour to hike the 2.5 miles. The trail climbed a few thousand feet but was in good condition for the most part. Only the last three hundred feet to the injured hiker were steep and rocky.

Once onsite I assisted with splinting the woman's leg using a sleeping pad. It was quite obvious that it was broken but she was handling it quite well and had good circulation to her foot.

We used some large boulders nearby to build anchors and then used ropes to lower the patient in the litter a few hundred feet to where the trail leveled out. At that point a wheel was attached to the litter so we move down the trail at a steady pace. About twelve volunteers showed up to help, it was just about the right number of people. I think we had the woman to the trail head about 5 hours after we got the message.

The woman and her husband were extremely grateful for our help. I was glad I could be there and that I could be on site early and help with all aspects of the rescue. Thanks to my fellow SMR volunteers who took these photos.

Lower the patent down the steep section

Working the belay line

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