Sunday, December 19, 2010

Independent Public Help With Rescue From The Tatoosh!

Kudos to visitors who help during carry-outs!

On November 21st, an experienced 49 year old male was skiing in the Sunbeam Creek drainage off the Steven's Canyon Road.  This leads up into the Tatoosh Range between The Castle and Foss Peak.  At about 1:00 pm he was skiing a shallow chute a few hundred feet below the ridge crest.

As he skied down he hit a rock and   his skis suddenly stopped.  He crashed and was not able to get back up.  He and other party members on scene quickly determined it was likely a classic boot-top fracture.  They splinted the injury, stabilized him, and they went for help.

At about 3:30 in the afternoon, the National Park Service was notified and rangers took the reporting party back to where they had exited on the road.  A hasty team was sent back up their ski tracks to locate the patient.

Here's where we give respect.

There were only a few rangers on that day in the immediate area, and only 2 were initially available to help with the carry out.  Four independent members of the public who were also skiing that drainage that day volunteered to help.

Special thanks to:

Marty Gunderson of Woodinville, WA
Oliver Evans of Seattle, WA
Peter Moore of Seattle, WA
Simon Windell of Seattle, WA

These four were given a litter, technical gear, and EMS supplies to pack back up the hill for about 45 minutes.  Without their help, it would've taken us a lot longer to get to the patient, stabilize, and transport.

The patient was sledded out in a carbon fiber ski patrol litter called an akja, supplied by Cascade Toboggan.  The four volunteers plus available rangers helped pull the litter through the flats for a quick load onto our ambulance and transport to the hospital.  We didn't get out to the road until well after dark.

Injuries aside, this rescue went very smoothly, largely due to the help of independent public recreationists who were able and willing to lend a hand.

Thanks, guys!