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seattlebackpackersmagazine: Trail Accident
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
seattlebackpackersmagazine: Trail Accident on 11/01/2013 20:03:07 MDT Print View

It can be funny when people fall down in cartoons and movies – hikers falling in the mountains? Not so funny. We tend to think it won’t happen to us even after reading riveting accounts of accidents in mountaineering literature. Think they only happen to climbers and backcountry skiers? Think again!

Sometime it takes an accident to shake the sense of complacency that befalls hikers who have never been injured in the mountains. That was me – I’d been lucky. Between my first hike in 1980 and September 2013 I’d never been injured other than a sprained ankle on my first-ever scramble with The Seattle Mountaineers.


Yet complacency set in; as years pass without injury some of us tend to lighten the load in the pack, especially on a hot summer day on trails close to home and most of the time we get away with it. Hence, my friend Lola and I set out for an easy hike heading south from Snoqualmie Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail. The weather was perfect with partial sun and a breeze.

full story at link


David T
(DaveT) - F
accidents on 11/01/2013 21:19:29 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/02/2013 14:31:56 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Trail Accident on 11/01/2013 21:28:41 MDT Print View

I'm guessing she does not use poles. Might of helped. Saved me a few times.

Do any of those REI kits come with sutures? I pack steri strips.

Accidents happen. That's why they're called accidents.

She was lucky. Well, after being unlucky first.

David T
(DaveT) - F
accidents on 11/01/2013 21:33:58 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/02/2013 14:32:39 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Trail Accident on 11/01/2013 23:29:29 MDT Print View

Falls are a major source of injury. Many martial arts training programs start with learning how to fall well, because it ***will*** happen.

A co-worker was walking down some good stairs in the city and fell on dry ground in broad daylight and dislocated her shoulder.

It takes so little and happens so fast. Add the odd center of gravity of a backpack and you can go down fast and hard.

We were on a day hike when an elderly woman slipped off the bolder she was sitting on and gashed her forehead. She had arthritic shoulders and wasn't able to break her fall, nor could she get up without help. I was the only one of three parties on the trail with a first aid kit. The gauze compresses were nearly useless and we improvised with clean bandanas. Head wounds are so bloody! I added much larger compresses and better tape when I got home

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: seattlebackpackersmagazine: Trail Accident on 11/03/2013 20:12:00 MST Print View

Karen is a wonderful writer - a true PNW gem. Which is hahaha funny as I fell bad the day after she did, on the northern section of the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass. It was horrifying and embarrassing. Why? We had gone up to past Kendall Katwalk and were coming down, in the last 2 miles on SMOOTH trail that wasn't steep or anything. I rarely fall and I use trekking poles. I was lost in thought and moving rapidly downhill and stumbled, catching myself and then had that "Oh c**p" when I knew I was going down for a face plant. I fell to my side and put my poles into my legs in my fall. They produced horrible bruises. I protected my In my mind I heard my husband somehow echoing "I didn't put $10K into your mouth for you to mess it up" Hahhah
Best part? I had my camera strapped onto my front. It was packed with filth and had dug into my chest. I swear that hurt the worst of it all. Somehow, that camera still works fine. I didn't turn it on till I blew it off clean with air. No bones broken thankfully but I was covered in bruises from my arms to below my knees.

Only took 40 years to do a stellar awesome face plant :-P Karen and I shared misery on FB. Hah!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Black ice fall on 11/03/2013 20:19:08 MST Print View

While hunting in mid-October in Nevada's Ruby Mountains I slipped on some black ice on granite.

I came down hard but hit the granite with the rubber butt of my rifle and a tussock of grass with my left knee. Luckily neither I or the rifle were injured.

But I did hit hard and it shook me up because I could have landed just a bit differently and been seriously injured - and ALONE. I had my cellphone for photos but there was no cell phone covereage in Lamoille Canyon.

Next time I go solo I'll carrry a SPOT beacon which I'll buy this winter, for SURE.

Diana Nevins
(artemis) - MLife

Locale: Great Plains
Falls happen fast! on 11/15/2013 12:03:43 MST Print View

Last April I went on an astronomy-oriented trip to Iceland. On our very first night going out to look for the aurora borealis, several of us hiked up a truly puny hill to get a better view of the northern horizon. The thing couldn't have been more than 10-15' high, with a gentle slope - but it was composed entirely of volcanic ash and loose pumice. Very unstable footing. On my way back down the hill, I slipped and landed on one knee in a sort of lunge position, fortunately unhurt, and I thought to myself "I didn't know the footing was going to be so tricky, I should have brought my trekking poles!" After I made it down to the base of the hill, I heard someone behind me cry out, and turned around to see another woman sitting on her butt halfway down the slope, with both her legs sticking straight out in front of her. At first I thought she'd just slipped and needed some help getting back onto her feet again. Then I noticed the funny angle of her left foot...

The lady spent the rest of the tour week in a hospital in Reykjavik, where a team of orthopedic surgeons painstakingly pinned her completely shattered ankle back together again. One small slip ended her entire vacation.

Needless to say, I've got a LOT more respect for unstable footing now, and far more appreciation of just how quickly a person can go from sound and healthy to totally crippled if they twist a limb in just the right way as they go down. And I appreciate my poles even more!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: seattlebackpackersmagazine: Trail Accident on 11/17/2013 18:27:48 MST Print View

On Oct 17 we were descending from a ridge to a cross country camp in the Rainbow Bridge National Monument area. A 60+ y/o not using poles fell forward and did about two head over heels turns, went sideways and rolled a few times. He ended up with a gash in his forehead and over the left eye. There was no loss of consciousness and his exam was negative. Still, we were two days away from stitches, so we had him flown out by helicopter to Flagstaff, a 50 min ride. He got 20 stitches, CT was negative and he was out in about four hours.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
face Plant on 11/17/2013 19:42:01 MST Print View

I was cruising on the PCt in WA when my shoe got caught on a poity root, ripping the fabric and nearly ripping the toe off. It was a complete face plant even with poles. Nothing hurt other than pride.

Back to the story. Don't get how lighten the load applies to this incident.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: face Plant on 11/17/2013 23:18:25 MST Print View

Don't get how lighten the load applies to this incident.

Agree; this doesn't sound like anything a bit of gauze and a square inch of duct tape couldn't fix. Taking a refresher first aid course would likely have been more useful than buying the beefier kits.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: face Plant on 11/18/2013 17:23:25 MST Print View

"It was a complete face plant even with poles. Nothing hurt other than pride."

Is there anyone here who can honestly say they haven't suffered the same fate at least once in their years of backpacking? I sure have on a number of occasions, fortunately with only my pride requiring first aid on all but one of them. The other was embarrassing in that it not only occurred on a perfectly flat stretch and required a bit of on the spot patching up, but that an old climbing buddy was there to observe it all. We both got a chuckle out of it after I had finished dealing with the minor physical wound and applied a tourniquet to my hemorrhaging ego. ;0)