Dec 5th ACCIDENT REPORT
This report is NOT of an avalanche. Before reading this story I would like to say THANK YOU to all the tourers who took time out of their day to assist in today's resque in Cardiff Fork. The local climbing communtiy of Utah was more helpful than I ever imagined.Troy making his last turns of the season...only moments away from a terrible ski accident on Holy Toledo.
Troy, Ron and I went to ski Cardiff Fork (Big Cottonwood Canyon) today. Using Little Cottonwood's Toledo Bowl we made it to the top of our intended run....Holy Toledo. I dropped in 1st, skiing soft powder until I got to the middle of the apron, where the snow changed to hard wind board. I made it to the bottom and Troy started down the run. The powder was of the "bullet variety" so Troy was going fast down the face. When he hit the windboard he fell/flew onto his back and stopped moving. My other partner Ron who was still at the top of the run came down to Troy . By now Troy was yelling that his leg felt funny and was trying to traverse across the hill. Suddenly Troy made a ski turn and yelled in pain, " Oh fuck, oh fuck, my knee, call rescue." I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911, which did not work. 3 other tourers in the area heard the event taking place and arrived at the scene immeadiately. By now Troy and Ron had made it to the 4 of us at the bottom of the hill. I could tell by Troy's face that something was very wrong.
"I felt the top of my knee go to the right and my lower knee go to left when I put weight on my left leg" says Troy. My heart sinks and without pause we (as a group) started to discuss our options. Should we call a resque helicopter? No too expensive ($10,000) and he is not in screaming pain without weight on the leg. There is no way that we can get him back to Alta. Its down the 5 miles of Cardiff Fork or the helicopter. Doing what we could with what we had, we used 2 pieces of a collapsable pole, a back brace, and also used Troys skins to splint the leg. Knowing it would be a long 5 miles to the road we emptied Troy's pack and took his gear (including 1 ski). Knowing the route all too well Ron and I assured the helpful tourers that we could handle taking Troy down. The time was 10:47am, we would not make it to the trailhead until 3:00pm.
Using a combination of the pack strap carry (Troy holding onto my backpack as I pizza down in front as a brake) and me supporting his shoulder with my body, I got Troy down, carrying him most of the aweful 5 miles in a little over 5 hours. Talk about EXAUSTING! While heading down Cardiff Fork there were many helpful skinners and snowshoers who gave Troy IB Profin, comfort and support. Overall this is what Troy and I have been training for. All those First Aid and Safety/ Proffesional rescue classes really paid off. In my opinion there was not much more we could have done with the situation. At the emergency room Troy was told that likely he tore his ACL and his MCL, which will require surgery, physical therapy and no more skiing for the rest of the season. As I type this with sore shoulders and a sore back, I am nothing but thankful that an avalanche or even worse a broken leg was not part of the senario today in Cardiff.