I received this email from Scott Farish from Colorado Climbers- take heed.
Kinda scary day up on the mountain this weekend...
I quickly learned that plans can change in the blink of an eye, and
as wilderness enthusiasts, we must be prepared for mishaps and
My dad and I had planned on hiking Lincoln, Bross, Cameron, and
Democrat on Saturday. He started at Kite Lake, and I decided to go
back down the road a ways and start hiking at the old mill (~10,970)
so that I could observe that all-important "3000-ft. rule"! The snow
started getting deeper just above Kite Lake. There were about 6-7
inches of the white stuff from 12,500 to the saddle between Cameron
and Democrat (~13,500). From the saddle, up the ridge to the summit,
the snow was significantly deeper, and we encountered 2-3 foot drifts
in places. Postholing was almost a given over the last 500 vertical
feet. We stayed at the summit for no more than five minutes because
of high winds and an ominous approaching storm.
We weren't 10 minutes off the summit, when my dad slipped on some of
the loose talus and tumbled head over heels for about 15 feet. When
I reached him, there was blood everywhere and he was writhing in
pain. The most immediate injury I saw was an open wound on his elbow
that was down to the bone. As we would later learn at the E.R., he
had also punctured his inner thigh with his ice axe, missing his
femoral artery by 1/2 inch. With the help of another passing hiker,
we put moleskin on his open elbow wound and secured it with a
bandana. I started to see the initial symptoms of shock, and my
first concern was to get him down to at least the saddle. The long
slow trip down took about four hours, and we were extremely lucky, as
the snow storm rolled in just as we approached Kite Lake.
Thankfully, we got to the hospital alright and got his wounds
stitched. The fact that the ice axe missed his femoral artery by 1/2
inch was a downright miracle!
My thanks go out to the passing hiker who helped me bandange the open
wounds and help us down part of the way. I never got your name but I
sincerely appreciate your help. If you are reading this, I really
want to thank you for everything you did.
And finally, a word of caution for everyone else who's going climbing
and hiking in this transition period before winter... the snow is
really tricky up there right now. There is not enough of it to use
snowshoes quite yet, but still enough to hide potential hazards -
especially on talus and scree. Be careful out there, and watch your
step! Take emergency gear and be prepared for anything.
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