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Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby SSSdave » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:26 pm

A person that religiously studies topographic maps before attempting difficult routes can have a huge huge advantage over those that have a habit of only route finding by eyesight along their routes. To be looking down that ugly steep slope down to Mono Creek, you had to be at the saddle between 11626 and 12171. I have a set of images from the east side of the mouth of Laurel Creek canyon towards that same Frog Creek slope. The spines in your "big mistake" pic are obviously the ones on 12171 that doglegs west south of its summit.

By simply studying the Graveyard Peak topo, the obvious class 2 route up Izaak Walton is through the northeast saddle between point 11871. Arguably one of the finest peak top views I've experienced in the Silver Divide region.

I've spent a lot of time looking at backpacking options traversing from Grinnel to Upper Hopkins. Looking at the Mt. Abbot 7.5 minute topo, there really is only one obvious route across the ridge and that is the saddle due east of the southernmost point of Grinnel Lake. There is somewhat of a southeast trending diagonal ramp up towards that saddle from the peninsula that juts out into the southern bay of the lake. A 200 foot section is somewhat steep but its broken whitebark pine sprinkled slope looked rather class 2 like from below. From there, descent is simple and one ends up on Hopkins Creek about 500 feet below Upper Hopkins Lake.



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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby Flycanoe » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:58 am

Saw the pic of your bloody shin and think leaving the wound open like that all day and night was not good. A pressure bandage would have taken care of the problem and saved you a lot of grief and worry. Did you know that bleeding times can increase by as much as 50% at high altitude? One always needs to be ready to stop bleeding as a key part of any first aid kit.

I always carry the following with me where ever I go in the sierras - Nexcare absolute waterproof foam tape. It's sticks to skin even when wet with water or sweat, its flexible allowing continued physical activity and can apply pressure to a wound. You don't have to carry a whole roll either, just wrap some around a hollow tube. This stuff has saved me several times.

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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby quentinc » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:43 am

Flycanoe, thanks! I've never seen or heard of that stuff before, but I'll be carrying it from now on.

SSSDave, the saddle by the southern tip of the lake is how I've crossed the ridge before. I've always been intrigued by the dip to the north of it though; it would have been a lot more direct if it were feasible. The problem with the topo is that you can't predict the configuration of the rock. A slope can have the same steepness and be either straightforward Class 2, or difficult (particularly with a pack) Class 3 depending on the rock. Also, you could find yourself facing a 15 foot cliff that wouldn't show up on the map.

In any event, I have no excuse for the second route I took. The bizarre part, though, is that it was heavily ducked. Also, there were relatively fresh footprints, but it's one thing to try out a route and quite another to mark it carefully with ducks.
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:35 pm

quentinc wrote:...SSSDave, the saddle by the southern tip of the lake is how I've crossed the ridge before...


Good, figured that was how you went on your previous trip.

I have another way of dealing with serious bandage needs when out in the backcountry. Except it is much more general purpose material. In my daypack, I always carry a partial roll of quality construction grade duct tape. The tape with serious adhesive that tears cleanly bought at hardware stores that costs $8 or $9 for a 3 inch wide roll and definetly not the stuff usually found in drug stores. I won't carry a full new roll as they are a bit weighty but rather one that has used at least half its tape. That tape is of course extremely useful for all sorts of repairs beyond medical usage.

For use as a bandage, one only needs to also carry some ordinary tissue paper that one cuts/folds to a useful shape then places atop the adhesive side of the tape where it would be against a wound. Of course one could apply medicine atop the tissue. The advantage of this system is one can snguly wrap around a finger/arm/leg/torso for all sorts of major wounds, and the adhesive and tape are strong enough to take lots of abuse in the backcountry. The only issue is that pulling it off is bound to pull some hair off the skin too. But if soaked a minute in hot water it will separate easier. And the duct tape can also be useful for splinting broken bones if needed.
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby maverick » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:49 pm

Yes, duct tape is extremely useful in a lot of medical situations as Dave wrote.
Besides being used as a bandage or for part of a splint some people use it to cover hot
spots to prevent blisters from forming on there feet or toes.
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby quentinc » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:10 pm

I do carry duct tape (wrapped around my water bottles), and have used it to hold anything from my toes to my boots together in the past (I once successfully climbed Mt. Williamson with my my boots swaddled in duct tape because they fell apart mid-trip). I thought about trying here it but was skeptical it would work. I'd have to have wrapped it completely around my lower leg, and I was afraid the tugging on the hair and skin would be excruciating as I walked. But maybe if it were wrapped tightly enough that wouldn't have been a problem?
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:53 pm

quentinc wrote:I do carry duct tape ... I thought about trying here it but was skeptical it would work. I'd have to have wrapped it completely around my lower leg, and I was afraid the tugging on the hair and skin would be excruciating as I walked. But maybe if it were wrapped tightly enough that wouldn't have been a problem?


A key is to not simply wrap it all the way around with the adhesive against skin and wound thus allowing it some movement especially at the wound. That is why the tissue is necessary. Of course we all carry tissue for when nature calls. (Well except for the few that prefer edgewise use of prickly pear cactus pads.)

One dawn morning in August 1996 a photographer friend and I were up in upper Granite Park on an 9-day trip. After setting up our 35mm cameras on our Benbo tripods for shots on the impressive craggy granite crest wall, we had a half hour yet to fool around in that area. Of course up above 11k it was rather chilly at dawn. I stepped up a short inclined slope of crumbly granite and slipped like on a banana peel. Since I'm rather quickly cat-like, I landed upright but one of my elbows took the brunt of a sliding landing and was immediately a skinned bruised bloody mess. Immediately I pressured the wound area as my friend got duct tape and tissue out of my photo daypack. Applied some sunscreen for its lubricating oils onto the tissue. Recall using a bit of water on the wound to wash it off, then dried with another tissue just before starting the wrap job. For the next few days I was walking around with my elbow frozen in a right angle due to the wrap. Didn't really limit too much activity wise actually. On the last day before descending back to the Pine Creek trailhead, we cut the duct tape off and was amazed how well it all healed.

Interestingly on that same trip, an internal gear on my camera had broken that was part of the shutter mechanism. I was able to remove part of the housing to get at what it was supposed to actuate in order to manually work it through a hole with a jewelers screwdriver. To do so I recall a elaborate duct tape and wire cluge about the camera that I used the rest of the trip. Actually managed to nail some excellent pics.
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby Shawn » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:49 pm

Whew, what a report. Sure glad to see you made it out okay. Kind of coincidental in that just before I discovered your TR I had been looking at a long lost map of that area. I had looked at some of the peaks and lakes you visited on the map and thought they must not be visited too often as I could not recall seeing them in any TR's. Then there's yours.

Also reminds me of this quote -

The distinguishing mark of true adventures, is that it is often no fun at all while they are actually happening. -- Kim Stanley Robinson
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby quentinc » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:29 pm

Shawn, thanks, that is a wonderful quote!

(Yes, after the first two hours of getting past day hikers, I didn't see a single person for 3-3/4 days. That may be a record for me.)
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby Ken » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:51 pm

quentic, glad you made it out.

A few thoughts: when people get into dire straits, and the sequence of events is analysed, it is rarely a single thing that went wrong.

As another middle-aged guy, I have to tell you that it ain't like it used to be. Our ability to deal with traumatic injuries is not the same as younger people. We don't cope with blood loss as well, and things can go over the cliff pretty fast.

The first major issue was the injury to your leg, with persistant bleeding. The bleeding continued, because you did not know how to deal with the situation. If you are going to go off-trail to do significant things solo, you need to know how to deal with bigger injuries in a more sophisticated way.

Your second issue was continuing on, while still losing blood. Blood is what carries oxygen to your brain, which you use to navigate, make decisions and judgements. When it became apparent that you were not controlling the bleeding (which was apparent in1/2 hour, not 24 hours), you should have shifted in to self-rescue mode. Instead, you headed up onto ridges with which you were unfamiliar, and could easily have put yourself into a position of cliffing out. The correct decision was to head down stream to Mono Creek, then downstream to Vermillion. You would have been very likely to have run into other people, particularly down near the JMT. Alternatively, you might have headed over Mono Pass, although that would have certainly not have been as good an option.
The big risk here, was that with the blood loss, you might have found yourself unable to continue, at all. Getting to where other people are should have been your first priority, not climbing passes and adventuring in remote areas. I will grant that you may have been suffering from hypoxia from a combination of AMS and bleeding......but all the more important to make the right decisions early, as your decision making will only get worse!

The third issue was the navigation. You thought you knew where you were going, but you did not. Your skills were not sufficient for the situation you put yourself into. Your injury, I'm sure, contributed to the situation, but you weren't prepared for that. If you are going to be in situation where you may descend an unknown 2,000 foot slope that you've never been on, you better be 100% sure of where you are.

Now, maybe the whole post was a troll....if so congrats. But if not, you REALLY lucked out.

Better be a better boy scout next time........WFA, WFR, even EMT should be taken. Learn how to deal with medical issues properly. Have the right first aid gear

Maybe consider a GPS for critical decision making, which on these kind of trips will happen.

Hope your next trip is less dramatic.
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby maverick » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:55 am

Yeah Old Man, if you don't know what your doing out there than maybe you should hang
up those old boots.
Maybe it is time to retire Q I'll PM you my address and you can send me all your gear
so someone who knows what there doing can put it to proper use!
Last edited by maverick on Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grinnell Lake and the Pool of Blood -- TR

Postby quentinc » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:28 pm

You got it Mav. Hope you don't mind the blood stains!
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