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Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

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Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby maverick » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:24 pm

During your years of backpacking, what serious or even life threatening injuries have
you or any one else in your party suffered.
A broken leg, sprained knee, serious cut, bear or mountain lion attack, lightening,
falling while climbing or tripping hitting your head, or breaking your arm, snake
bite, slipped down a steep snow bank or glacier injuring your back.
Has anyone had to be evacuated by a helicopter? Ever have to call or use your
SPOT and have a SAR team bring you out?
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby TehipiteTom » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:32 pm

Most serious injury I've suffered--ever, in fact--was a cracked rib. Day 5 of a 9-day mostly X-C trip on the Monarch Divide, I slipped on a rock and landed on my ribs. Not all that serious, but not so comfy sleeping on the ground. Finished the trip, though.

Somebody on one of my trips had a sprained ankle in Simpson Meadow and had to be taken out on horseback (they gave him a choice of that or helicopter). Otherwise nothing huge.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:51 pm

Bumps, bruises, sprains, stabs, sore knees, blisters, all of the usual suspects I or my pard had. The worst for me was breaking a fibula in the Murro Blanco. I could still hobble along (for about 2 miles) until I got to a trail and camp. There I waited overnight for a horseback pickup. The scariest part was riding back on a mule on steep switchbacks! The painful part was the mule cutting the corners and bashing into my broke leg. That is when I learned to guide the mule...
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:28 pm

My injury list is pretty minor which is nice, considering how much I've been out and about. I've never been evacuated but my most serious injuries list goes about like this (at least these are the ones I know about):
1. hairline fracture of ankle which was much better than the alternative had I not dodged a giant boulder, rock glacier at upstream side of Upper Horton Lake, 1991. Hopped down to camp at lower lake than hopped out to car the next day. Range of motion issues with this ankle for years until I started some different toe pointing exercises ca. about 2008.
2. hairline fractures of ring finger and pinkie taking a fall along shore of Big Harriet Lake (yes, I know it is really hard to fall there) 1994. Worried about cutoff of circulation at my wedding ring, but enjoyed three more days of off trail hiking and backpacking.
3. hyperextension (twice) of left knee missing landings somewhere near Davis Lakes en route to lower along Rush Creek 1987. Not too difficult to walk afterwards, but knee has never been the same after that.
Hardest to get around was actually a super severe blister situation (seemingly covering half of my two feet) on a Tableland-Glacier Ridge-Cloud Canyon-Colby-Triple Divide-Tamarack trip (2002). Not a serious injury but much more painful than the injuries above.

I've had two buddies get really banged up on geology trips with me (both fairly near the car): one with a broken thumb and elbow on a scary fall in the Yolla Bollys (early 90's) and another a few weeks ago near Panoche Pass (shattered his shoulder).
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby balzaccom » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:47 pm

hmmmm. The most we can claim is a blister or two. No sprains, broken bones, snake bites, or anything else dramatic...

Well, one time we turned around because my hiking companion realized that he had bronchitis. But we just walked out. Slowly.

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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby cherron » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:59 pm

I am thankful I have not had an evacuation injury. I injured a tendon in my foot which developed into plantar's fasciitis. Quite painful when it snapped. I fashioned an insert by cutting out some foam that I pulled out my backpack which helped tremendously - so much so that I was able to finish the last 5 days of the trip.

My husband tore his miniscus in his knee while squatting to clean a fish. we were in McClure Meadow area. He hobbled out at a rate of about 1 mile per hour to Florence Lake boat shuttle (We were going to go out Piute Pass) and we walked for several miles in hopes of hitching a ride to Mono Hot Springs. We finally caught a ride from two great guys up there fishing.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby Cloudy » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:38 pm

Nothing truly life-threatening but my left knee completely locked up on me and couldn't take weight on it once at Kaweah Gap forcing me to turn around and stiff leg it all the way back to Crescent Meadow.That was a verrrrry long walk back and vindication for my long hiking staff.

Another time I was walking down a set of those nasty granite stairs when I flat out tripped, hit my knee on the way down receiving an ugly gash and ended up with the bloody knee embedded in a pile of horse crap... Fortunately I had carried a small bottle of peroxide on that trip so I was able to clean the wound fairly well and try to stick it back together with steri-strips. I continued the trip but ended up going through all my medical supplies and was eventually reduced to wrapping cloth around the wound. Made it out though :-)
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:42 am

For me, nothing beyond your typical blisters, chafe and a few scrapes, but years ago a guy in the group I was with had his index finger smashed FLAT by a falling rock. Pretty gross, but he made it back out OK.
Last edited by Fly Guy Dave on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby sparky » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:51 am

Not on a backpacking trip, but I did break my collar bone in a very remote area of the desert when I came up short on my dirt bike and had to hike a few miles to a "road" :D alone. It was hot, luckily I did have plenty of water or I wouldn't have made it out.

I have never been injured while backpacking.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby BrianF » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:11 am

Worst for me was a badly spained ankle on Day 3 of a 8 day October solo trip. I slipped on a talus block with a skim of fresh falling snow and landed badly. I was able to wrap it with an elastic bandage and gimp back to camp using a trekking pole. I spent the next day soaking it as long as I could stand in a very cold lake and then kept it wrapped and limped back out. That ankle is still a bit wonky several years later.
Probably the scariest injury I was part of (outside of SAR) happened to a climbing partner. On a climbing trip to Day Needle by Whitney, my partner and I had gotten off route and ended up bailing off in the evening, We were racing down a huge talus field in growing dark to find a level spot to bivvy before complete darkness. I was well ahead of him and when I found the spot, I turned to call him over and he was no where to be seen. I called and called but no answer. I dug out my head lamp and started back up, but with acres of large talus he could be anywhere. Before I got far he finally answered and then joined me. He had fallen betwwen two blocks, hit his head and been knocked unconscious for several minutes with a cut on his forehead. The cut was easily fixed and his pupils were ok but it was still quite a concern. It was easy to stay awake that night monitoring him for concussion since we had only bivvy bags for warmth and it was a long cold night. He was able to hike out the next morning just fine, but if he had remained unconcious it would have been a miracle for me to find him by headlamp in acres of talus and not only the head injury but hypothermia would have been a real threat.
Another friend slipped on a scree slope and lacerated the outside of his forearm pretty badly. After getting him cleaned up I used about 10 butterfly bandages to hold it together, some gauze and an elastic bandage did the rest and he ended up with fifteen stitches in Bishop late that afternoon.
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