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Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby quentinc » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:46 pm

A dislocated shoulder trying to follow Roper's directions to Bench Canyon. I finished the next 6 days of my planned trip, but had to shelf trying to climb anything. Ended up having surgery that the orthopedic surgeon and his residents marveled about the complexity of for months after.



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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby sierraholic » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:05 pm

My wife and I were doing South Lake to Whitney, when on the 3rd day, she twisted her knee badly on the south side of Mather Pass. We thought it was okay, as she lugged through the rest of our 12 mile day. After sleeping on it, it swelled up and we bailed out at less than one mile an hour over Kearsarge two days later.
We tried to finish the rest of the JMT from Onion Valley to Whitney two years later, when I got the early stages of HACE. I felt awful all the way up Kearsage Pass, and then had a pounding headache all night at the Kearsarge Lakes. Woke up nauseous, headache, and with blurred vision. Obviously, we bailed back out. Had blood work done after getting home, and found out I had very low levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. 2 months later (after thinking I had leukemia) they figured out I had a virus similar to mono and Epstein-Barr. Good times!
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby kpeter » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:41 pm

Torn meniscus on my cross-the-Sawtooths hike in 2008. Required scoping. I don't know exactly when I did it, but I was glad I had a healthy supply of ibuprofen along.

No other major mishaps. I have fallen while hiking on trails a number of times and fortunately have never even seriously bruised myself--but any of those falls might have resulted in a sprain or a break. I just have been lucky.

I also about a mundane non-wilderness related illness happening while in the wilderness--a heart attack, for example.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby hikerchick395 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:55 am

Friday the 13th of August 1976, on my first backpack (with a college biology class,) I tore a cartilage in my knee on the Lake Italy trail and had a helicopter ride out. This didn't discourage me from backpacking, though.

In 2008, I injured my left foot backpacking to Dusy Basin and ended up with plantars fasciitis. But a couple of weeks later, I hiked the JMT with that injury. I was not cancelling that trip!!! Still have some twangs in my foot that I have to take care not to fully reinjure it. Just have been able to run again a bit this year.

In 2009, while day hiking on the Mammoth Crest, I tripped and fell on...flat ground. Dislocated my shoulder and had to pop it back in myself. Broke my camera, but was happy that I didn't break my teeth, since I fell face first. The heavy daypack masked the pain until I removed it back at the truck. It took almost two years before I could fully raise my arm above my head.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:13 am

Interesting reading. I've been incredibly lucky I guess as I've taken some tumbles like many of you but somehow escaped unhurt. No climbing injuries either. Did see a person burn themselves badly on the foot when a big pot of boiling water got tipped on it. Gotta be extra careful with that kind of thing folks (I always carry a pot gripper or three since seeing that).

I did get some severely strained ribs when doing geological field work near remote Volcan Quizapu, Chile. I blame it all on the dad-durned horse, who tried to throw me as we descended into a gully. Sure made breathing rough, and I walked out rather than get back on that beast.

My worst outdoor activity injury was last year in a kayaking beat-down where my ureter got partially torn from my kidney. Although it was a freak accident, that set me back for sure. Trips to the ER, surgery, etc., etc. But I'm still boating! \:D/
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:33 pm

From 1969 to 1975 I lead 13 35-day NOLS courses. We evacuated one instructor who for possible meningitis (turned out bad flu), one student with head injury (policy to always immediately evacluate anyone with a head injury) and one other illness (cannot remember). We simply hauled them out ourselves making stretchers from our external frame packs. Each course we had various illnesses and minor injuries that we simply treated in the field.

I have been hit on the back with falling rocks on the Grand Teton and walked out - temporary upper body paralysis and minor nerve damage, tingling in the palms of my hands, for several years after (never went to doctor - no lasting symptoms), I fell off a log crossing and cracked my elbow (did not go out or to doctor), had severe tonsilitis with 105 fever (barely got out- eneded up getting tonsils removed when I was 30 - brutal!), member of our climbing party had finger severed by rockfall, we went for help (down George Creek!), she was helicopter evacuated, a few years ago I sprained an ankle while post-holing through snow - one day rest, taped it up and walked out for 3 days, about 10 years ago sprained an ankle by falling off a small cliff and my foot wedged in a tree - taped it and walked out 8 miles. Lots of minor cuts, bruises and scraped from climbing. In the middle of an 18-day trip my daughter ate a poisionous plant and puked all night but was OK in morning, thank goodness.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby Cloudy » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:05 pm

Lol. After reading some of these experiences, I realize how fortunate that I have been (no matter how bad you think it is, it could always be worse...). Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby LMBSGV » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:47 pm

I’ve had lots of cuts, bruises, and scrapes, including a huge scrape over much of my right leg from riding a small avalanche on the approach to Harrison Pass. Fortunately, the pain from it went away after the first night, though anyone I met the rest of the trip, remarked about it. The worst injury was a broken toe in 2010 when I was hoping to make it to Kaweah Basin. It occurred while climbing from Hamilton Lakes on my second day out. Determined, I made it as far as lake 11,682 below Pyraqueen Col before I accepted the fact that I couldn’t make it to Kaweah Basin. I spent the next four days walking/hiking short distances before walking back out.

The most frightening incident for me was in 1992 with my son and wife when we were going out of Mosquito Flat over Mono Pass to Fourth Recess. This is the one time I was ever truly scared in the Sierra. Our son was 8 years old and had been backpacking since 1986 without any problems. At the Ruby Lake junction we stopped for a snack and check-in to see how he was doing. We asked him how he felt and he said great. “Do you want to continue over the pass - it’s 1,500 more feet of climbing.” “Yes,” he replied enthusiastically. So up we went. At the top of the pass, my son still felt fine - he seemed to be enjoying it, throwing snowballs at his mom and I. At Summit Lake below the pass, he started slowing down and showing signs of not feeling well. By the time we reached Trail Lakes, our intended campsite for the day, he was showing signs of acute altitude sickness, possibly HAPE. I accessed the situation, and decided we needed to descend to the canyon for his safety.

While my wife stayed with our son, I literally ran down the trail with my pack until the junction with Mono Creek where I found an area that would serve as a campsite. Dropping my pack, I ran up the trail to meet my wife and son partway down from Trail Lakes. I carried my son down the rest of the way to Mono Creek. My wife took his small pack. We set up the tent and made dinner. Our son didn’t want to eat. We tried to get him to eat something. He vomited it back up. Now I was really scared and feeling incredibly guilty for putting my son in jeopardy. We put him in the tent in his sleeping bag and he fell asleep. I felt his pulse and his heart rate was over 100. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep as I lay awake listening to him breathing and occasionally checking his pulse. Finally, about midnight, his heart rate got back to normal. The next morning, he felt fine and ate a big breakfast and had a great time the rest of the trip. On all our subsequent backpacking trips with him, we gave him two nights (versus the one of this trip) of car camping at high altitude before the trip.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby Electra » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:33 am

LMBSGV- I can only imagine the bad feeling regarding your son. I have two young kids and I am planning the first trip for my my 3.5 year old daughter soon and don't want to 'over do it'. Lots to consider, might be worthy of a topic discussion on kids in general and first trips (may already be one).

Looks like we also share a similar 'avalanche/snow burn' injury as well. It is the closest i have come to meeting my maker and the subsequent recovery over the following 6 weeks was the worst pain i have ever felt. Y'all imagine an area the size of your outstretched hand/whole calf, completely raw and oozing, trying to heal each day with gauze bandages getting caught in it as it dries -and every step and move causing stretching and cracking and further pain and setback. To make matters worse and to avoid being depressed for having to stop my PCT trip, i went to work ten days after the accident at my old summer camp near yosemite which was hot, dusty, and required me to be active and not a 'puss'. Just thinking about all the misery i went thru makes me queasy. Anyway, stay safe out there everyone...
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby BuckSnort » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:35 pm

LMBSGV, That same thing happened to me when I was about 10 years old.. I was climbing Mt Adams with my grandpa (he has climbed it a few times).. We were just about to the false summit and it hit me all at once, severe headache and vomiting.. We decended quickly glissading , It got to the point that I was dizzy and blacking out, my grandpa lashed my pack to his and literally carried me off the mountain to the trailhead..I have one of the toughest grandfathers around, no doubt... We spent the night at the trailhead and the next morning I felt fine... I have not had altitude sickness since that happend...
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby Cloudy » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:53 pm

I have never gotten over my childhood altitude sickness and get sick nearly every trip above 8000' in the Sierra. Such is life.
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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Postby rcymbala » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:31 pm

THE WORST ONE was altitude sickness, even mild HACE or mild HAPE, because my first trip to high country started in Venice, CA, about 3 blocks from the Pacific Ocean, and 18 hours later I was going to sleep in my hammock around midnight just below Alta Peak after parking at Wolverton. That was a 10,000 foot elevation gain in eighteen (18) hours on a Friday. (It was my first trip of the season and my only other high altitude trip, other than one a few years before to Duck, Purple, Ram and Franklin lakes south of Mammoth.) On Saturday I went cross-country overlooking Moose Lake and spent the day wandering around the upper reaches of Tableland and Table Meadows. Saturday night I tried to sleep somewhere above Pear Lake. I threw up everything the first 2 or 3 times then continued to throw up during the night for about a grand total of 5 pukes. I couldn't sleep. Maybe I had a headache, but don't remember. I may have been dehydrated. On Sunday I practically crawled back to my car, but enjoyed Pear Lake and the hike although at some points I would "hike" for a minute, then have to rest for 5 minutes. SO IT WAS PRETTY BAD. Since then, I've never had any of the same symptoms above 10,000 feet. I like to think my initial stupidity "inoculated" me for life against altitude sickness ;-)

THE WORST ONE THAT DIDN"T HAPPEN was before I learned "ice ax". Sunday morning I woke up next to Lion Lake and headed for Lion Rock Pass over to Nine Lake Basin. It was Labor Day weekend and a long, thin glacier extended from the Pass to Lion Lake. I went up the right side as far as I could, getting wedged and stuck between ice and a rock cliff. So I decided to cross the glacier "to get to the other side". I cut level foot pockets, about 10 of them, in the ice that was near 45-degrees angle. I didn't know I needed an ax to do self-arrest in case I started sliding down to Lion Lake. I didn't know how fast I could have been going near the bottom if I ended up whizzing down the ice. I had some concept of what a rope could do, so I tied one end to my waist and another end to my Kelty external-frame pack which I left wedged between rocks before starting to cut foot steps in the ice. I "got to the other side", and went back to get my pack, and crossed a 3rd time before heading up and over to Nine Lake Basin.

AT NIGHT I CAUGHT THE FRONT OF MY FOOT on a rock, maybe because it was at night, and I didn't see it, my foot instantly stopped, I flew forward and onto the granite steps leading down from Avalanche Pass to Bubbs Creek, did a somersault, in the middle of which my backpack hit the ground, and landed on my feet, and just kept going as if nothing happened. The trip could have sent me over the side and down quite a ways, but luckily my forward momentum landed me on a straight section of the trail.

BRUISED my shin on a big piece of talus in the long "chute" on west side of Sphinx Crest (you can see it on the map).

LOST both toenails on my big toes a few months after descending down an incredibly steep hill to the north of Tonopah Falls. I was wearning thrift-store sneakers that didn't fit me (they were too tight). I didn't want to down-climb the falls, so I tried finding a cross-country route and luckily there were enough trees and bushes that I could hold onto to prevent cascading down the hill, more like a vegetated cliff tilted slightly to about 75-degrees.

* * * I've been wandering outdoors for just over 30 years, since high school, when I was "living" with an alcoholic father who died just before I graduated high school. Started around Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham, NH and "graduated" to Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP (with Arizona inbetween). I'm actually a whimp, especially out there alone most of the time, am very careful about choosing where to go (except for that last one, perhaps), am easily persuaded (by myself) to turn back, and am very careful and aware of each step. I think what keeps me safe is a sort of meditative state of mind. It's like meditation with beautiful scenery passing by. THANKS FOR LISTENING.
PO Box 150 Topanga CA 90290
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