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Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:25 pm
by Trent
Reading all these replies,,,, there's a couple of thing to be aware of, "injury wise".

First of all, if you're "solo" in the backcountry and have a misfortune, break an ankle, get AMS [cerebral or pulmonary edema] or something, you're going to be a "permanent fixture" there unless you have some sort of "communication" with the outside world. I carry a sat phone [Iridium] and a NOAA 406 mh rescue beacon. I've tested the sat phone in some very remote areas,,,, it's always worked.

The Park Service's "emergency" phone number [Sequoia / King's Canyon], to be used only if there's a true emergency, is 559/ 565-3195. While this may seem paranoic, consider that you may run across some other person in distress. The "Spot" things don't always work in the backcountry for some reason.

Secondly, if you have to be flown out [helicopter] be aware that they are [the Sheriff's Department, Park Service, etc] going to send you the bill. It ain't cheap, figure on $10,000 or so.

The answer to this is "Global Rescue" insurance 617/ 459-4200 []. The deal is that if you are more than 160 miles from your "home base" [your residence] they will cover the cost of your "rescue", the cost of getting you to the hospital, and if need be the cost of getting you all the way back to your home. From virtually anywhere on the planet. It does not cover your actual medical expenses, just the rescue and transportation part.

I've got it, just hope I never have to use it.

Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:41 pm
by calipidder
A few weeks ago I was barely able to finish a race due to a stress fracture in my foot (was setting a PR for four miles when I stopped to 'stretch out the cramp in my foot' and couldn't take another step, hopped for the final two miles - fun times). It hasn't healed as fast as I'd hoped so I've just cancelled next week's planned 8 days of peak bagging out of Miter Basin. I've been in a pretty crappy mood since the injury, especially now that I've cancelled the trip that I've been planning since January, but reading through this thread has me grateful that it's nothing worse. I'll be off my feet a few more weeks, and hopefully back in time for my Labor Day trip into Horton Lakes (Basin and Tom, here I come). It's really killing me to miss this time of year in the Sierra, though. :cursing:

Anyways, like some others here I am fortunate that my on-trail injuries have been of the bumps and bruises variety - nothing requiring early exits or evacuations. I once went on an overnight snowcamp when I was coming down with "just a mild cold - the fresh air will help". 24 hours later, after an unpredicted storm (3 ft instead of the 2 inches in the forecast), breaking trail through fresh powder and shoveling our car out of the snowpark, I was curled up on the passenger seat in a delirium. By the next morning I was suffering from bronchitis and a double ear infection. Every time I want to go to the mountains with the comment "I'm not feeling great but the fresh air will be good for me" my husband reminds me of that trip.

Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:39 pm
by maverick
Lostcoyote wrote:
how about you maverick?
you started this topic but haven't chimed in with any cuts and bruises yet - hehehe.
Have been very fortunate/lucky to not have any type of cut, bruise, sprain or break.
Hope I did not just jinxed myself. :(

Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:30 pm
by JosiahSpurr
JosiahSpurr wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:31 pm
THE WORST ONE was altitude sickness, even mild HACE or mild HAPE, [.....] 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, [.....]
So, eight years after writing that, I remember the feeling of fluid in my lungs, like, taking a deep breath, and, instead of the usual unnoticeable flow of air, the weird sound and feeling of a rumbling sensation in my lungs. Didn't write that 8 years ago, maybe in order to forget that part. The other missing piece of the story was the realization, after the throwing up stopped, the knowledge that I had to descend to lower ground, immediately. I packed up, and took off, before dawn, if I recall correctly.

To add to my original list, I've spent two cold nights,

ONE, on Avalanche Pass, reaching it at the end of the day, in the snow, and becoming disoriented in an area I've been in several times before. Everything felt like it was happening in slow motion, with only part of my mind able to process the simplest things, with gratitude to be in a tent and about to go to sleep. Was that the time I chose to revisit a favorite area, south of Bubbs Creek, after speaking with a Ranger, who suggested going north, instead, because the south-facing slopes were warmer with less snow? Was that the time I got back to Road's End, and found a sheet of paper on my windshield, asking to let them know if I knew anything about Larry Conn? (About the time he was heading up, I was holeing up in Montecito- Sequoia Lodge, because of a forecast of a snow storm).

TWO, again Avalanche Pass. I dumped a bunch of equipment near the pass, to lighten my pack for an ascent up the extremely long, and pretty wide, too, talus slope that runs up to the top of Sphinx Crest. Well, I left the pack, on a large downed tree... went up the talus and turned around before reaching the Crest, and didn't find that pack until I returned one week later. I probably spent a few hours going up and down the talus, looking for that one dead tree, with a pack on it..... then near sunset, I booked outta there, scooped up the random pieces of gear I left near the Pass, and started booking down the trail, in November, I think. Luckily, I was able to get some sleep rather than be up all night, shivering, next to a creek crossing and huddled into the tightest space I could find under a huge downed tree. Ah, youth.

Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:25 pm
by chulavista
Patellar tendonitis...lots of pain at first then healed within a few weeks.

Achilles tendonitis...little pain at first but I can't seem to get rid of it. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:49 pm
by phoenix2000
In 2011 I injured the tendons in my left hip. I had been struggling thru the dense vegetation along the creek that flows out of Little Bear Lake and came across a meadow that gave me access to the granite to the west. But there was a big problem, there was a huge dead tree that blocked my path thru the meadow. The tree disappeared into the dense brush on either side of the meadow so going around was out of the question. That left going over it. There was only one spot on the other side of the tree that had a section devoid of branches. After breaking off the branches on my side, I foolishly decided to try to go over the tree with my pack on. I wanted to try sitting on the tree and swinging my legs over, but the tree was too high. So, I ended up putting my left leg on the top of the tree, then I used my right leg to push off and slide over the top of the tree. It worked, except my left foot came down in a vole tunnel and I lost my balance. My left foot and leg wobbled all around as I tried to catch my balance. I tried to bring my right leg over the tree but as I did so it caught on one of the jagged stumps that was left over from where I broke a branch off and it cut a 2 inch gash on the inside of my right knee. As my right knee was being cut, my left leg was going all over the place and then heard the tendons in my left hip go pop… pop… pop. I finally got my right leg over and used my trekking poles to catch my balance. My left hip was hurting while the cut on my right knee bled down my leg. I cleaned my cut as best I could then applied pressure to it and elevated it. It took a while to get the bleeding to stop. When it did my hip was feeling better. I was able to throw my pack on my back and head off towards Flora Lake. By the time I got to Flora Lake my left hip was burning and hurting again. So, I decided to lounge around the lake and soak my hip in the lake.

The next morning my hip felt fine. I went up and over the mountain to the west and then when I came to the trail that goes from Lake Eleanor to Kibbie Lake I followed it to Kibbie Lake and then to the trailhead. By the time I reached the junction with the Kibbie Ridge trail my hip was really burning and in pain. By the time I reached the last switch back there was so much pain every time I moved my left leg that I was in tears. So, I stopped and rested for 15 minutes and then made it back to my car. I stayed the night in a hotel north of LA and in the morning my hip felt fine.

I am not one who likes to go to the doctor, so I didn’t. Over the next 2 months I noticed a weird feeling in my left hip whenever I took a step with it. Eventually I put my hand on my hip when I stepped, and it felt sort of like the hip bone was coming out of it’s socket a half inch or so. That got me worried enough to see the doctor. The doctor had me lay on my side with his hand on my hip as he moved my leg around in different motions and he felt nothing. Then as he said he didn’t know what was wrong and that I could sit up my hip did the little pop out. Then it was like a light bulb lit up over his head and he told me he knew what was wrong with me. He said I had snapping hip syndrome. The tendons in my hip were either too lose or too taught and they were snapping over my hip bone each time I took a step. It was his opinion the burning and pain I felt while backpacking was due to repeated snapping irritating the bursa sack in my hip. He gave me a document that explained what snapping hip syndrome was and had various stretches to fix the problem. After doing the stretches for about a month the problem disappeared. However, from time to time my hip aches. Mostly depending on things I do, like if I sleep too much on my left side or sit with my left leg crossed over the top of my right leg. Stretching helps and there are certain stretches that I find that make my hip make a popping noise like when you crack a knuckle and the pain goes away and stays away. Luckily, it has never bothered me on another backpacking trip.
Achilles tendonitis...little pain at first but I can't seem to get rid of it. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
In May of 2013 I was powering my way up the trails here in Phoenix as fast as I could go trying to get back into shape faster and developed Achilles Tendonitis. After a few months of trying to take it easy and stretch out my calf muscles I went to the doctor. He sent me to physical therapy. The therapist tried all different sorts of stretches, massages and exercises to build up the other muscles in my legs and my gluteus maximus. By this time, my calves and shins were so taught they never relaxed. Finally, in December the therapist asked if I wanted to try dry needling. At that point I was willing to try anything, so I said yes. They did one of my calf muscles first. He took a long thin needle that looked like the kind they use for acupuncture and inserted it far enough into my shin that the tip was in my calf muscle. He then pulled it back out a little bit then pushed it back in. He repeated this motion until my calf muscle spasmed and for the first time in months relaxed. He did my other calf and then both my shins. After that I didn’t have to go back to therapy. I started walking again. Short distances on flat ground at first then slowly increasing the distance and slope of my walks until I was able to hike on the trails in the mountains here in Phoenix again.

There was a silver lining to having Achilles Tendonitis. I had planned on going back to the Kibbie Ridge area and visit some of the lakes I had missed in 2011 but with tendonitis I couldn’t. The day I had planned on going in was the same day the Rim fire started and who knows what kind of trouble I would have been in.

Re: Injuries Suffered During Backpacking Trips

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:40 pm
by F14Rainman
At first blush, I was thinking that I have never been injured in the back country. But that is as an adult. At 15 on a trip to the Grand Canyon as a Boy Scout we were roughhousing and chasing one another by Upper Ribbon Falls off of the North Kaibab trail when I learned that running in heavy hiking boots as a gangly youth is not advised. I tripped over a rock and cracked my head. That turned out to be ok, but as the pain of that receded the pain from my wrist made itself known. I had broken the radius of my right forearm near the wrist. It did not break the skin, but it was pushing up the skin of my wrist in a way that made all who viewed it a tad queasy.

We splinted it up, the scoutmaster slipped me a Tylenol 3, and my younger brother helped me get my pack on, and we worked our way down to Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado River. That night I slept ok as long as I did not turn. By now my forearm had swelled up so it was kind of protected that way with the splint.

The next day my brother again helped me get boots and pants and pack on, and we made our way up to Indian Gardens. I remember very little of that day, except for the fact that I was well enough that I went with 3 others out to Plateau Point to see the glorious Sunset.

The third day we went through the same routine and finished the climb out. Upon reaching the rim it was decided that since I had made it that far ok, we may as well drive home. When my brother and I were dropped off, my parents were out, at a movie as it turns out. I do recall my mother being a tad put out that I had done this to myself and ordering my dad to deal with it as she had to make dinner. He duly took me to the local hospital where it was set, which was a painful experience as the swelling prevented the Novocain from having much effect.

Forty years later I finally got back up on that horse and did almost the exact same hike, where I am pleased to report that I came through unscathed. And because noone was feeding me Tylenol 3, I actually remembered it all. I even wrote about it. ... e-part-ii/

Since then, I have slipped a couple times, but have never hurt anything beyond my pride.