rightstar76 wrote:How far were you in the backcountry? Were you medivaced?
I hopped out, given that it was only a hairline fracture. I was 2-3 miles cross country from my camp, which was another 5 miles by trail to the car.
The whole thing was the result of undercutting an immense boulder that was embedded in the sand matrix of a rock glacier toe that bounded one side of this amazing lake with 20" goldens. The boulder lurched toward me from 10-15' above and I pretty much figured I was doomed, given it was so close and I had so little room to avoid it. There was no time for my life to flash before my eyes. I resigned myself to death and anticipated the feeling of getting crushed to the thickness of a credit card. The graphic mental imagery is forever etched into my mind. A desperate reflex sideways leap, aided immensely by the fact that my vertical jump those days was in the 30" range, just barely got me out of the way. Oddly enough, I broke the ankle touching down in snow--a small price to pay, however. I saw the lower leg sort of rotate in slow motion to a very unnatural angle, and expected much worse. I was pleasantly surprised to see no protruding bones and less swelling than I've had in some of my more severe ankle sprains. It still couldn't really support weight, though, leaving me in a pickle. To get back to camp I had to get around the lake. I didn't want to recross the lethal slope (the accident had occurred right as I was finishing my crossing of it), but the alternative was a steep snow climb w/o ice axe and using one foot, surmounted by a 10-15' class 3 pitch. The kicking steps with one foot (without losing my balance and going down), was an adventure, as was the class 3. This was followed by crawling some otherwise easy talus boulders to return to the lake shore where the shoreline was much more benign (low angle talus and slabs).
Here I took my fishing gear back out of the rucksack and attempted once again to do what I was there for catch those infernal 20" goldens. I had an 18-incher to within inches of the shore, but then had it unceremoniously flop off. After all that, zero fish. I then hopped the 2-3 mi of cross country down to the lower lake where I was camped with my dad. "Dad, I think I broke my ankle. Maybe it's just a little sprain or something, but I'll know tomorrow morning. If it's just not a big deal we'll bag Basin Mtn. tomorrow." I then described the accident. My dad had in fact been at the lake on the opposite side until about an hour before the accident; we had both jetted there after bagging a peak. He had witnessed the big warning sign that should have turned me around earlier. I had hopped onto this van-sized boulder that looked to give me a 180 degree casting platform, only to have it roll and pitch me into the lake. "At that point you should have clued in and turned around". Yup.
The next morning I crawled out of my bag toward the tent entrance in order to take the morning pee and cook breakfast. The first little push off while crawling sent electric pain up from my right ankle. "Dad, we're not doing Basin today. Sorry." After the usual boring oatmeal, I hopped on one leg around this lower lake to a good casting spot then rang up double figures in medium sized brookies, a few of which I kept to cook for a departure brunch. We then broke camp and headed to the car. My dad always hiked with an old wooden walking stick. I borrowed it and pogo sticked my way the 5 mi 2250 feet of loss to the car, never once stopping (starting up hurt quite a bit), and making it back somewhere in the two hour range with a somewhat tired right arm and sore hand. My poor dad, who hiked like a demon with his stick, was hurting without, and reached the car much later.
After returning home I still didn't believe the ankle was badly damaged and I drove to work the next morning (couldn't of been too bad given that I could still depress the gas pedal), only to find I couldn't climb the stairs to my workplace. I went back to the car, drove to the hospital, where they x-ray'd it, determined the ankle to have a hairline fracture, and casted it up, after which I returned to work.
The funny postscript to a not so funny story comes from my wife's reaction upon coming home. I expected to receive a well-deserved tongue lashing for my idiocy. After telling the story, I cringed and waited for the barrage. My wife's reply:" So HOW big are those goldens? And, how hard is it to get to that lake?"