A 58-year-old female and her husband were hiking up Lamarck Peak on Sunday, August 31. As they were working their way down from the summit, they dislodged a large boulder which struck and broke the patient’s ankle. Two other hikers who were also descending the peak helped fashion a splint and accompanied the couple down the trail to the switchbacks above Upper Lamarck Lake, where a SAR team of three members encountered the party at about 18:30. The medical lead, a Wilderness EMT, assessed the patient and resplinted the ankle. The patient was most comfortable “scooting” down the steep sections of the trail, so the team assisted her as she painstakingly navigated rocky switchbacks and three creek crossings. On smoother sections she used crutches or allowed team members to carry her piggy-back. Due to the extremely steep nature of the trail and its many obstacles and narrow turns, the team was only able to maneuver a litter about a mile up from the trailhead. It took the patient over four hours of heroic effort to reach that point in the trail. Having more or less crawled her way down thousands of feet of talus and trail, the patient was ready for a litter ride. The team finished the journey with the patient comfortably prone in the litter, reaching the trailhead just before midnight.
Click to download a short movie of the patient’s incredible creek crossing technique.