On May 2nd Inyo SAR was notified of a 28-year-old female with an open left forearm fracture at the base of the southeast face route on Mount Emerson, three miles up the Piute Pass trail. The patient had taken approximately a 20-foot fall at the beginning of the climb; she and her partner were attempting to solo the route (climbing without ropes). The partner managed to stop the bleeding and bandaged the arm, then left the scene to get help. He encountered a runner on the trail who was willing to stay with the patient while he made his way to cell service.
A hasty medical team of 2 Inyo SAR members departed the North Lake Trailhead at 11:45am, after meeting up with the reporting party. The medical team reached the patient’s location one hour after leaving the trailhead. The team assessed the patient, applied oxygen, and cleaned, bandaged, and splinted the injured forearm. Shortly thereafter, six additional team members arrived with more gear. Because of the distance of the fall and the patient’s complaint of tenderness in her lower thoracic spine, the team maintained spinal control by placing her in a full-body vacuum splint. The patient’s pain level necessitated immediate transport; the team had requested helicopter assistance before leaving Bishop and CHP helicopter H-70 responded promptly. The helicopter was able to hoist the patient directly from her location at the base of the climb and fly her to Bishop Airport, where she was transported by Symons Ambulance to Northern Inyo Hospital.