Whitney, AMS

Call from concerned hikers a disoriented and obviously endangered hiker is trying to keep going up but is not equipped and can not physically or mentally function.  Estimated 30 year old male name not known, in trail camp with probable AMS and hypothermia. 

I got call @ 10PM, just got to bed, made a call out to the team, waited at the hut had one support member whom got vehicle and info together for us, one other member and myself was all that was available from Bishop, got 2 rescue members and a support member from Lone Pine started toward the trail head.  Also called China Lake Rescue for help in case this mission went bad.  Got to the portal at midnight, 2 Lone Pine Members had made it to Lone Pine Lake, we hit the trail with more oxygen and patient care supplies leaving the litter and wheel for China Lake if our stashed equipment had not survived the winter.  Hiked fast and caught up with Lone Pine team at Outpost camp found our litter system was intact so had China Lake team hit trail with medical supplies and to pick up the other half of the litter Inyo left at Outpost camp.  Split into a hasty team and supply team, hasty team found Pt at sun up extremely cold and disoriented, the good samaritan hikers had kept him in their tent despite his combative nature and in fact saved his life.  Supply team arrived 1/2 hour later we bundled and kept him as warm as possible on high flow oxygen and called for a air lift as a carryout with our worn out team and the patients condition was a poor choice. 

After the second bottle of oxygen he stabilized, China Lake arrived with more packaging material to keep him warm and oxygen, H-40 a CHP helicopter made a fly over on the way to refuel we made a plan and carried the Pt to a nearby LZ.  Most of us were able to lie down for a few minutes until H-40 made it back, the mission was near perfect, great team effort, weather cooperated and no injuries.  We visited the Pt in the hospital when we got back down and he looked much better and a very happy man. 

Cause; he misjudged Whitney, his abilities and supply list.  If he tries again I am sure he will prepare a whole lot better.  This mountain is a lot of fun but can do a lot of damage to those who don’t pay attention.

Acclimate, hydrate, proper nutrition, proper equipment and know your abilities.  Thanks to all of you whom watch out for others in the back country many AMS patients do not know they are sick and can die without help from people like you, it took over 6 hours to get to him those hikers most surely saved his life.

Posted in 2012, Missions Reports.