Bridgeport, CA 93517, USA
Posted on December 9, 2018 by Chase Coman
It was Fall 1992 when my friend Paul and I set out to hike the Sierra High Route. At that time Paul was 34 and I was 40. Said to be one of the most challenging cross country hikes in America, it begins in Kings Canyon and traverses the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and finishes 200 miles north at Twin Lakes. It is attributed to Steve Roper and divided into 5 segments. We had one segment remaining to complete with the fourth segment having been completed in 1996. This last leg was from Tuolumne Meadows to Twin Lakes -about 25 miles and over 3 passes.
Eight days deep into the Sierra with less than 6 miles to go to finish our hike and complete the High Route I was crossing a boulder field just 300 feet below Horse Creek Pass-our last pass. we were at 10,700 feet. I like crossing boulder fields. It really focuses your mind with your body.
I was having fun concentrating on my footing and the next moment my face and head were crushed against a boulder. The sound the impact made inside my head is one I will never forget. I don’t know what happened . Paul removed my pack, unwound my tangled legs and wiped the blood from my face. My vision was blurry, my thinking fuzzy and my head was pounding. I held pressure on my wound. I was cold and getting colder.He grasped my arm and helped me move to a place sheltered from the sandy gusts of wind.
Paul dug out the Personal Locater Beacon from the top pocket of my pack, moved it to a clear area and activated it-wait and hope. An hour and twenty minutes later we heard the faint sound of a helicopter miles away . Steadily the sound became louder. I could see the helicopter moving from one side of the canyon to the other as it worked its way toward us up Spiller canyon. The pilot hovered over us then skillfully inched the chopper down placing the skids between boulders. Two SAR guys jumped out. Paul pointed towards me. I was given a quick medical exam and told they would be taking me out. There was an issue with the helicopter at this altitude with how much weight it could carry but after the SAR guy conferred with the Pilot the decision was made to take both Paul and I and our gear. It was getting late, everyone moved quickly-except me. I was told to stay still.
Once strapped in, we lifted off and covered the distance it had taken us eight days to hike in about ten minutes. We landed at the Tuolumne Meadows heliport.Another field exam and I was told that I needed to go to the nearest ER. It was an hour away in Mammoth Lakes. By the time I got to the ER it was nearly 8 pm. After a CT scan and some tests it was determined that I had a severe concussion and a broken nose, but luckily no brain bleeding. I was told because I am 66 years old it would take months for a full recovery.
Gotta say, that thanks to that little beacon and Yosemite Search and Rescue I am alive and will be ready to roll again come Spring! Thanks to those that I met and to those I will never meet that made it all possible.
The technology worked and the system worked!
Words of wisdom
Be smart-do your homework, know what you might be getting yourself in to. Listen to your intuition and be as prepared as practical for the unexpected.
Thank you note
Thanks to all of you at ACR ( I like to think my family is grateful to you as well : ) . What a great device! I look forward to my next adventure with it!
Bridgeport, CA 93517, USA
Local Search and Rescue
ResQLink™+Go to product details
- LED strobe light
- Self Test
- 66 Channel GPS
- Easy emergency activation
- Antenna clip
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