I skied the Village yesterday and it was fun…maybe a little cold. The wind picked up at the end of the day and was scouring most of the exposed runs. On my last run down, about 3:45, my phone rang…SAR call-out, busted femur at the bottom of ‘The Claw’ on Teton Pass. Being the time of day it was, I knew we had to boogie if we wanted to take advantage of the heli before it got dark. Thanks to Brittany Wilson for finding a ride back into town so I could respond as quick as possible. You da bomb girl!
We set-up an LZ just east of Wilson. Rob Sgroi and I were the second group in, behind the medics Mike Moyer and Tim Cully. The pilot, Ken Johnson got us pretty close, just a few minute skin up to the patient. We joined our teammates and quickly started mixing heat packets. The patient was still where he had fallen and smacked his leg on a tree. You could see some obvious deformation of his left leg. He asked if I was Steve Romeo and after I said yes, he commented that he was a fan of TetonAT.com. Awe shucks…Thanks Josh!
I let the medics do their work and comforted Josh before we got him on the backboard and then into the sked. I reminded him that Stephen Koch spent a whole night out on the north side of Mt Owen, with two screwed up knees and only one layer on after getting avalanched off the Northeast Snowfields. I know that Josh is a passionate skier, cuz I recognized him and remember meeting him up in Garnet canyon last spring. Occasionally Josh would scream in pain…but not very often…props for hanging tough Josh.
The sun had already set and it was probably about 5:45 when we let the pilot know we were about 5 minutes out. We saw him fly back in as we got Josh to the LZ. A couple more teammates had been shuttled in to buff out the LZ, so the ship could throttle down while we loaded the patient. It’s a tight squeeze with someone on a backboard in our little Minuteman, but we managed to get all 6′ and 200lbs. of Josh in. I felt really good inside as the heli lifted and we gave each other high-fives…we made it just in time.
After a quick change of batteries in the headlamp, I skied out with the team. We had a bit of extra gear to haul and I carried two packs and Tim’s skis, skins and poles over one shoulder as well…he flew out with Josh. We got back to the Old Pass Road at about 6:45 as my toes were just going numb from being in the my boots all day and the temps dropped to near zero degrees. I was proud to be part of this rescue and I thought it went off rather well.