after my recent adventure with a broken leg in the backcountry i’d like to share some tips on what to do in case of an emergency out there. i’m not an expert, and this isn’t all encompassing. just some more things to think about and maybe something to add to your pack. sure you can get a calstar membership in fact one in our group had only days before.
but what if there’s no cell phone service? in our case there was none, although oft times you can get kirkwood’s signal if you’re on the ridge above us, about 20 minutes away.
what if it’s storming and a helicopter rescue isn’t possible?
what if the injury occurred in terrain that precludes a rescue by helicopter?
the first things to consider is active self rescue. can you get out without seeking additional help? can you get help? it’s not uncommon to be hours from the nearest cell phone signal.
do you have the items required for self rescue considering the injury? below are some items that you may already have or can easily add to your pack that may help to move an injured person. in most cases they have other uses as well and will most likely end up fixing a broken binding.
helpful pack additions (in addition to basic avalanche gear)
duct tape – many uses- can be wrapped around the top of your poles just below the grip.
zip ties – also many uses.
15-20 feet of cord (some AT boot strings are made of strands of survival cord)
first aid kit (link to what some people carry for this)
splints can be fashioned using your skins wrapped around shovel handles, probes, half of a bc pole, etc. in my case it was a probe on each side of the knee wrapped up with a pair of skins and tightened with voile straps.
sleds can be made using skis, poles and your shovel, plus stuff to hold it all together. the movie below shows how to do it but with K2’s proprietary system. to do it without the special pieces requires the duct tape and other items above.
rescue sled built from skis