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  1. #1
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    Default Injury on the AT - Very good thing I had my cell phone

    I led a day hike yesterday on the AT from Keys Gap nobo to Harpers Ferry. Three miles into the hike one of the ladies slipped on a wet rock and went down, breaking her right wrist. One of the other ladies is Veterinarian and quickly managed a splint from two sticks and bandanas, and another person pulled out there water bladder (filled with very cold water) and we rested her wrist on it. In the meantime I got out my phone and dialed 911. I have Verizon and coverage there was excellent. An hour later we had firefighters coming up the mountainside and EMTs and a park ranger coming up the trail from Chestnut Hill Road. Then an ATV "gator" made it's way up the steep mountainside to us. They resplinted the wrist, got her up on her feet (she was in too much pain and was definitely not willing to try to hike out) and got her on the ATV and down to a waiting ambulance. The Vet went back with one of the EMTs to his vehicle on the road and he took her back to the HF visitors center to get her car so that she could get to the hospital to be with the injured hiker and get her back home. The rest of us went on to HF.

    There is always chatter about how cell phones should be left at home, how no one needs to be connected all the time, etc. Only two of us brought a phone and the other one was nearly dead. Had I not had my phone to call 911 our only alternative would have been to turn around and go all the way back to Keys Gap, get the vehicle we'd shuttled up there in, drive all the way back to the HF visitors center and get the rangers to call 911. Because of my phone, the 911 dispatcher said that they had "pinged" me and knew exactly where we were on the trail and that's how the firefighters were able to come up the mountainside straight to us. The whole ordeal took an hour start to finish - not the hours it could have taken had we had to get back to the car and back to town. We're not fast hikers and it took us nearly two hours to cover that first 3 - 3 1/2 miles. No phone and we'd have been looking at a good 3 - 4 hours with that poor lady laying there in terrible pain.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  2. #2
    Registered User Grits's Avatar
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    I am glad that everything turned out ok. Macon County NC Commissioners (Ron Haven) just approved a cell tower that will have a similar impact.

    http://www.smokymountainnews.com/new...will-mar-views

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    This was all handled by the Jefferson County 911 communications center. They were so very kind and kept us up to date on where everyone was who was on the way. We ended the call knowing that help was just minutes away and then another 911 person called back just to make sure we were all okay and that there were no changes. I was able to text another member of our group (she wasn't hiking with us on this day) who is an EMT/Search and Rescue person and she gave us tips on how to treat the injury til the EMTs could get there. Turned out we were doing everything right. I also had a ziplock with Advil in it and we got the injured person to down 4 of them. I bring Advil, aspirin (in case of a suspected heart attack), and Benadryl for allergic reactions - all just til we can get professional help in the event of injury/illness.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  4. #4
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    A broken ankle I get but a broken wrist? A crew of rescue workers had to go up and retrieve someone capable of walking?
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

  5. #5
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Sorry, that's not the example I'd use to justify carrying a cell phone.

  6. #6
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    IMHO, this isn't a story of "this is why you should carry your cell-phone into the wilderness". It is a story of people going hiking unprepared, and relying on technology.

    Its the perfect example of why it is important to be extra cautious when you are out in the wilderness, the reason why I fuss at my boys when we are a mile deep into the woods and I find them trying to balance themselves on a wet log.

    And it's a perfect example of why, even on a day hike, you have to go prepared... prepared for the possibility of someone getting hurt (first aid kit?) and having to spend extra time in the woods (any warm clothing should you suddenly find yourself staying out much longer than you expected).
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 08-30-2013 at 09:13.

  7. #7
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    Good lord. She simply slipped on a wet rock. Of course none of you EVER make an odd step and slip. Ever. And no she was not about to risk hiking out with only one arm to hold a pole or keep her balance. There are long sections of that part of the trail that are quite rocky and narrow. I've been hiking with her for 3 years and she's quite fit and capable. Some of you are highly self-righteous and insulting. As for the number of crew sent up - that was hardly up to us, was it? Dispatch knew the situation and it was THEIR call to send so many up. Ask them about it, not me. And yes it was an EXCELLENT reason to have a charged up cell phone at the ready. The he-man swagger has never impressed me. I find it laughable.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  8. #8

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    it is indeed an excellent reason to carry a charged cell phone. i carry a phone myself. ive always assumed i would not get a signal when i needed it the most.i do not feel a phone should be relied on as a survival tool. just a supplement.

  9. #9

    Default Injury on the AT - Very good thing I had my cell phone

    Sounds like a great reason for a cell. I hike with mine for just such an emergency. And yes depending on how bad the brake is and perhaps the age of the injured a broken arm can be very debilitating. Sounds like you were prepared and did the right thing.

  10. #10
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    I am glad things worked out for you and your friend Mrs. Baggens. 'Let he who as never slipped on a wet rock throw the first stone.' This could happen to anyone. It is a good thing that your group had a cell phone and coverage.

    Having said that, I usually do not bring a cell phone with me on my hikes. I know that many people now consider cell phones a 'necessity' and that hiking without one is irresponsible. We all must live with the consequences our decisions. I am willing to live with mine.

  11. #11
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    glad your friend is OK.

    What would have happened if you didn't have a cell phone? Likely you would have walked backed to the car and went to the hospital and everything would have worked out fine. I'm not sure the cell phone did much other than give someone a bit of comfort as they were surrounded by the Calvary going out.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by fredmugs View Post
    A broken ankle I get but a broken wrist? A crew of rescue workers had to go up and retrieve someone capable of walking?
    Man, that is a little hard core.

  13. #13

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    Aaron Ralston intentionally broke his arm, amputated his arm with a leatherman knock off, rappelled one-handed down a 65 foot cliff, and hiked 8 miles to his car. The Aristrocrats.

  14. #14
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    I hike alone, mostly, and I always carry my cell phone "just in case."

    As harsh as Fredmugs' post was, I have to say, as I was reading the OP, I was thinking the same thing.
    But, people react to injuries and stress differently and I am glad that everything worked out for the hiker in question.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    Aaron Ralston intentionally broke his arm, amputated his arm with a leatherman knock off, rappelled one-handed down a 65 foot cliff, and hiked 8 miles to his car. The Aristrocrats.
    Good for him. Still glad we used the phone and got help. If this lady was your mom would you order her onto her feet and to keep hiking? Sure sounds like it.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  16. #16
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Baggins View Post
    Good for him. Still glad we used the phone and got help. If this lady was your mom would you order her onto her feet and to keep hiking? Sure sounds like it.
    No, but if it was me, my mom would probably whip me for breaking something and chase me up the trail with a switch.

  17. #17

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    I'm glad your friend got out with a minimum of pain. My point was to show that the cell phone didn't "save the day" and that she could have gotten out on her own albeit with a bit of pain.

  18. #18
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    I entirely agree with Mrs Baggins. Those who think they are wilder and further from civilisation are those who come on and have to boast over the internet, which to my mind, is not a good way of being a hardman.

    I will carry a phone with me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Baggins View Post
    Good for him. Still glad we used the phone and got help. If this lady was your mom would you order her onto her feet and to keep hiking? Sure sounds like it.
    I'm with you on this one Mrs B, I can't tell you how many SAR cases I've been involved in where we had to ask the folks "why didn't you call us sooner". Simple problems turn into not so simple problems very quickly.

    Folks this a case of an actual injury, not someone that lost their bottle of sparkly water and couldn't bear to drink from a puddle. It takes more brain cells to know when to call for help than is does to tough it out and die cold and alone.

    Good job Mrs B!

  20. #20
    Registered User -SEEKER-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    I'm glad your friend got out with a minimum of pain. My point was to show that the cell phone didn't "save the day" and that she could have gotten out on her own albeit with a bit of pain.
    I broke my tibia on Mt. Madison this year and I hiked on it for another 15 miles. I had a cell but chose not to use it. Everyone has a different pain tolerance level.
    Seek, and you shall find.

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