An eventful attempt of Moolock Mountain this AM. Benson Miller and I set out early to attempt Moolock Mountain this AM in spite of what Amazon Alexa said was dreadful weather. We were making good time and at the three-mile marker, encountered a party of two at the first major creek crossing. One person was on the ground injured after slipping while crossing the creek, descending after determining the snow conditions exceeded their preparedness. We triaged the injured and provided first aid, stabilizing the person, provided thermal emergency blankets for both the bottom and top insulation, lent a puffy, sweater, and beanie to keep the patient warm and ward off shock. After assessing a likely broken leg, we waiting for Mountain Search and Rescue who were about an hour out. About 15 minutes later we were joined by a pair of fellow Mountaineers, also trained in Wilderness First Aid, who assisted in additional triage and treatment. It was great having other skilled peers on the trail. We moved the patient to a better location and position, administered HotHands heat warmers, as the patient was getting colder. We administered food and water for energy and hydration.
Amazingly, three miles up the trail, SAR arrived about 90 minutes after the initial call and took over, loading the injured onto a litter with a wheel and took him down the mountain. Benson and I decided to continue in our pursuit of the summit, but after another few miles, turned around at 3000 feet and 5+ miles into the climb due to increasing cold and inclement weather and just general tiredness.
A couple of takeaways and learning opportunities. Be prepared and always carry the 10 essentials. The travel party who was injured was inexperienced, wearing mostly cotton on a snowy trail and poor weather day lacked the 10 essentials and had poor knowledge of the trail and terrain. Fortunately, there was cell coverage and they were able to call 911 immediately upon the accident. Also be aware of trail conditions, practice situational awareness and mind your footing. The crossing was rather trivial, yet the rocks were extremely slippery as we experienced crossing the creek in both directions. A simple slip and fall resulted in a broken tibia and fibula and required surgery. Also, have a plan and communicate it with others. Fortunately, Benson and I happen upon the party on the trail and there was another skilled party not far behind us. Today was a less-traveled day due to the weather and trail condition. If neither party was there, the injured would have gone into shock, hypothermia, and given the severity of the injury could have suffered a worse fate. Some changes to my kit as a result of using my emergency gear in the field. Our SOL branded emergency blankets were the small and thin ones. They sufficed for 2 hours of use, however, in a longer or colder emergency, I would want something more substantial – more sleeping bag-like. Also, the Hot Hands hand warmers were great. I will pack more on all outings. Even in the summer, it can get cold on an unplanned bivy. Also in winter, a small stove to heat water would be something useful as well, as recommended by SAR. Having extra food and clothing helped the injured in this case, so it’s always to think about more than just your own personal needs. Think about the situation where you or your partner may be injured and plan for the things to help in that situation. Overall a good day out. The summit will remain for a future trip, and I wish my new trail buddy a speedy recovery. Be safe out there.