February 7th, 2010 (Part II): The Evacuation

While us kids were out having fun, getting our turns all day long, one of the other guests at the Ostrander was awaiting a helicopter evacuation because he was suffering from pulmonary edema and could not ski out under his own power. Well, the helicopter never came. As the sun was begining to set, a handful of park rangers arrived with a sled to begin the evacuation by land. They needed all the help they could get and our crew was happy to help in any way we could. JonnyB and Howard, the hutmaster, who just happen to share similar facial-grooming techniques waited to start pulling the sled while the medic secured the patient.

Pulling a 200 lb sled uphill is no easy feat and the crew of rangers and Ostrander-ers took turns at the helm. Controlling a 200 lb sled downhill proved to be of equal or greater difficulty, but additional ropes were tied to the back of the sled and skiers managed to slow the gravity-fed momentum of the sled.

Halfway to the Glacier Point Road, where the rangers had snowmobiles waiting, we met another group of park rangers. This group relieved our crew for the final portion of the evacuation. We had helped pull the sled to the top of the last hill and they were most appreciative of our support. All part of a day's work in the backcountry. (Note: We learned that the patient was released from the hospital the following day.)

1 comment:

JB said...

2/7/10 will go down for many of us as one of the most memorable days of our lives. Waking up before sunrise in Yosemite's backcountry, a full day of powder turns, and finally ending the day pulling a sled with your best friends to save a man's life. It will be 24 hours I'll never forget.

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