Last July I just summited Paiute Peak and was about to return home via the ridge to Audubon. It was shortly before 10am but the Monson was in full swing that week and what was a blue bird morning turned very dark, very quick. After hearing the second clap of thunder I made a quick decition to glasade down to the bottom of the valley to escape the incomeing weather. The slope was a little steeper than I felt comfortable with but I felt it was safer than being on the ridge in a storm. I had brought an ice ax for this possiblity but no helmet. Since the planned route was only a walk up. (mistake #1) In my hast to get down quickly I did not check the snow cafefully because it was mid-July and it should have been fine for what I had planned. (mistake #2) No sooner than I started to glassade I knew I was in big trubble. 50 yards from where I started I could now see that there was at least one cliff band below. The snow I was on was facing south-east and had become very soft and wet. When I tried to self arrest my ax could not find anything close to solid to slow me down. All the snow around me was moving so I gave up on the idea of stopping and flipped back around to try and steer my way away from the cliff band. I was going way to fast and soon found myself rag-dolling down the slope. Soon I was airborn and I heard a loud crack as my head made contact with one of the boulders below the cliff-band. There were a few more cracks before I came to a sudden stop when my hip made solid contact with a really big rock. When I came too I found that I had a very large cut on my head as well as some other injurys to my elbow, knee, hip, and back. I was still half way up the slope and knew the best thing I could do was to get down to where it was flat so that a chopper (if needed) could get me. Unfortunately, I still had some obsticales below me. I managed to only hit one but it was freaky because it was a large rock that had melted the snow around it so when I went over the rock I fell under about six feet of snow. After I climbed out from underneath the snow it was an easy trip to the bottom. Even though I have a spot, I felt it would be best if I could at least get back to my truck under my own power. I made it the 3 miles back to my truck and passed about 12 people, none of whom seem to notice that I was covered in blood with torn cloths. I then thought I was in good enough shape to drive 2 hours home. (mistake #3) This one I can blame of the head injury
When I got home my wife who was 8 months pregnate at the time took me strait to the hospital. I was so loopy I did not even think I needed stickes. (I needed 9 staples) but amazingly I had no broken bones. The concuson I had lasted almost 6 months and I almost lost hope that I would ever be back to normal. Because of all this I am no longer allowed to solo anything over 13,000. So my dream of finishing the 13ers probably ended that day.
I hope others will learn from my mistakes.