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Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby danb » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:01 pm

We were on the east ridge of Bierstadt, approaching the summit when the chopper rolled out and barely cleared Evans. There was no commotion on Bierstadt summit whatsoever. About 1.5 hours after the chopper left we rolled thru the Sawtooth and saw nothing out of the ordinary... nobody down below scouting around or anything.

What does all that mean? Well exactly nothing, but no appearance of things being chaotic or any upset people. Suffice to say if you dropped off that thing in a bad place (which is most anywhere), there would be no hope of survival. I don't know, I just consider it answered prayer that they were not hauling a body out. Hope it stays that way and no solo hiker comes up missing a few days later.....

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby skydzntcare » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:15 pm

I was the reason the helicopter came out on the 14th (august 2011). I was going to do sawtooth and instead of staying near the top stones i climbed down toward the small lake and then spotted a path to the top of sawtooth. I brought about 80 oz of water in my pack and consumed half of it by the time i made it to bierstatd summit. I climbed bierstatd with my sister and im glad i didn't convince her or another guy i met to do sawtooth as i might have put them in danger too. I clearly underestimated the terrain as it was my third and planned fourth fourteener. (grays and torry's were my only fourteeners climbed). I polished my last 40 oz's on the way to the lake and was out of water for the scaling up sawtooth. My inexperience was knowing how much water i needed. When I got to the sharktooth of sawtooth I began to feel very dizzy and couldnt slow my breathing. I wasnt about to try and forge ahead at the risk of fainting or even vomiting and losing precious liquids. I found a small rock and incline to lay down on and see if i could fend off the alititude sickness. I had urinated just before getting sick and what felt like dehydration and it was crystal clear. So I thought it was more just scaling up and down the altitude and over exerting myself which isn't a big surprise if you knew me. I felt worse and worse as the 5 minutes went on. I tried going down where i had come up but as soon as i got upright and climbed down a couple step i would become absolutely exhausted and dizzy to the point i might faint. Also i started shaking and was getting cold from not climbing. I might mention that i climbed this whole day without a shirt because i was very hot, while other people were budled up. I had 4 hours of sleep which didn't help and might have been running a fever up there. Anyways I started to yell out to the bierstatd summit. I could hear people talking and laughing from the summit from where i was, even though they were a long ways away. I also whistled sos, I'm a very loud whistler (i asked my rescuers if they heard me whistle and they said no, to my surprise. So yelling travels better in the mountains fyi). After a couple yells ("can anybody hear me?", "I need help", "I'm dehydrated!") I got a response from a woman which i learned later was at the summit, "we can hear you", "are you ok?", "were coming, stay where you are". The stay where you are made me want to laugh since i couldn't get up without feeling like fainting or vomiting and had to wait between yelling so my throat wouldn't dry out.. So i waited and we yelled out every 5 minutes to maintain their heading. It took about 45 minutes for the woman and a friend to get to me. She gave me 3/4 of her 30 oz or so bottle of water. she drank 1/4 of it for the whole trip! im in good shape but im not very efficient with water since I swim and lift and exercise in a way that my body is used to engulfing water. The guy gave me a cliff bar and a vitamin water. We started over the rest of sawtooth after about 5 minutes of recuperation as what looked to be a storm was nearing (turned out to be 15 minutes of cold wind and some rain). We crossed sawtooth and came down the gulch path and took it all the way too the main path up bierstatd. Right after we crossed the sawtooth crux we hear the helicopter and tried to signal them we were ok. If i had ample water i would have been able to make it without calling for help but as i said my inexperience cost me and the sheriffs dept. 3 water bottles wasn't enough for me while 1/4 of one was plenty for the woman who rescued me. If your not athletic and experienced or feel you didn't bring enough water or food, don't do sawtooth or anything for that matter. Altitude can be very distorting. And if you do sawtooth stay towards the top and don't go down and up like i did, it's much harder. I will say it isnt as bad as the pictures look, but don't be fooled, it's a long way. I was lucky. Always go with a friend and never split. Im making a donation to the alpine rescue team and apologize for being dumb. P.s. I found a phone in the middle of nowhere down near the lake and am in the process of returning it to the owner across the country. search lost blackberry torch on sawtooth if you want to see that story. p.s.s. don't defend me if someone calls me stupid for doing what i did, i was stupid in my inexperience. #-o

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby cwm191 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:26 pm

Glad you're ok. This could have been much worse, obviously.
Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. - Friedrich Schiller

The problem with quotes on the internet is there is no way to verify their accuracy. - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby tylermacguire » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:27 pm

Thanks for posting this and I'm glad you are ok!!! Crazy story...

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby Doug Shaw » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:39 pm

I'm not disputing your description because you know your body better than I do, but that doesn't really sound like dehydration to me. You drank 40oz of water between the Bierstadt summit and Abyss Lake and then a couple of hours (or less?) later you were so debilitated that you couldn't even really walk? It seems unlikely that your body went through the 80oz of water you'd already had up to that point and then got into such a significant deficit that you couldn't even stand up and walk.

This sounds more like AMS or some pretty severe electrolyte imbalance to me.

Whatever it was, I'm glad it all turned out okay.

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby Fiemus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:42 pm

skydzntcare wrote:I was the reason the helicopter came out on the 14th (august 2011).

Have you been in touch with Alpine Rescue or Clear Creek Sheriff's Office ? I'm sure they would like to know the details so they can close the case.

ART can be reached at (303) 526-2417
Clear Creek County SO (non-emergency) is (303) 679-2376

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby Sugar Madison » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:44 pm

I agree with Doug... if you were peeing clear, it wasn't dehydration. It sounds like a classic case of hyponatremia. Way more dangerous than dehydration.

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby tbaileymd » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:52 pm

Glad you're ok. It sounds like it could have been so much worse. Grays/Torreys and then Sawtooth is a pretty aggressive progression in difficulty.

As a physician, I'm concerned that you're basically having to chug 80 oz. of water to get up one of the easiest summits (Bierstadt). Don't know if you were eating as you went, too, but if not then you should consider snacking too for energy. With you taking in that much water for half a round-trip up Bierstadt (basically) and still urinating clear, I question whether you were dehydrated at all. More likely by dumping all that water in your system you drove your sodium low (hyponatremia), resulting in the same headache, lethargy, confusion, and nausea that you would get from acute mountain sickness. If you're eating your Mojo bar or similar snack along with the water, this is less likely to happen.

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby Doug Shaw » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:53 pm

Sugar Madison wrote:I agree with Doug... if you were peeing clear, it wasn't dehydration. It sounds like a classic case of hyponatremia. Way more dangerous than dehydration.


I missed it in the first read or two (hint: use paragraphs... the enter key is your friend!), but he also talks about possibly having a fever. #-o

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby tbaileymd » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:55 pm

Doug and Sugar beat me to it. Ditto what they said.

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby DoWork » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Here's my favorite part... "I will say it isnt as bad as the pictures look"
"Man who go to bed with itchy butt - wake with smelly finger"

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Re: Rescue Underway between Bierstadt and Evans

Postby Shawnee Bob » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:36 pm

I wonder if your food intake was low. And for sure, the lack of sleep and a fever probably had you cruisin for a bruisin. Glad you're safe off the mountain.
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