Survival Series: Alone & Broken

Survival Series: Alone & Broken

Greg Hein 33, set out for a solo 4 day backpacking trip to bag Mt. Goddard in Kings Canyon National Park. Taking off on Thursday he let his dad know that he should be back by Monday. He had been hiking by himself for 15 years. The first part of the trip went smooth, he took a jump into Blaney Hot Springs and then summited Mt. Goddard, being only the 3rd person to sign the summit register that year. 

Heading off trail to Evolution Basin Greg had to scramble over a boulder field 
As he was working his way down he grabbed a handhold on a small rock and it accidentally pulled out, he tried to stick it back in but it was to late. The 150lbs boulder above him shifted and started to come down, but he couldn't get out of the way. 
The boulder landed on his Right Calf, snapping the Tibia above the ankle and knocked him down a steep snow shoot onto a snow field. Sliding down on his backpack he saw his ankle leaving a blood trail and flapping around, it was the most intense pain he had ever experienced but he had to overcome the pain and dig his other foot into the snow to stop from hurting himself on the rocks coming out of the snow field. Finally he stopped. He pulled himself off of the snow field and onto some rocks so he wouldn't be stuck on the snow if he went into shock from the blood loss. 
Calming himself down he tried to recall his first aid training. Greg took his sleeping mat and used it along with his hiking poles, long johns, and a belt to splint the leg and stop the bleeding. The next day he could already smell the wound was infected. Manning up to the pain he scoured the wound with ice crystals and cleaned it with fresh snow every day. 
Despite melting snow in his poncho he felt very dehydrated and decided to scoot himself 1.6 miles over snow and rock to Davis Lake. On Wednesday he finally started hearing search helicopters, waving his bright yellow Bivy Sack he finally caught the attention of the helicopter and a SAR team descended upon him. When they got to him, he told them they didn't have to carry him, he could crawl. 
This is a summary of the original article as featured on Backpacker.

KEY TIPS:

  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back by. In this case it was his father who knew of his plans and called Search & Rescue
  • A Comprehensive Medical Kit is worth its weight in Gold when the time chooses you, he had to use a bunch of random gear to create a makeshift solution. He was lucky that this stopped the bleeding. 
  • Always carry extra food, water, and warm/dry clothes. Your day hike can quickly turn into a few night stay in the wilderness. 

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