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Trip Report    

Basic Snowshoe - Commonwealth Basin

Turned around due to injury.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

About 0.75 miles into our trip, which was planned to be about 2 miles out and another 2 miles back, a member of our party fell while crossing a small shallow gully.  The fall looked minor, but the subject immediately reported that they thought they had broken their arm.  Two members of our party, a Nurse Practitioner and a Registered Nurse, quickly took charge of the subject and began an evaluation while the TL alerted the remainder of the party to layer up and prepare to be stopped for several minutes.

While the subject was being evaluated we sent a group of 4 participants to scout a direct route back to the main trail so that, if necessary, we could self-evacuate over the easiest terrain possible.   Before the group split we confirmed that that both parties had cell coverage and were able to communicate with each other.  We also specified a short turnaround for the scouting group.  The two nurses completed their assessment and determined that the subject did have an injury, but was in stable condition and able to self-evacuate.  The subject's arm was placed in a sling that one of the nurse's carried in their first aid kit.  Upon the return of the scouting party, our re-united 8-person party redistributed the subject's gear, and we returned to the cars without incident.

The subject had carpooled from home with the trip's co-leader, who was yet another Registered Nurse (yes, we had three nurses in our party!).  The co-leader drove the subject to an urgent care facility of the subject's choosing, where X-rays determined that the subject had a complete fracture of the humerus.  The subject was discharged with a splint and a referral to see an orthopedist.

All members of the party responded admirably to a stressful situation.  The TL is especially grateful to two nurses who took charge of the subject, but everyone contributed in their own way by offering warm clothing and constructive suggestions, offering to carry gear, scout and break trail, etc.  Having a trusted co-leader also worked out well because it made the decision to temporarily split the group an easy one.  WFA scenario training provided the wherewithal to start researching and forming and evacuation plan even while the subject was still being evaluated, and to confirm that the two sub-parties were able to communicate before they split, should second contingency should arise (which thankfully did not).