LooseCrew-JeffO: Monarch Pass


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Monarch Pass

Since I had a previous obligation, I couldn't run the Run Rabbit Run.
Anita F said she was doing it, then the Mountain Air Marathon (Crusted Butt to Gunnison) the next day. I asked her to grab my RRR50 shirt, pretty please, and then I begged the Mountain Air RD to let me enter. I got in! I hadn't even thought about this marathon because I had planned on soaking at Strawberry Hot Springs on Sunday. At least I have a consolation event.

So I drove out in the afternoon, Saturday.
Just west of Monarch Pass, I came around a curve and bunches of people waved me to slow down and stop. A motorcyclist had crashed. No one knew how. Her bike was laying in the right-hand lane and she had slid off the highway, under a guardrail. She was barely on the other side of the rail.
There was a nurse there. Nurses have more medical training than me. I have more search&Rescue training, and generally slap-'em together and transport. So I ended up having to stop and help.
She was face-down in the gravel.
Her left humerus was so shattered that there was no sign of any structure between her elbow and shoulder. It also looked like her radius was also broken.
She remained conscious the whole time, but she was unable to talk. Her helmet was off, and the visor was scraped. She obviously took a ride across the pavement face-down. Maybe the helmet bounced off? No one could figure out how it came off. Maybe her jaw was broken. Not sure why she couldn't talk, but she sure was able to communicate pain and squirm around.
I grabbed a bunch of new white hand towels from the CR-V. I'd just bought them days before. Towels always come in handy and I usually have several. The nurse worked one towel under her face, and then wiped dirt, blood, and gravel from her nose and mouth.
Gunnison volunteer S&R showed up first.
We cut her jacket off and moved her arm around. The S&R guys worked a cervical collar onto her. She had an engagement ring on her left hand.
Someone found her wallet - or half of it. Someone else found her phone and went to call some numbers, since service right near the accident wasn't good enough.

Then an ambulance showed up. Since I've never appreciated spectators (really sadistic, creepy, and irritating to me when people slow down in traffic to gawk, or hang around just to stare), as soon as it was obvious they had enough expertise, I hopped in my vehicle and took off.
The entire way to Gunnison, emergency vehicles kept coming, even as I pulled into Gunnison. I hope there wasn't a follow-up accident from someone not slowing down or stopping.

I don't know if it's really possible to send positive energy to anyone, and actually do them any good, but I sure have been trying.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger Justin Mock said...

Just curious, what was she wearing in terms of jacket and gloves? Leather or some other riding jacket or just standard clothes? I've thought about investing in some riding boots, the knee length plastic ones, but that stuff can only help if you actually wear it.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger JeffO said...

She was wearing real leather - or faux leather that was real convincing. The gloves and pants matched in both color and style - obviously a set. They had polypro net linings all around for sweat control. It was mostly yellow and black, with some gray and black trim. Nice - matched her bike, too.
The armor may have been plastic inserts, or maybe just extra layers of leather.
She freaked when she realized we were cutting her leather - matching set, and all.
The bike - I didn't look much. It was one of those hot Kawasakis, or something.
The more I thing about where she ended up and the curves in the road, I get the impression the most likely cause was someone in a car knocked her down, or caused her to do a panic evasive maneuver that went badly.
I think she's probably in surgery as i write this, or done and on some good drugs.
My heathen prayers go out to her. I wish I could do more.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

Holy crap. I somehow missed this post till now. Yikes, I'm sorry you had to be a part of this, but it's great that you were there to render aid. Mortality, strongly presented like this, sure reminds us to live life fully.



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