"Holidays are popular times for accidents and emergencies. With so many people off work and recreating in the great outdoors, something somewhere is bound to go wrong.
Such was the case with a group of mountaineers climbing Timpanogos over the 4th of July weekend. A long and wet winter left the mountain still half covered in deep snow despite occasional hundred-degree days in the valley.
"I think I'm getting frost butt," Jed quipped as his friends caught up to where he had paused, digging in his axe pick to stop.
Below them stretched a wide open snowfield with five hundred feet of elevation without a single cliff band to traverse around. "Anybody wanna race?" Jed asked, shooting a challenging glance toward his friends.
"Sure," Dave answered. "I'll take you on."
"Last one to the flat," Jed explained, indicating a spot where the slope leveled out five hundred feet below, "buys lunch."
"On three," Dave replied, then began counting."One...three!"
Both climbers sat quickly, raised their heels, and began to slide. Within seconds, both were scooting along over thirty miles per hour.
By the time Olin and I reached the accident scene, North Fork Fire and other SAR members were already attending to Jed's injuries. They splinted his leg, monitored vital signs, and ran an IV into his brachial artery to keep him hydrated. They built a four-point snow anchor from axes buried in the snow with a collection point to attach a rope to which ensured that each anchor held an equal portion of the load's weight.
Olin and I measured 200' down the mountain and set another anchor with a pair of pickets. The snowpack was so hard that we had to pound the pickets in with a rock that had rolled down the slope from the cliffs above.
We again used a 200'er to measure the distance for the next anchor and, when the litter arrived below, used our anchor to get the litter up the slope more quickly. with end tied to the litter, Olin ran down the hill, dragging the litter in the opposite direction as he went.