Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Backpacking Injuries

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Offline steelfrog

  • Mountain Lion
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Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2020, 05:08:02 PM »
One time Lance forced Steel, although much his senior, to carry full camping pack plus 20 liters of water (that's right, 40 pounds of water) plus a separate pack strapped to that pack with 70 meter rope and climbing gear, up Laguna Meadows Trail to a camp spot at LW.  This caused Steel to get back troubles which persist to this day, many years later.  Lance refused to massage Steel's back.  And legs.  Lesson here?  If you go hiking with Lance, be on your guard.

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Offline congahead

  • Coyote
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  • 111
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2020, 05:20:27 PM »
18 trips to the Bend and nothing more than blisters and being on the losing end of multiple confrontations with angry, aggressive plants.

I think it's because I go slowly (a bit by design, a bit by necessity), especially on downhills and rocky trails (and off-trail), and because I use trekking poles.

Worst outdoor-related injury I ever had was on a kayaking trip down the Devil's River a couple of years ago. Slipped on some slick rock while pulling my yak through shallow waters. Fell awkwardly over my yak and tore rib cartilage. This was on day one of a three-day trek. For the rest of the trip my main activities were eating ibuprofen, paddling with extreme pain, staying up all night because I could not lie down, and waiting for it to be over. Got a morphine shot when I got home.

Give me the cacti any day.
"The animals here will generally try to avoid you, but the plants will hurt you every chance they get."

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2610
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2020, 06:46:26 PM »
Take-aways:

Respect the trail.

Don't overstep your experience or your ability.

Play nice with friends (or, if you do go solo, take one of those dandy Garmin thingys).

Take common-sense safety measures.

Live long and prosper.



Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Imre

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Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2020, 05:42:43 PM »
Quote
Sudden falls are a danger I dread and work hard to prevent. Two or three times while hiking I have lost my footing suddenly and slammed down hard on my side. Fortunately, it was just bruises and nothing broken.
Only did that once. After that I bought trekking poles. Hasn't happened again.
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline The Scorpion

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1998
    • My Big Bend Photos
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2020, 10:12:35 PM »
A few years ago I was hiking banta shut in with a friend and he took a stumble about 3.5 miles in from Roys Peak vista.
I was about 20 ft ahead of him and we were coming off the creek bank back down in to the creek and he tripped, I heard him scream and I turned and saw him fall head first on the rocky creek bank, his legs almost went over his head, the probably would have if not for his pack.
I dropped my pack and rushed to his side. i got him to sit up and took his pack off. I gave him a quick once over. he basically landed on the right side of his face. I check his pupils and all was ok, we waited there about 20 minutes and he said he was good to go. so we put our packs on and went at his pace. his right elbow and knee were sore.

We get to camp and rest up. he is pretty sore, but doing well, no vision problems, no head ache and his pupils were still normal, and he had all his whits about him.

I had to set up both tents, filter water and make dinner. the next morning he is very sore and having a hard time moving.
I break down camp and put all the heavy stuff in my pack so he can have a much lighter load. We made a home made sling out of a bandanna and spare boot lace, and I had to make him a make do belt from a spare boot string
SO on the hike out, it took us much longer to get back to roys peak vista as Im carrying a much heavier pack now and he is in pain while walking. a few times I had to walk ahead, drop my pack, come back for his pack and switch packs and continue on.

This was the scariest moment in all my hiking time. My first though as I saw him fall is he is going to die, then I was like do I leave him here while i hike out to get a phone call out to be rescued and hope he doesn't die while im going to get help. Its just mind boggling what goes though your head when you see something like that.

We leave the next day, I drop him off in San Antonio, he goes to the DR, gets x-rays, he fractured his elbow and tore ligaments in his knee. The Dr. said the best thing he could have done was to continue hiking that day. said if we would have stopped there for the night his knee might have been too swollen to walk on.
He hiked 10.5 miles injured (3.5 miles after the fall then 7 miles the next day) carrying  a pack in dry creek beds and un even ground.

I did post that in my trip report, but many times people miss these incidents while reading trip reports.

this pic was after the hike having ice cold Mexican Cokes at Roys Peak vista.
everything is better with bacon!!!

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

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Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 3375
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2020, 10:21:38 PM »
A few years ago I was hiking banta shut in with a friend and he took a stumble about 3.5 miles in from Roys Peak vista.
I was about 20 ft ahead of him and we were coming off the creek bank back down in to the creek and he tripped, I heard him scream and I turned and saw him fall head first on the rocky creek bank, his legs almost went over his head, the probably would have if not for his pack.
I dropped my pack and rushed to his side. i got him to sit up and took his pack off. I gave him a quick once over. he basically landed on the right side of his face. I check his pupils and all was ok, we waited there about 20 minutes and he said he was good to go. so we put our packs on and went at his pace. his right elbow and knee were sore.

We get to camp and rest up. he is pretty sore, but doing well, no vision problems, no head ache and his pupils were still normal, and he had all his whits about him.

I had to set up both tents, filter water and make dinner. the next morning he is very sore and having a hard time moving.
I break down camp and put all the heavy stuff in my pack so he can have a much lighter load. We made a home made sling out of a bandanna and spare boot lace, and I had to make him a make do belt from a spare boot string
SO on the hike out, it took us much longer to get back to roys peak vista as Im carrying a much heavier pack now and he is in pain while walking. a few times I had to walk ahead, drop my pack, come back for his pack and switch packs and continue on.

This was the scariest moment in all my hiking time. My first though as I saw him fall is he is going to die, then I was like do I leave him here while i hike out to get a phone call out to be rescued and hope he doesn't die while im going to get help. Its just mind boggling what goes though your head when you see something like that.

We leave the next day, I drop him off in San Antonio, he goes to the DR, gets x-rays, he fractured his elbow and tore ligaments in his knee. The Dr. said the best thing he could have done was to continue hiking that day. said if we would have stopped there for the night his knee might have been too swollen to walk on.
He hiked 10.5 miles injured (3.5 miles after the fall then 7 miles the next day) carrying  a pack in dry creek beds and un even ground.

I did post that in my trip report, but many times people miss these incidents while reading trip reports.

this pic was after the hike having ice cold Mexican Cokes at Roys Peak vista.

I remember that trip report!!!!!   It was terrifying.  You guys both faced the emergency like warriors.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline elhombre

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1208
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2020, 09:40:06 AM »
Our med bag:

Sam splint
Roll of Kerlix
Roll of elastic coban wrap
Sterile 4x4s
Bandaids
Clotting agent impregnated bandage
Duct tape
Triangular bandage for slings and swath
Tube of neosprorin
Tube of superglue for skin repair
Assorted drugs like Benadryl for allergic reactions,  diarrhea meds, two pain killers for pain, swelling and fever control
And each of us generally carry a tourniquet in a pants pocket.

I always figure the fastest injury that will kill someone (next to falling down a cliff) is bleeding out.  Think open fracture.  The next thought should be about splinting injuries so that you can keep a hiker moving.   Counting grams when it comes to a first aid kit is just stupid.

''Dying Aint' Much of A Livin', Boy''    Clint Eastwood
Socialism has never worked 

Seek out the facts for yourself.  Begin by using the search engine Startpage.com,  not google.

May God Bless America!

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Offline Lissa

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Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2020, 04:50:36 PM »
I always figure the fastest injury that will kill someone (next to falling down a cliff) is bleeding out.  Think open fracture.  The next thought should be about splinting injuries so that you can keep a hiker moving.   Counting grams when it comes to a first aid kit is just stupid.

''Dying Aint' Much of A Livin', Boy''    Clint Eastwood

Yup. bleeding out or collapsed lung. lots easier to manage a bleeder.

RE gram counting - I go fairly light. but umpteen years ago I took a WEMT course (4 weeks in Maine) and we did a LOT of talking, thinking about and practicing jerry-rigging medical supplies from the equipment in hand.  Actually used it to make a sling from a jacket for my kid when her school dropped the ball.  If you can think creatively you can use your existing gear pretty successfully to double for medical needs in those emergency situations.

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Offline steelfrog

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1689
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2020, 04:59:17 PM »
Something I feel like should be mentioned is training.  I see lots of people out there attempting things for the first time that they've never done anything remotely like before, i.e., no training or grossly inadequate training.

If you're going to hike 30 miles in a day with a pack, with 7k vert, you probably should train for that, at least some.  Or a lot.

Or like that time Lance forced me to carry that 40 pounds of water plus 2 full packs easily totaling over 65 pounds; my training for that was non-existent and resulted in permanent and debilitating injuries to my body.

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Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
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  • 898
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2020, 05:27:57 PM »
... and resulted in permanent and debilitating injuries to my body.
and brain..

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Offline backpacker56

  • Diamondback
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  • 253
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2020, 05:59:05 PM »
Sudden falls are a danger I dread and work hard to prevent. Two or three times while hiking I have lost my footing suddenly and slammed down hard on my side. Fortunately, it was just bruises and nothing broken.
On a recent solo off-trail backpacking trip I was coming down a dry creek bed.  I stepped up with my right foot on a basketball-sized boulder that looked sort-of ok, but it turned out to be a roller.  Reacting instantly, I picked out the best available rock for my left foot, and switched legs.  Unfortunately, this rock also was a roller.  I was now going down; the only question was how to land.  I decided, against instinct, to turn and land on my back and let the backpack absorb the punishment. 

It’s amazing how much the mind and body can do in a split second.  Somehow I managed to pull this off, turning as I fell and landing mostly on my back, a little to the left, sprawled among the jumbled boulders.  I lay still a moment, taking stock, then slowly picked myself up and limped over to a shady spot to sit down.  I felt plenty beat up, but the passing minutes brought growing relief that no serious damage was done. 

Hiking in rough country is intensely analytical.  I usually concentrate furiously on scanning the ground ahead and planning each footstep, while still managing to think of other things.  I’ve also had the trying experience of hiking with people who didn’t seem to watch where they put their feet or think a couple of steps ahead.  Accidents waiting to happen. 

But the big mystery is why, after thousands of good decisions, one makes the careless move.  In this case I had already negotiated a couple of miles of like terrain, full of rounded boulders, many of which sat proud, like an egg on a plate.  As I approached the boulder of my downfall, I distinctly remember thinking “that one might roll”, but I vetoed the warning and went ahead. 
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2610
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2020, 07:24:26 PM »
"Hiking in rough country is intensely analytical."

Amen - and that what makes it so relaxing for me.  It demands simple and complete focus on that next step. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2191
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2020, 07:48:11 PM »
"Hiking in rough country is intensely analytical."

Amen - and that what makes it so relaxing for me.  It demands simple and complete focus on that next step.

The key is picking the least worst option for that next step  ;)

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2610
Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2020, 08:30:58 PM »

When I take a foolish misstep that results in an "almost," I stop and have a "safety meeting."  I chew myself out, remind myself of the consequences, and self talk myself through getting my mind right again.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline nathanr

  • Jack Rabbit
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Re: Backpacking Injuries
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2020, 11:38:46 AM »
About 5 years ago I broke my wrist 1 full day to the nearest trail and another full day to the nearest road. I was crossing moraine at elevation at the end of the day when my pack caught on a tree between steps, twisted me around, and I fell between two boulders. It happened so fast and unexpectedly, I never saw it coming. I made a sling out of a poncho, took ibuprofen, and continued on for 5 more days. (I thought it was a sprain, and only found out the bone was broken 3 weeks later). Afterwards I realized how lucky it was my wrist and not ankle or head, so I bought and always carry an InReach now. I still carry a fairly minimal FAK – leukotape, imodium, benadryl, ibuprofen, electrolytes, scissors, tweezers, 500 ml water (in the desert), and the InReach. My thinking is this is enough to treat most injuries enough to where I can stabilize it and walk out, or treat it and keep going. The big bad rare stuff like a broken leg, broken back, severe bleeding, head injury, crushed by a rock, snake bite, alien abduction… these are all beyond my first aid skills. The best I can do is tape it up and push the button. And I still think the most dangerous part of any trip is the drive to the trail.

 


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