Injured Skier at Castle Peak
TNSAR search 3/22/03

Injured Skier at Castle Peak

View accounts or the Mar 22 SAR written by members of the rescued party:
    NICOLE's account (the subject of the search).
    Amy's account.
    Chris' account.

At 9:15 pm Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team was called out to assist with the rescue of an injured backcountry skier near Castle Peak. Nevada County Search and Rescue and Donner Summit Fire Dept had been unable to reach the subject, though they had been in radio contact with her via an FRS radio and had a pretty good idea where she was- high up in the bowl above the Peter Grubb Hut, near the ridge between Castle Peak and Basin Peak. Two TNSAR snowmobilers were also already in the area and had radio contact, but were unsure of their position relative to the subject.

She apparently had an injured hip and was in some pain, but was with friends and in stable condition. A storm had been coming in and was intensifying through the evening, with wet snow at the trailhead and high winds and blowing snow at higher elevations.

6 skiers, 6 snowmobilers, and 3 snowcats responded and at about 10:30 were at the trailhead. Two snowcats and the skiers got up to "Saddle Horn" past Castle Pass by about 11:15, where they met snowmobilers, who were bringing in the breakaway Cascade sled. The 6 skiers then skinned up in the direction they had been told the victim was and reached her and her friends at about midnight.

The subject's friends had done an excellent job of stabilizing and warming her--she had been there since about 4:30 in the afternoon. After an assessment, TNSAR skiers loaded her in the sled for the pull out.

Blowing snow had already covered the tracks made by the team on their approach, and on an almost constant 20-25 degree side hill the pull out was strenuous, but the subject was tough and uncomplaining. At about 1:30 the sled rendezvoused with a snowcat and the patient was loaded in the back, with a Donner Summit Fire paramedic for the ride out. They were at the trailhead at 2:15, where an ambulance transported her to Tahoe Forest Hospital.

After the subject was handed off to the snowcat, two skiers and two snowmobilers escorted her friends down to the Peter Grubb Hut, where they were spending the night. At this time it was realized that the two TNSAR snowmobilers who had been in radio contact with the victim earlier, would need assistance getting out, so two skiers and two snowmobilers headed out to give them a hand. The snowmobilers were able to locate them and get them headed in the right direction, through some rough terrain.

Everyone was out of the woods at the trailhead at 4:35am.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Snowmobiles Skiers Snow Cat Donner Summit Fire
Fred Carey Jackie Thomas
Marty Schoonmaker
Kathy King
Larry Clarke
Barry Bettman
Brian Devore
Bill Koplin
Ray O’Brien
Al Whisler
Rusty Lindsey
Scott Baumgardner
Peter York
Peter Sporleder
Bernie Mellor
Dirk Schoonmaker
Sarah Lagano
Mark Johnson
Scoop Remenih
Dave Gleske
Tony Bochene
Steve Lieberman
John Journey
Todd Tremble
Naman Beattie
Patrick Campbell