Thursday, September 14, 2006

from “Rescue on Mt. St. Elias
---We were throwing our packs of medical gear and mustang suits in the corner when a couple of local EMTs and the town's physician’s assistant (the town has no doctor) came into the lounge and spoke with us. They gave us some antibiotics and betadine solution. Andy took the antibiotics while I found a waste basket, inserted a new plastic trash bag, filled it with warm water and betadine, and placed Andy's feet in it (they were badly blistered). Andy then commenced to eat about four hundred hamburgers.
---By 9:00 p.m.
the wind had picked up and rain was pounding the little airport. It flowed in sheets across the tarmac as two C-130s landed. One carried a mountain climbing team from Juneau, and the other had a team from Anchorage (475 miles away from the other direction). The lounge filled up quickly as about a dozen rescuers burst in the door, dripping and sputtering. Pretty soon the corner containing our gear filled up with packs,bundles of ropes, ice axes, crampons, and coats. As the rescue crews milled around looking for dinners and drinks, the locals began drifting out.
---One of the Juneau
climbers was Dick Rice, an EMT-3 from the Juneau Fire Department. He recognized me and came over to introduce himself. We talked for a while and I explained Grove's condition to him. I then introduced him to Rick and explained the standard EMS protocol, that since Dick was qualified in more advanced care than I (I was an EMT-II at the time), that Dick would be in charge of patient care when Grove was reached. Incidentally, Dick Rice, a bit of a climbing celebrity himself, was mentioned in a 1985 National Geographic article about the St. Elias Range.