I'll let Michael tell the story of this outing:
It all started late Saturday afternoon while Bill and I were snowshoeing
in the Sierras at the Carson Pass near Kirkwood Ski Resort. The snowshoeing
started out great and it went well most of the day until disaster struck.
We were on our way back at nearly 9,000 feet in a very remote area
about 1.5 miles from the parking lot on Route 88 at Carson Pass. Bill
started having shortness of breath, chest tightness and pain, nausea and
he felt extremely weak. He couldn't walk 10 feet without enormous
effort. We stopped to rest hoping it was just altitude sickness but
he did not improve after 45 minutes. We were worried about darkness
approaching and at 3:40 p.m. we agreed I had to go for help. His
dog Raleigh went with me. Raleigh was a real trooper during this
whole ordeal and it was very poignant to see how worried he was when Bill
vomited. He definitely knew something was wrong. I was following
our snow tracks back but it had been a warm, sunny day and they had melted
in many spots and I managed to get lost. I'll be honest and tell
you I was more than a little worried at that point because I knew time
was not on our side. Bill had been the guide (as usual) but we didn't
have maps because we had changed our route because the planned route did
not have much snow. It took me more than an hour to get back to Route
88. But I came out of the woods 2 miles away from the lot which actually
worked out better because I was closer to a store where there was cell
reception. I flagged down a car and got a ride almost immediately
from a nice, young couple with a dog. Unfortunately, in the excitement
of loading Raleigh into a small car with another dog in it, I left my snowshoes
and poles behind (a small loss). I called 911 and soon after the
fire and sheriff personnel arrived. They were planning to hike in
to locate him and then call a helicopter to take him out. I
convinced them to let me go with the helicopter to find him and save time.
They were reluctant due to safety rules and previous times when people
I rode with the emergency helicopter
and we located Bill (not an easy task without a map and 1,000 feet above
ground) within 10 minutes of takeoff. And Bill, being the savvy out-doorsman
he is , helped enormously by reflecting a mirror when he heard the helicopter.
We landed and 2 great looking nurses named Kelly and Jenny gave him
emergency treatment (nitroglycerin spray, oxygen and IV fluids). We
loaded him onto the helicopter (Bill, it's time to lose some weight) within
2.5 hours from when I left him. It turns out Bill had a heart attack,
not a major attack (but then again that's easy for me to say). In
fact he did not think it was an MI when it occurred but he had 2 stents
implanted Saturday night.
I don't have too much to add. I never felt I was in any danger, aside from danger of staying the night out in the cold.
I'm doing well now (upcoming posts will reveal that I'm back out on the trails). Mostly coming to grips with the fact that I maybe can't wander wherever I want in the mountains by myself. That's a bummer.
Hike totals: 4 mi, 1500' elevation gain
2007 totals: 149 miles, 32, 800' elevation gain