tirsdag den 2. april 2013

Recue mission on Combeynot

"Chris; Iben have twisted her knee!" Someone yelled. I'm at around 2900 m and breaking trail on the boot pack after it got too steep to skin. The majority of the group is about 100 m below me, around a corner. I can't see what's going on down there. Communication is difficult because of distance and terrain. Decision is easy, go down and see how bad it is.

The had started in beautiful weather at Col Du Lautaret, and we had ascended the 900 vertical m in little less the 3.5 hours earlier.
The goal was Pic Ouest de Combeynot (3145m). Our skin track had gotten gradually steeper with more frequent kick turns, before we decided to boot pack the steepest part.

 Red circle marks approx. site of accident.

Easy skinning on the lower slopes.

Steeper skinning on the upper part.

The last skinning before the boot pack. Iben reached this point, and fell and twisted her knee during the final kick turn, just behind where the guys are standing in the picture. 

Iben's knee being assessed by Rasmus (physician). Rasmus assess that the knee doesn't require hospital treatment, and we decide not to call a helicopter, but to get down on our own. 

On the upper steep slope, Iben slides on her uninjured leg. Belayed from above.

We descend approx. 160 vertical m this way, to reach a flatter plateau around 2630m.

The sliding get's difficult as the slope flattens. It is also too cold to sit directly on the snow.

We start construction a sled, to ferry Iben down the remaining 600 vertical meters.

The ski tips are lashed together with a shovel blade.

A shovel shaft is lashed to the ski tail, while a telescopic pole, lashed to the bindings, stiffens the whole construction.

Secure anchor points are needed at all corners of the sled, to attach belay ropes.

Iben rests on a pack, and gets something to eat while the sled is being built.

Sled almost finished. Only thing missing is the backpack Iben will sit on. This will be fixed between the bindings and the tails.

Ready to start the descend.

Descending the flatter part on the plateau. The two persons behind the sled provides braking and steering of the tail. The person in front steers the front end.

A third brake person is being attached for the lower steep part.

Entering the steeper part.

Ricka spots the way down. Movement across the fall line is cumbersome. We try to find as close to the fall line as direct as possible.

Descending the steeper part. The 800m descend from the accident site to the road, took little under 2.5 hours.

The group at the earlier in the day. All still standing.
Thanks to the good effort of everybody all went well. Iben flew home to Denmark a couple of days later. Wish her every luck in the rehab.

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