This accident has been adapted from Accidents in North American Climbing 2021. The accident was real. The discussion of actions is a hypothetical exercise to review wilderness medicine practices and critical thinking in emergencies.
Throughout this case study, I’ll indicate the scene and what happen in italics. Questions for the reader to consider before moving on are underlined. Everything else will be a discussion of wilderness medicine practices.
In this incident, there are two people headed out to explore potential boulders to climb. It is March in the Pacific Northwest, so we can envision a lush, wooded area, with a fair bit of weather swings. This was during the pandemic, and thus they were trying to be socially responsible by avoiding crowded areas. In their exploration they used creek beds and erosion pathways to hike off trail. The incident took place on their descent which was returning the same way they had hiked earlier.