This is a pretty basic, unexciting trip report¹. Too bloody swamped with work to write a lot of details of a lot of things. However, I did cover the accident at Seneca in more detail (mainly because I wrote up another write-up on that and included most of it in).
Phil Sidel had contacted me more than a month ago (good timing! wait much longer and I prolly would have had the weekend booked) about coming out to Seneca to help with the POC's Seneca Climbing Weekend. I said sure,I've been wanting to get back out to Seneca (haven't been there since last Oct!), so made plans to come out. I informed Phil that Fabrizia Guglielmetti would be coming with me, and we could take 1-2 other people with us (I intended to climb easy stuff, let Bri lead, and then could monitor her progress as well as any non-multi-pitch experienced people we were teamed up with).
Friday night came and having already packed the night before, Bri and I drove out. We got there a little late (after 9:30p) and to our surprise, did not find any real evidence of a POC camp set up. I remembered from last year how many people were there and how busy camp was so early, so was surprised we didn't see any tents set up. We drove around the Princess Snowbird campgrounds for a bit, then I found a large van with Pennsylvania license plates and parked next to it. Moments later Mark 'Aqua' Neubauer and Merle Reinhart pulled in. Moments later the rest of the main POC group showed up. Keen; we were in the right spot.
Picked out a test site, set the tent up and then socialized with some of people I knew from previous years (Jamie, Dave, etc). Bri went to grab a hot shower (wait, there were hot showers?!? argh!) and then retired. I followed on shortly her heels (but not before I wandnered over to check out the teepees - which are basically cabins in the shape of American Indian teepees! complete with interior lighting fixtures and all; prolly cost an arm and a leg to stay in, too).
Saturday morning I awoke an hour before my alarm went off. Bri and I had made plans with Merle and George and Bill and Aqua to go to breakfast first thing in the morning, then let the air warm up a bit before heading up to the rocks to climb (spent too many freezing and chilly mornings climbing there, so decided it would be nice to take a leisurely start this time). It had been chilly that night, but was in NO way as cold as it was 2 weekends prior when I was camped out south of Elkins, taking the NCRC's Orientation to Cave Rescue course (take it if you cave much!). Finally arising out of the tent we checked in with Jamie and Dave to see how teams were going to be assigned. Dana and Jon were assigned to my team, and other people were assigned to other leaders. But this year we seemed to have a surplus of leaders; George and Bill, and Merle, did not have people assigned to them (well, George's team may have, but I'm under the impression they weren't). Bri was interested in climbing easy stuff, to practice leading today. Dana and Jon were already experienced with multi-pitch (even if just a few times), so getting to the South Peak was not a primary goal. Climbing was the primary goal. So after an unusually quick breakfast at the 4-Ever, I asked Bri and Merle if they wanted to team up. That way they could take their time, do easy stuff if they want, and if they got in over their heads, Merle could get them out and back onto easier terrain. I knew Bri would be comfortable with Merle, as he was the first person she had gone leading with. And I could take Dana and Jon on something a little harder if they wanted.
Dana, Jon, and I went over to the parking lot and got our gear together. Since we were only three, we only needed my two ropes (if we would have been four we would have needed a third rope, which I didn't have with me). Then we huffed it up in the ever-warming temps to the North Peak. The plan for today: start off on Rox Salt (a pleasant little 5.7), then top-rope Really Flakey (5.8) and Sally's Peril (5.5) for a bit, giving Dana and Jon three new routes at Seneca, and me my first lead (even if on a 5.7) for the season. We got there and saw a couple of people leading The Great Imposter, a really nice-looking 5.9 to the right of where we were going to climb. So, since all three of us were in 'relax mode', we watched them climb for a while. Two other guys showed up and wanted to do Rox Salt just as we were getting geared up. Since they were climbing through to the 2nd pitch, and we were planning on setting up a tr, we let them go first. Finally they were done. I re-geared up and got all set to climb...only to realize that my climbing shoes were NOwhere to be found! We searched all over; no shoes. Dammit! Hopefully they were still down IN the car, not sitting outside of it (and subsequently decided to walk away). I thought about borrowing Jon's shoes, just to do the lead to set up a tr, but...he wears shoes that are far, far smaller than the pain tolerance of my feet. Looked like I was running back downhill...
Stripping gear off I quickly showed Dana and Jon the basics of gear placement, so they could have SOMEthing to do for the hour+ I would be gone (grumble, mutter, can't believe I did this, mutter, grumble). Then I took off. Dan and Brigitte were climbing I think Roux off to our left; Dan saw Jon with my rack and thought Jon was getting ready to do some leading.
Blasting up the 'trail' I came upon a group of people top-roping on the Disease Wall. I thought they were POC but wasn't sure; I didn't recognize any faces in there. There was one girl who had dislocated her shoulder and a couple guys gently working on her. I asked if they needed help or anything, but they said it was okay; she apparently popped her shoulder out originally when she was 11 or 12 yrs old, and now it comes out at times. Bummer for her, man. :-/ Well, there wasn't anything I could do to help, so I continued down the trail to the car.
Half-walking, half-jogging I made it down pretty quickly. I found my rock shoes buried in the chaos that my trunk had become that morning. Great! Now I had to haul my sorry butt back up the hill again. This was the part I wasn't looking forward to...
About half an hour later I had made it. Beat tired, no doubt. It was a bit after 1pm. As I passed by the Disease Wall, I noticed that all the ropes were still up...but no one was around. Wierd. And bloody trusting. I figured they were all having lunch up on the summit, and the thought of food spurred me back to Dana and Jon, where my lunch was waiting.
There I took a break for a bit to eat and drink. I was tarhd. Dana and Jon were hiding in the shade, having had too much sun. We finished eating and then I re-geared up to climb. Dan came passed us to go back to the base of Roux to get his and Brigitte's stuff. He said Brigitte was still up on the summit, coiling ropes, and would be back soon. I concnetrated on setting up a belay anchor for Jon to tie into before I started up (I didn't think I'd fall, but ya know, always a good idea when you can to set an anchor). I had almost set it when someone else called down from higher up the trail, looking for Dan. The guy said that Brigitte wanted Dan to come back because someone fell. The guy was so non-chalant and his voice so unconcerned that at first I thought it was the girl with a dislocated shoulder he was talking about, then thought maybe a hiker had gone past the warning sign "you are now entering the realm of the climber!" and had slipped on the summit, fell and twisted an ankle or something. Nothing life-threatening. I actually ignored this at first. He called down to Dan again, said someone fell. Then somethhing rang wrong. I asked the guy if he knew what had happened. He had no information whatsoever. None. Nada. Nothing. This wasn't good; if it was the girl with the dislocated shoulder or a tripped and ankle-twisted hiker, he should have known something. But to know nothing....
I stripped of my gear (well, everything except the lead rack) and had Jon follow me. If this was indeed a true emergency, he would have to come back to get Dana and all the gear. I dashed quickly (while trying not to run; bad to run to the scene of an accident, ya know) to the summit area. I saw a couple of hikers I saw on the trail earlier sitting around taking in sun. But...no one else. The Disease Wall ropes were still there, but no one was around. Wierd!
Then I spied them; a group of people over on the west side under a clump of trees. They were rigging ropes; one or two people were talking on cell phones. The scene wasn't frantic, and actually kinda relaxed. But there obviously was something going on. I went over and started asking questions, to find how what had happened.
Most of the group there were POCers; another trio of guys were helping out (they, it turned out, were three police officers from Newark, Ohio). The situation was that someone had fallen in the No Dally Alley chimney (bad; yellow alert). His condition was unknown, but he was unconscious (red alert!). It wasn't known exactly WHERE he was below, nor how many people there were already down there. All that was known (I spoke mostly with a guy named Andy) was that it was HARD to hear the people in the chimney, so getting information from them was difficult at best.
Looking around I saw Brigitte and Matt and a bunch of other POCers sitting there expectantly. The sun was shining brightly, the day was warm. The South Peak was a small beehive of climbers. And there was somebody below us badly hurt. In the chimney. Where it was cold. I spontaneously took initiative and decided that I would probably be rappelling down into the crack (if worse came to worse I could at least lend a hand with the extraction; I didn't take that basic cave rescue course 2 weeks prior for nothing!). The first rope we dropped didn't quite reach (bugger!). The second rope, two ropes tied together for a double-rope rap, reached easily. I had clipped into the directional anchor earlier. Now I set an autoblock (learn it, love it!) and then put myself on rappel. I borrowed Andy's helmet (stupidly I left mine back with my stuff) and Brigitte's prussiks (which were Dan's, actually). Dan had shown up at this point. I got some sweaters from a couple of people, and some water from Brigitte (if only for the rescuers to drink and to wash any open wounds of the fallen climber). Someone from the South Peak called over to ask if we needed any assistance. I seemed to somehow found myself kinda in charge at the moment and yelled back yes, we'll need people to help carry the guy out (within half an hour most of the South Peak had cleared of climbers).
Leaning back I could now see into the chimney. There were three people below and to my left about 30': one shirtless guy, one other climber, and someone sprawled on the rocks between them. I informed them I was coming down. Dan had given me his two-way radio he had used when climbing with Brigitte so it would be easier to communicate with people up top here. He then dashed off to get his stuff. I instructed that someone else needed to run down to the Gendarme and summon help (I was told by the people trying to use cell phones that they could not get out; they either could not get a signal or were disconnected moments after acquiring a signal). And someone had to go get Dana and get my stuff (I didn't have a lot, but my fleece and water and helmet were there and MAYbe they could be of some use). Having been involved in a rescue at Seneca before, combined with the cave rescue course exercises, I knew it was going to take more than a few people to evacuate the injured guy below. I asked for anyone who would be willing to follow me down later to stand by until needed. The three guys from Ohio and a few of the POCers were ready. Then, being careful to not dislodge any of the myriad of loose stones on the ledge I was standing on, I stepped back and rapped down.
The chimney is quite narrow, being formed by a huge detached flake off of the North Peak rocks' West Face. From the road and parking lot below you cannot tell this exists. But it is here. And the rappel down was fun (okay, not really). The auto-block allowed me to stop periodically and take stock of the situation, and should I have needed it, would allow me to go 'hands free' from the rappel and not worry about having anyone below give me a fireman's belay.
Once down I introduced myself to the two guys who were there and told them my training (first aid, cpr, cave rescue, self-rescue), and asked what i could do to help. The shirtless guy was Chris, the fallen climber's partner. Chris' shirt was on the fallen climber to help keep him warm a little. I took off the sweaters I brought down and handed them to the other guy (who was closer to me han Chris; Chris was on the far side of the fallen climber to me). The other guy (just mentioned) was Aaron (if I remember correctly). He had been climbing nearby and responded with a couple other people to the scene as soon as they could. I was the next to arrive. Aaron was monitoring the fallen climber's vitals. I took notes. It was now minutes past 2pm. I called up to Brigitte to advise them of the situation; Aaron asked for a thermarest to put underneath the patient. Aaron was trained similarly as I: first aid, cpr, cave rescue (same course a year earlier). I asked Brigitte to send a thermarest or ANYthing like that down with Dan once he got back.
The patient. Looking at the patient he was in a bad way. Aaron had performed a head-to-toe already and found no broken bones. Aaron said the spine appeared to be good, was lined up straight, as was the neck. But neither of us felt comfortable moving him. The patient (whose name I was given as Dave, and would later learn was Bruce; Dave was prolly his nickname) was laying face-up but head-down on an incline on the floor of the chimney. The width of the chimney was barely 3-4 feet wide at its widest. Two people passing each other in here was difficult (often when this happened I usually climed up a bit so they could go under). There were some scratches on his leg, but that was it. For his body...
Dave's head, on the other hand, was a bloody mess. Skip this paragraph if you don't want to read. The left side of his head was swollen heavily; his left eye swollen shut. His right eye was open and dead-looking. I sugggested to Aaron to close it, but he was reluctant to, given the bits of grit and dirt on the eyeball. I thought about washing it with some water, but wasn't sure if this would be a good thing or not. They never told us what we're to do in first aid class when this situation happens (I'll ask next time). Blood had pooled and was still accumulating in Dave's right ear. It was also bubbling from his nose when he breathed. His breathing was steady but labored (inhaling seemed okay; exhaling was extremely forced). He had a steady pulse. Reluctant to move him, we just hovered and kept talking to him.
As Dan came down I went to check the status of the ropes being rigged, ~100' away at the mouth of the chimney. We were going to have to rappel him down a 40-50' cliff face in the basket when it got up to us (and this wasn't going to be easy). Things looked in hand there. When Dan came down I briefed him on the status of the patient. I didn't know Dan's training, but he was a med student, and so I presumed he knew a bit more about the proper procedures than I did (I was running up against the limit of my knowledge base: broken leg/arm, sure, splint it; lacerations and cuts like that, no problem; head wounds??).
Background information, pre-accident. As I got from Chris (and others got the same from various individual conversations with him), he and Dave were looking to do some easy climbs that day. It was Chris' fourth time out ever; Dave apparently had been climbing for 2-3 years (but Chris could not accurately judge how experienced Dave was, since Dave was that much better than Chris; Chris said he had climbed out in Colorado for a while, so I figured that Dave at the very least had a clue). Anyway, finding all the easy routes on the South Peak taken they headed into the No Dally Alley chimney to look for something (coincidentally enough, an hour or two before the accident they spoke to three guys in the Gunsight for a while - these would be the same three non-POCers who were waiting for me up top to give the signal to come down - and they had no idea who it was that had fallen). Dave had started to solo up the chimney, but got uncomfortable and asked Chris to throw him a rope. Chris did and suggested Dave to come down if he wasn't feeling solid. Dave tied in and moved up a bit. He started to complain he couldn't find any place to put gear. Chris said to come down then, but Dave quickly found a spot for a medium cam and plugged it in. He moved up a few moves past the cam and complained about there being no place for more gear (I hate chimneys, too, actually). Then suddenly he was falling. Chris locked him off and felt the rope go taut for a moment, then suddenly slack: Dave's piece had stripped out! Dave scremmed and continued falling, bounding off the walls of the chimney on the way down. He was unconscious upon hitting the ground.
Within the first half hour of my arriving on the scene, a handful of other climbers shown up. One was an experienced search&rescue guy. I brief him as to what had been going on and he, with Dan, kinda looked after the patient for a while. The rope Dave had tied into was still attached to his harness, so that was removed in order to use is for a belay of the litter when it finally got up to us. I left the chimney to check on the progress of the ropes being set for rappel, as well as see if I could get news about where the litter was at. Life Flight had flown in and was landing in a cleared area of grass down in the valley below, waiting for us to get the patient out and down. The search&rescue guy had come back out and went down the ropes to see how things were going below. And at some point along this I found myself back in with the patient and Chris alone...this was about a half hour after I arrived. And Dave, our patient, started having troubles breathing. First he would inhale........
.....then he would exhale forcefully. Or he would exhale......
...then inhale again. As he WAS still breathing, rescue breathing and CPR were not options. Chris and I both yelled at him to keep breathing normally (whether or not he could hear us, even unconscious, is up for speculation), and after a bit he started to breathe 'normally' again. I went out to the ropes to get Dan back there with him.
About 15-20 minutes later (right around 3pm) the litter basket arrived. I had the guys who were waiting up top to rap down; we'd need them now. Four or five people came down the rappel, last to arrive was Matt. I grabbed everyone's packs as they came down to move them out of the way because we'd need to make room to bring the litter out (no good tripping over packs you can't see in the middle of the narrow confines of the chimney trying to carry some huge guy out of there!). I also got to work on clearing the larger rocks out of the way (no sense in knocking them down onto the people below us as we got the litter out and were moving around).
As I was getting packs sent down to the base of the cliff and rocks moved out of the way, a cry came from inside the chimney that Dave had stopped breathing. An urgent request for a breather came immediately after that. I had already started back to see what, if any, help I could be, but I quickly realized I couldn't get back through the mass of 8 or so people already back there. I turned and dashed to the mouth of the chimney and started plowing through the bulky and large first aid bag that had come up with the litter from the Gendarme. Unfortunately there wasn't one in there. I looked twice. It didn't appear.
Abandoning all extraction 'techniques' inside the chimney, a hasty decision had been made to just drag the litter to the mouth of the chimney where CPR could be performed. Dave now had no pulse. Two people (I don't remember who) suddenly started dragging the now ~300 lbs litter (the man was huge! and the litter not exactly light) out. Everyone between them and the entrance to the chimney scrambled quickly out of the way. I leaped onto a ledge and the litter stopped directly below me.
It is an unfortunate testimony of our time that people aren't immediately willing to drop to their knees and begin rescue breathing for someone who has a blood-covered face, but this has some serious validity, considering the number of potentially deadly blood-transmitted diseases around now. I started to weigh the consequences about this (sad that I actually stopped to think about this) but Chris the partner, untrained in CPR, went to the aid of his friend and began rescue breathing. Eric, one of the cops from Ohio who had come down when I called for them, began chest compressions. Several other people shouted to Eric that if he got tired they were ready to jump in and take over. I know CPR, too, and everything I have learned every year for the past 10+ came back in a flood. But I didn't yell to Eric, either. I knew he was concentrating hard and that I would just be a distraction. In addition, there were already several other people ready to leap in; I could hold myself in reserve if needed. So I watched. And learned. And all I will say is that simulations on dummies are nothing to what happens for real. I won't describe it. The unstaring eye was bad enough.
After about 10 or so minutes of this (time flew) the oxygen and a breather finally made it up to us. This was strapped to Dave's face, but it did little good. We now had a choice: continue CPR until Dave responded (I had been taught in my series of CPR classes that unlike on TV, it is rare that a patient will respond to CPR; CPR is only to keep oxygen going to the brain. Other, more drastic measures, are typically necessary to bring the patient back again), or get him down now. It was decided to get him started down, doing CPR at convenient rest stops. The basket was turned and hooked up to a rap line. And away he went, accompanied by two climbers, and others following.
At this point I was starting to wind down. I knew there was nothing else I could do. The South Peak was almost devoid of climbers; practically everyone had come down who could to help with the evacuation. Having me down there would just add to the confusion on the steep terrain that they still had to get the litter through. And by the time I would have gotten down there the litter would no doubt be moving away. So I decided to rest a bit, clean up the gear left behind, and go out with the partner (he was in shock, and was going to need at least one person to walk out with).
The aftermath of this all was solemn and quiet. I spoke with the guys from Ohio a bit, then rapped down with a bunch of gear. I started trying to keep track of everything (whose pack was where, etc), but things quickly got picked up by the right people. Chris finally came down with Matt, fireman belayed from below (and everyone knocked rocks down when they rapped down; there is a LOT of loose rock up there at the mouth of the chimney). Most people just hung around a while, winding down, eating a little or drinking. I had no food, but my water bottle and fleece jacket had thankfully come down with one of the people who had rapped in from the top, so I could at least drink (finished it) and keep warm. It was late in the afternoon now.
Chris was in shock over it all. He was in denial, trying to believe that by some miracle his buddy, best friend, and recent roommate, would pull through. But he also felt that Dave was dead; he told me what he 'felt' while doing rescue breaths, and it was sad. I stayed with him the rest of the way out. We talked some, walked in silence mostly.
On the way out we encountered people wrapping it up for the day. Most were taking down or had already taken down the ropes they had contributed to the rescue effort. As we walked out we nodded to them, thanked them for helping. At our feet on the rocks were splatters of blood. I tried to imagine how they got the litter through some of the areas they did higher up on Seneca. I half wished I would have been there to learn that better, but I didn't beat myself up over it. My current responsibility was to see Chris got down okay.
We eventually reached the road. As we appeared on the trail above Dave's body was put in a bag and loaded into the ambulance. A large number of climbers were clustered around in small and large groups, talking quietly amongst themselves. A sheriff was taking names of people who had been exposed to Dave's blood "just in case". A state trooper was there taking statements from people. Coincidentally enough, this was the same state trooper whom I had met 5 years before on the last rescue I had helped out on at Seneca. He recognized me after a while, said we had to stop meeting like this. Yeah, better circumstances would be nicer.
We gave our statements. I wrote mine up for the trooper while he talked to others. I don't know why, he had asked only me to write my statement up while he interviewed the other people. When I was done he read it over with a practiced eye, then looked at me and said, "You've done this before, haven't you?" I said no, never filled out one of these forms, but I have been on a couple rescues and have taken some courses (this was when he recognized me from 5 years prior).
Finishing our statements I and a couple Swedish guys living in the DC/B'more area walked Chris out and back to Yokum's where he was staying at the hotel downtown. He was planning on driving home to the Eastern Shore in Virginia after taking a quick shower and calling his wife. He had a 7 hour drive ahead of him. I wish I would have gotten his phone number to call and make sure he made it okay; he was pretty out, but determined to go home, anyway.
I stopped by the Gendarme quickly to return the first aid bag I had been hauling around since leaving the NDA chimney. John Markwell was there and said, "Involved in another one, eh?" Yeah, but a bummer about the ending.
At this point I breeezed through the restaurant atop of Harper's General Store. Therein I saw George and Bill, Phil, Mark/Aqua, Chris, and others. I gave them all a quick run-down as to what had happened. Phil was stunned to hear it was a climber, a roped climber; he had heard it was a hiker who fell in.
After a quick run through the restaurant I walked back to my car, wondered how Bri and Merle faired. I saw Jon and Dana in the restaurant, along with most everyone else, but no Bri or Merle. I wondered if they had headed back to camp to clean up, and wondered if they knew about or were involved in the rescue any. Getting back to the car I saw them there de-gearing. They had had a great day of easy climbing, and were just getting down now (it was just past sunset). We talked for a while, then went to town to get some dinner. After that, back to camp. Bri turned in early, beat tired from all the fun she had. I was going to follow, but ended up talking with a bunch of different people about the course of events that had happened that day. In addition, we had an impromptu celebration of Phil Sidel's birthday (which would be on monday). I've known the man for I don't know how many years; now I finally knew when his birthday was. :)
It grew late. Even later now that daylight savings time was upon us (don't let me get started about DST). I changed my watch and went to bed.
Sunday morning came early. Well, naturally; we got up an hour earlier than we normally would have. A quick breakfast of some italian pudding/custard that Bri had made for us a couple days before hit the spot. Some milling about camp occurred afterwards. Some people wanted to go climb. Some people were done for the weekend (the events of yesterday damping the spirits of many). I was of a mood to cave, or climb, or hike, but then again, not do any of them. My heart just wasn't into doing anything. But I didn't want to do nothing. So after much debate we decided to head down to Nelson Rocks. Never been there before, thought it'd be keen to check out at least once. I had gotten a guide from someone at the cave rescue course two weeks earlier, so had an idea of what was there. In addition to that, the approach was far shorter than to Seneca. And the skies were threatening to rain. Getting stuck up on Seneca in the rain...well, been there before. In warmer weather. Merle was going to accompany Bri and I. Aqua and Bob were going to go top-rope Castor & Pollux, but then opted to come with us. A few of the POCers were going to follow after breakfast (but we never did see them again; I can only assume they got hit with a localized rain shower and decided against coming).
We went down and found the place quickly enough. The five of us hiked in; no one else was evident in the only parking area around. Unfortunately when we neared the trailhead, we saw an SUV parked along the side of the road (in the 'no parking' area; note, at Nelson Rocks there is a parking area about a 5 minute walk away from the rocks, and it is requested you park nowhere else; sad to see this was being flagrantly ignored, since this is one of many ways places get closed down; but anyway, no more preaching...). We went up the trail and tried to get our bearings. There were four climbers already there - and it was quickly apparent they were on ALL the climbs we were thinking to do. Bummer. Well, we went around the corner and played on some stuff over there. After scouting some things out, Aqua and Bob decided to tackle a bolted 5.10 called Dominion. They at first tried to lead out to it by traversing high, but this was not going to be a good option and backed off. In the meantime Merle did a quick lead up a 5.2 called Mountain Dew. There he set a top-rope at the bolted rap anchors. There were two sets of rap anchors there: one over the 5.4, one over the 5.6. Merle set the rope on the 5.4 anchors; we figured we could do all three routes from there. I went up and cleaned his gear, just to get SOME climbing in that day (I had to do it in Tevas, though; left my shoes at my pack around the corner; no matter, it was 'only' 5.2, and I was essentially on a top-rope - but man, the rock was slippery!).
After this it started to rain a bit, lightly. First just a little, then stop. But after a while a steady drizzle had set itself in. Almost everything (except Dominion) got wet. Merle was going to take his rope down, but I wanted to try the 5.6 route (Sidwell). I went up it; wasn't the nicest. It was okay. We understood why there were seperate anchors for that route, though (wouldn't've mattered as much if it were dry, but wet...). I went up partly to climb SOMEthing this weekend, and partly to see the potentials for pro placements (not many). Bri decided not to climb that day. After all, she had just climbed her heart out the day before; time for a break. We watched Aqua and Bob work the 5.10 real hard, dogging it all the way, switching leads after getting to each bolt, then we left for the drive home. Out 33 to Harrisonburg, where we stopped to eat something. THen on the road again and somehow one of my tires suffered damage and began leaking air. But we didn't know. 15 or so miles later the car was vibrating like mad. One more mile I made it to an offramp and parked at the first spot I found (a mini park-n-ride). We both got out and Bri noticed the right passenger rear tire was....flat. Oh joy.
Changing it proved to be an adventure, too, as one of the lug nuts and studs fused together and refused to seperate, effectively trapping the tire on the car. A walk to a local garage which was fortunately still open for another 10 minutes brough a mechanic out to bust the stud off the tire. Gave him $20 for his troubles. We put on the spare, went to get more air, then took the slow way home. What normally would have been a 3-1/2 to 4 hour drive turned into an 8-1/2 hour marathon. We got back to B'moreland really really late.
And that was that. Weekend over. Unfortunately I did not get to climb with Jon and Dana; I hope they got to climb a little sunday before the rains moved in.
However, the coronor's report also indicated that Dave had Hep B, so anyone who touched any of his blood w/out any protection (such as rubber or plastic gloves) was immediately at risk of infection. :-(