Lucky to be alive! Alaska Elk

OP
WyoArk

WyoArk

FNG
Joined
Jun 5, 2022
Messages
72
Glad you made it out man!
I think about footing, slope, etc sometimes and have to focus on what’s most important in life. Family, friends. I’m not a guy that’s going climbing cliffs without a rope for example.
You are a wise man!
 

Aggie007

FNG
Joined
Sep 11, 2023
Messages
11
Thank you for sharing your story and glad you are okay. You have a lot of hunting season left so hopefully you capitalize on a solid harvest!
 

Wolfxx5

FNG
Joined
Oct 24, 2023
Messages
27
Location
AK
Crazy hunting story that you’ll always have now. Glad you made it out okay. As someone who used to live in Idaho and did my fair share of elk hunting there but living in Alaska now, I think I’ll just make the trip back to hunt Rocky Mountain elk. I’ve contemplated hunting elk up here but it just doesn’t seem like the trouble haha
 

WyoKid

WKR
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
315
It is easy for things to go from great to bad in a second. Glad you didn't get seriously hurt.

I leaned that when going down a slide or cliff, never follow directly in line of the leader and if in the lead, have the follower off set to the right or left (or wait until I reach a flat area before heading down).
 
OP
WyoArk

WyoArk

FNG
Joined
Jun 5, 2022
Messages
72
It is easy for things to go from great to bad in a second. Glad you didn't get seriously hurt.

I leaned that when going down a slide or cliff, never follow directly in line of the leader and if in the lead, have the follower off set to the right or left (or wait until I reach a flat area before heading down).
Sound advice sir, but there was no left or right in this circumstance. This was a one way street all the way down. It’s hard to put this terrain into words. I’m sure there are other places just as bad, but I have never hunted them.

This was a rouge boulder that the 20 plus inches of rain washed down.

This was truly a freak accident. My buddy was nowhere close to this boulder. I had most likely loosened it when I climbed around it a minute or so before.

Before the crazy rain that we had, this was just a really steep stream. After it had rained the way it did, it was a raging torrent of water. Words can’t really describe how steep and dangerous/stupid it was to attempt descending this was without rock climbing gear.

Looking back, we should have left that bull and found another one! Those are words I have never spoken.
 
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WyoKid

WKR
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
315
i understand. It was not any criticism that anyone did anything wrong. I had somewhat of a similar situation on a sheep hunt chasing some sheep on a knife ridge that was just as steep. I was below the ridge on the other side of the sheep and had to pass in front of a large boulder. There was no other way around it and it looked like a killer - that is what I literally thought as I looked at it and saw there was no way around it. I had second thoughts about letting the Ram go but figured I could be very careful and not touch the rock at all. I didn't touch it but as I was waking by it, some rocks under my feet shifted and slid down hill, which broke the boulder loose. It nearly crushed me and clipped my back heel as it rolled past me. I didn't catch up to the sheep but definitely learned that there are some risks that are not worth taking. Glad you were not seriously hurt and were able to make it out to tell the story.
 
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JCS271

FNG
Joined
Aug 6, 2023
Messages
65
Location
Montana Territory
"Somehow, we managed to hike the 700 yards back out of the shoot. We got on the inreach and contacted our pilot.
He’s on a parts run out of town, so he gives us search and rescues contact. We can’t add contacts from the bush, so I had to message my wife and have her contact search and rescue."


Not an insignificant issue and one of several reasons I chose the Zoleo over the Garmin. Something to consider for those shopping for a satellite messenger. The ease of communicating on the Zoleo is nearly as simple as texting.
 

The Guide

WKR
Joined
Aug 20, 2023
Messages
352
Location
Montana
"Somehow, we managed to hike the 700 yards back out of the shoot. We got on the inreach and contacted our pilot.
He’s on a parts run out of town, so he gives us search and rescues contact. We can’t add contacts from the bush, so I had to message my wife and have her contact search and rescue."


Not an insignificant issue and one of several reasons I chose the Zoleo over the Garmin. Something to consider for those shopping for a satellite messenger. The ease of communicating on the Zoleo is nearly as simple as texting.
I have added contacts to my inReach Mini 2 from both my phone and using the Mini itself without any service. Not sure where this is coming from.

Jay
 

FairWeatherFisher

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Apr 1, 2023
Messages
108
Location
Eugene, OR
Yikes, what a time!
Good reminder of why I never want to hunt that hard. No animal is worth endangering my life over it.

Glad you’re on the mend.
 
Joined
Nov 12, 2023
Messages
4
3 days ago I came as close as I ever have to losing my life. I was on the infamous Alaska archery elk hunt. Me and my buddy both trained for 11 months. Not typical training, I mean running two half marathons a week, endless leg days. You get the picture. I am 40 and he is 36. We both have been at this for many years.

Our gear was dialed. Looking back at our load out, it was perfect. We had all the things. I wouldn’t change a thing. We were good for 14 days easily. We probably could have stretched it out to 17 or 18.

The only sunlight we saw, was the day we arrived. We’re were able to establish our base camp above the very formidable jungle. Had a seek outside hot tent and a seek titanium wood stove, so we just dug in.

It rained for a solid 4 days and 5 nights.We sat in the tent and played it safe. Heavy rain and zero visibility above the alpine. We knew better than to make a big maneuver in that crap. No visibility at all.

Day 5, the rain breaks in the morning, but the cloud was still stuck on top of the mountain we really wanted to hunt/spot. We opted to throw the Katoola’s on and head to the highest vantage point we could glass and not be fogged out.

It paid off.

I spotted a herd bull and 9 or 10 cows, 2000 feet below us.
Since we couldn’t see the alpine for the fog,We decided that we would try to make a play. We Dont leave elk to find elk! The rain was going to come back in for another 5 or 6 day round, and this was our only chance for who knows how long.

The problem was, that the entire basin was cliffed out. I mean you need repelling equipment or a parachute to get to the valley.

The only way down was 1500 vertical feet over 700 yards. It is straight down an avalanche shoot. This is a jagged Boulder field between two mountains with a raging creek in the bottom.

We had made it to the last 40 yard section of the shoot. The elk are within 200 yards of us by now.
This last 40 yards is extremely technical. This is where it went bad.

I was in the lead, and I lowered myself down a Boulder, and was about to start navigating the next set of boulders.

All of the sudden, I heard my partner yell my name. Too late for me to move. This is microseconds.

I vividly remember seeing something huge and black over my right shoulder.

My feet had solid purchase and my back was square to the boulder.

I squatted under it, and braced for impact.

You have all heard stories of mothers lifting cars off their Children in moments of crisis.

I can’t say that is exactly what happened, but something like that transpired.

I had my stone glacier pack on with my hilleberg nallo, my heavy layers, rain gear and a few other softer items.

When the Boulder hit, it bent me over like a taco. Somehow, and I have no idea how….I kept my footing. I have never felt weight on my back like that before. It flattened my chest into my left knee.

My buddy saw all of this from above. Later he said that he was certain he was watching me die.

The Boulder rolled over my back like a ramp and fell at my feet. I began to scream. I looked down and I was covered in blood.
I was still standing, but I was in a state of shock. Catching my breath was impossible.

Shortly there after, I passed out. My buddy thought that I was bleeding internally. Once again, he thinks I am dying.


While I was out, I remember feeling warm and having a distant memory of working on farm machinery with my little brother. Very weird, but that’s how I remember it.

I was only out for about 30 seconds, but it seemed much longer to me. Then all I knew was that my buddy was yelling my name over the top of me.

I came back to the world. Amazingly, I stood back up.

The blood was from my left arm and my hand. I had caught myself with that arm to brace myself and it had shoved me down and cut me up pretty bad.

Immediately, I knew that I had broken some ribs. It had pushed my bino harness and my 10 mm straight into my ribs. My back was fine, as were my neck, and head. The stone glacier pack sits high on my back and I had my lid on. I was only bleeding from the arm.

Then I look at the Boulder. Guys this thing is as big as a love seat. I would guess it to be in the 800-1000 pound range.

At this point, we are terrified that I could be bleeding internally. We knew we had to get me to medical attention.

Big problem here. We are in the bottom of a v chalice avalanche shoot. The coast guard would never be able to get a chopper in there to get me. The canyon walls are much too steep and the wind is insane.

I looked at my buddy, and I said I don’t know if I can hike out of here. He said “ you have to man, I can’t carry you”.


I didn’t have the balance to climb with my pack on. My amazing hunting partner grabbed both packs, and we took off.

Somehow, we managed to hike the 700 yards back out of the shoot. We got on the inreach and contacted our pilot.

He’s on a parts run out of town, so he gives us search and rescues contact. We can’t add contacts from the bush, so I had to message my wife and have her contact search and rescue.

While all of this is going on, we have to descend another Mile down the mountain. I am really hurting bad by this point. My buddy is scared the plane is going to leave us as the weather is getting bad again. He takes off ahead of me to flag him down.

I am feeling rather confused at this point, and struggling to make sense of things. There are no trails on the island, and I can’t find the tape markers we had in the devils club.


Finally, I find the creek that goes down to the lake. I just jump in, and go up to the waist in it. After a few hundred more yards, I see the wing of a 185 Cessna float plane in the lake.

Search and rescue was able to get us out of there and back to town. Thankfully, the small town has a hospital. I had a bunch of X-rays, a CT scan, and an ultra sound of my organs.

I cracked ribs, broke my ulna, and smashed my hand. I also required quite a few stitches in my left arm.

Guys, I got off extremely light. I didn’t have any internal bleeding, and all of my organs were intact.

I saw the grim reaper 3 days ago in Alaska.

Words can’t describe how close I was to being crushed to death.

Btw, the Boulder hit me so hard that it completely obliterated my stone glacier Krux frame. It’s like carbon shredded wheat.

I was so thankful to see my wife and dog at the airport this morning in Denver. I feel like I am living on borrowed time friends.

I’m cut up, beat up, broken up, and terribly sore……..but I am alive!View attachment 602419View attachment 602416View attachment 602418View attachment 602479View attachment 602480View attachment 602481View attachment 602481
Thanks to all you and your buddies attention to detail and conditioning you are still alive! Thank you for sharing and glad you're okay!
 
OP
WyoArk

WyoArk

FNG
Joined
Jun 5, 2022
Messages
72
"Somehow, we managed to hike the 700 yards back out of the shoot. We got on the inreach and contacted our pilot.
He’s on a parts run out of town, so he gives us search and rescues contact. We can’t add contacts from the bush, so I had to message my wife and have her contact search and rescue."


Not an insignificant issue and one of several reasons I chose the Zoleo over the Garmin. Something to consider for those shopping for a satellite messenger. The ease of communicating on the Zoleo is nearly as simple as texting.
If you look at the picture I added with the tent you will see a zoleo hanging up on the tent. I actually have a zoleo and my buddy has a garmin mini. I agree, I prefer the zoleo bud.
 
OP
WyoArk

WyoArk

FNG
Joined
Jun 5, 2022
Messages
72
I have added contacts to my inReach Mini 2 from both my phone and using the Mini itself without any service. Not sure where this is coming from.

Jay
There may have been a way to add a contact. I carry the zoleo and my buddy has a garmin. I’m not knocking garmin or zoleo. We both had the coast guard added, but honestly I didn’t feel like I was so bad that I needed a 30k bill. I do have insurance, but with todays insurance…..I wasn’t really wanting to test that policy out sir.

We did not have search and rescue added. Shame on us for not getting that contact before we headed out. We should have.

That said, we needed to keep moving. There storm was coming in and I had lost quite a bit of blood. Not to mention that I wasn’t stove up yet. Boy I was the next week/months. Still having trouble with my left knee and my left hand.

it was just easier to get her to call them and explain over a phone conversation instead of us having a satellite text war. I’m sure if we had messed around with either the zoleo or the garmin we could have found a way. Neither device was faulty and if it had been much worse, I wouldn’t have hesitated to hit the sos and call in the coast guard.
 

The Guide

WKR
Joined
Aug 20, 2023
Messages
352
Location
Montana
There may have been a way to add a contact. I carry the zoleo and my buddy has a garmin. I’m not knocking garmin or zoleo. We both had the coast guard added, but honestly I didn’t feel like I was so bad that I needed a 30k bill. I do have insurance, but with todays insurance…..I wasn’t really wanting to test that policy out sir.

We did not have search and rescue added. Shame on us for not getting that contact before we headed out. We should have.

That said, we needed to keep moving. There storm was coming in and I had lost quite a bit of blood. Not to mention that I wasn’t stove up yet. Boy I was the next week/months. Still having trouble with my left knee and my left hand.

it was just easier to get her to call them and explain over a phone conversation instead of us having a satellite text war. I’m sure if we had messed around with either the zoleo or the garmin we could have found a way. Neither device was faulty and if it had been much worse, I wouldn’t have hesitated to hit the sos and call in the coast guard.
It might be a InReach Mini vs InReach Mini 2 difference as they have different messaging apps and couple more changes from the Mini to the Mini 2. I have no experience with the Zoleo.

As for your hand/knee issues, have you had any deep tissue massage done to those areas yet? I had a complete spiral fracture of the tibia and broke the upper head off the fibia in January of '23. There was almost a week before I got surgery and my leg had started healing in that week. They had to really pull and twist on my foot to stretch the muscles and tendons at the break to get me lined up for the rod to be inserted. Long story short, I ended up with some scarring and calcification of the muscles and tendons in my leg a couple of inched above and below the break. I was released back to full weight bearing and back to work 15 days after the surgery but still had this "hard" spot that was sore after being on my feet all day and seemed to block good lymphatic flow as that leg would swell a bit. I mentioned this to a buddy of mine who works in sports medicine when he asked how I was doing after my surgery. He suggested range of motion massage which is a form of deep tissue massage where you do range of motion exercises while getting deep tissue massage on the affected area. This allows any calcification or stuck sheaths (muscles and tendons ride inside of lubricated sheaths) to be freed and for increased blood flow and healing. Might work for your crush trauma to break the muscles and tendons loose to keep you from the "stove up" feeling. I know it worked good for me. I did a 10 mile hike in 9 hours in the Missouri River Breaks in Eastern Montana on Wednesday. I had sore knees and muscles Wednesday night but felt great Thursday morning. Not bad for a 47 year old guy (6'6" 290#) who broke his leg just over 9 months ago.

Hope you find some relief from your soreness.

Jay
 
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