I would never have believed I would be totally dependent on her, yet in the last few hours, she had kept me alive.
It had been a beautiful cloudless day when we had started up the mountain path. It was on the second ridge that we came across the young family. The kids, being kids, were messing about on the edge. The parents were clearly frustrated at having to keep calling them back. It wasn’t the biggest of drops, but the landing impact would hurt nonetheless.
As we were passing them the younger child slipped. Instinctively I reached out to grab him and pull him to safety. In doing so he was safe, but I was falling. As I landed I heard the snap and felt the intense pain. This wasn’t good.
I heard her calling. ‘Mike are you alright?’
‘I think my leg is broken’
‘They have gone to get help. I’m coming down.’
In minutes Sarah was sat beside me. ‘I told them there is a ranger station at the end of the first ridge. Help should be here soon.’
‘Can you imagine dad letting us behave like that?’ I said.
‘Dad wouldn’t have taken us out on the climbs until we had some awareness of safety, Mike. Those kids were no more than 5.’
Sarah was right. Dad had been an expert climber in his day and had taught us both well.
I looked out over the valley trying to distract my mind from the pain in my leg. Sarah was fixing the Hi-Viz shelter around me. ‘Looks like we may need it, the lake mists are building up already.’
Sarah was in automatic pilot. Her mountain rescue training had taken over. I watched as she put together a splint form the emergency kit. I had seen her do it a million times.
‘Sorry Mike, this is going to hurt’ she said as she started to gentle move my leg into the splint. I don’t know what I said while she was doing that, but it must have been littered with cuss words because once she had finished she laughed ‘and Mum thinks you are a gentleman and never swear, she sure got that wrong.’
‘This could be a long night, Sarah, that bloody mist is already creeping on the ledge.’
‘It will be okay, Mike, the guys are well trained and know what they are doing.’
I was panicking I know, maybe pain, maybe fear, maybe both. Ever since I had been caught in a sudden fog in my teens mists building up rattled me and now with the pain I couldn’t move out of it.
Sarah looked at me. ‘You do know techniques and technology have changed so much since you and I were kids, don’t you?’
‘Of course, but…’
‘A summer lake mist won’t stop them…’
Next thing I knew Sarah was shaking my shoulders ‘Stay awake Mike’
So the next hour or so went on with me drifting in and out and Sarah keeping me awake.
‘Mike stay awake, I can see the lights of the rescue team’ Sarah said before moving out of the shelter and shouting out to the approaching torch lights.
Two of the team climbed down and had me on a stretcher as Sarah climbed up the ridge. ‘Don’t worry mate, we are going to get you to the ranger station and a vehicle will take you from them to the hospital to get fixed up.’ It will be a bumpy ride so brace yourself.’
Bumpy ride, I guess they had never been manhandled into a splint by their little sister.
©JG Farmer 2018