03 January 2010

Happy (Ouch!) New Years!

[Caution: if you're averse to seeing wounds, please skip this entry.]

The Moulton ski area just north of Butte, Montana, has been picking up a little snow. By New Year's Eve there was enough to ski some of the trails.

I like my Fischer "E99" backcountry skis. They are waxable and skinny, which means they are fast (much faster than waxless models) and adapt to a broad range of snow conditions. The steel edge makes for good control when the hills and trails get icy (skis shown sandwiched together):

My boots are by Karhu:

In their "X-Adventure" model:

With a wide, heavy duty "backcountry" style toe bar (SNS BC) that locks into the ski binding:

The boots are in pretty good shape (I thought). Though maybe I should have looked more closely? Are those cracks developing in the front of the boot?

What might happen if a toe bar breaks out of the boot, say while skiing down a moderately steep incline and in the middle of a turn?

What might happen when a knee meets a steel edge? Ouch. I just found out:

When I fell onto the ski, my weight combined with my downhill sliding motion sliced through the skin and into the fascia:

My first thought was "I can do this job myself," but the cut into the fascia layer gave me pause. Luckily, I was on the return loop of my ski tour, and not more than a half-mile or so to the truck. Holding some snow against the wound and tying it with a clean bandana stopped any bleeding, and a few wraps of duct tape kept my ski on the failed boot. A short drive to the emergency ward and a few stitches later (including a few inside, dissolvable stitches to repair the fascia) and I was good to go:

Thanks to the good ER staff at St James Hospital in Butte America!

[PS: I've contacted Karhu about the "problem" with their boot, and will let readers know what comes of it.]


ramblingwoods said...

Oh wow..that is awful and it won't be fun doing anything with an injured knee..I was pleased that I made it through all of 2009 without an ER visit..I hope this is the last one for you....take care...Michelle

Joe David McKee said...

You are a true hardcore mountain man Munday! Mountain Man Munday - now thar's a song if'n I ever heard'a one! Snowpacked bandanna tourniquet - nice! Speedy recovery to you Pat. You'll be back in the backcountry in no time! Thanks for sharing. Joe

walk2write said...

That's gonna leave a mark! I'm betting Karhu will be fixing you up with a new pair of boots, lickety-split! At least you will have something to remember them by if they choose not to. I hope your job doesn't require a lot of standing or walking. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

mdmnm said...

Dang and ouch!
Hope the recovery is smooth and easy. If they don't do anything about the boots, they at least owe you a pair of pants.

Judy said...

At least that will heal fairly quickly, since there are no bone injuries involved! Then you can get back out there! (The snow has stopped here, but the wind is still bitter, so we still have not made it back to the territory of the deer leg! She has to make do with boring old rawhide!)

secret agent woman said...

Good Lord! Didn't I tell you to stay inside and stay warm?

Maria said...

Reactions as I read...

Wow...nice skies...
Wow...nice boots...
ooo...Bad cracks...
Oh... too bad boots broke...
Ohhhhhhhhhh MAAANN ! OUCH !
WoW... smart guy ~

You should send your story to the duct tape co ;o)
Glad you're 'back together!' Pat!


Anonymous said...

Well, Eco, at least your out there doing it. The real deal, man. Not one of them guys that talks about sking or horses but don't know tips from tails. Hope you and the Mrs. bought that waher-drier combo and good luck with the remodel.
Neighbor Bob

Janie said...

Ouch, is right. That looks painful. I never would have thought of the clip in the front of a ski boot coming out. I'm going to check all of ours regularly after this.
Sorry about the injury. Hope you're feeling better by now.
Happy New Year, and hope the rest of 2010 is less ouchy.

mountain.mama said...

That kind of thing just takes the fun clean out of cross-country skiing, doesn't it.

~Sheepheads said...


Happy New Year ER!

Hope you heal up and are out again soon.

troutbirder said...

Duct tape to the rescue. My own knee replacement was a miracle but having to give up cross country was hard. Better safe than sorry was my conclusion.

Janie said...

this episode raises interesting questions since one could be back a few days into backcountry with a worse wreck.
but u wouldn't predict such a failure in engineering or materials BEFORE anatomic systems fail.

old cable binding system which locks in toe and heel unlikely to fail but disadvantage is that various parts of your anatomy fail first.

newer auto-release systems can save knees, etc. but also can release too soon, just at such times of stress causing a wreck if not personally adjusted by u for the conditions of the day.

good news is that with no tendons,bone or joint involved an old mountain man like u would heal just fine with a good clean poultice and current tetanus toxoid.
given the stuff u do it's hardly more than a shaving knick anyway.

livinginpatagonia.com said...


Great blog and obvious passion for the environment!

I am interested in chatting with you but don't see an email. Can you please contact me?

Thanks so much, Jamie

EcoRover said...

Jamie, my email is pmunday@mtech.edu -- the link to your web site just led to your Blogger profile, with no email.

tsduff said...

Wow - was looking around for the beautiful scenery I usually enjoy on your blog - and yeeeouch! Looks like the stitches were well done though. Heal fast - though I've heard it said women love a man with a scar :)