Jon Fox, YOSAR & PTPP - thanks for saving my life.


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Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 22, 2012 - 01:03am PT
I always hate admitting when I f*#k up. But I also don't feel right without giving credit where it is due.

Last Friday, I was helping Jon and Pete haul gear to the start of New Dawn. I had driven in from Vegas on damned little sleep, less food, and a lot of excitement about getting to actually learn some tips and tricks, and get some wear on my shiny new gear. So many years of training and waiting, and I was finally gonna get some aid on!

We got a bit of a late start, and Jon and I hauled some bags to the base, taking our time. Felt fine, bit tired and thirsty but overall I had no indication about the hell that was about to break loose. Ok, I knew I was exhausted. But tired is manageable .... Right?

We clipped in to separate lines, and started jugging up the first pitch with the intention of fixing the second. I remember looking up at the lower out, and sliding the jug up...

The next thing I knew, Jon was practically on top of me, screaming into my ear. I had no idea where I was, and I couldn't move. He was saying....that I had a full blown seizure and had flipped nearly upside down.

He finally managed to get me upright, and was trying his best to get me coherent again and try to get me down. He had alerted Pete by radio, and Pete had blasted down to the bridge, called 911, and sent a couple guys with jugs up to assist Jon. I'm sorry that I don't remember the one guys name, he had been at the bridge...he got to the base and was shouting encouragement to me, telling me I was a f*#king monster, woohoo-ing...then jugged up and started helping Jon get me ready to lower me off. His positive attitude and yelling did a lot to save my ass, got my ego moving.

Jon had been trying to get me into my aiders, but I just couldn't do it. I was curled in the fetal position on the rock, and all I could do was shift from side to side when my hips started screaming from the pressure against the rock.

Between the two of them, they had me ready to lower when YOSAR showed up. The first 20 feet, I was just sliding down the rock....nothing was working. I had blood all over my mouth from a cut and my severely bitten tounge. I was scared as hell and still couldn't figure out what the hell was going on.

As they were lowering me past a bolt that a redirect had been in, everything started to click again. I started pawing at my chest harness, trying to reset the draw .... Funny how things stick even in a situation like that.

I managed to finally get onto my feet, and Jon lowered me the rest of the way off, into the arms of YOSAR and a ranger medic. I was so f*#king humiliated, and was vomiting all over the place at that point. So many years of wishing to be here, and feeling like an utter failure, having to put my partner and SAR members at risk....I felt about 2 feet tall.

The medics got me in to the stretcher and started an IV and o2, and were telling me that a helo was going to take me to Modesto. I got pretty upset at that point, slurring "no helo...." - I don't have medical insurance, and like a lot of us I'm not rich.
They explained to me why it was better to fly out, and I agreed with them. They littered me out to the Meadow, and got me into the bird. I was very sleepy (a common after effect of a seizure) and don't remember a hell of a lot about the litter or helicopter ride. I didn't really start getting back to the real world until we were at the hospital.

Had the full CAT scan/EEG/ bloodwork thing, and it all came back good. It turns out that the pain medication that I take for my arthritis, puts you at a risk of seizure. That combined with little sleep, little food, slight dehydration and a lot of adrenaline and exercise, created the perfect storm. I have never had anything remotely like this happen to me, and I sure as hell don't ever want it to happen again.

I had lost my prescription glasses somewhere in the mix, and was having to wear my scrip Ray Ban Wayfarer shades. ER D#@&%ebag mode, baby. Black eye, bruised face, and a tongue swollen over twice normal size... I got off damned lucky.

I had no way to get back to the Valley, and my fiancée wasn't going to be able to fly in until the next day. I didn't know what to do. Finally, they put me in an ambulance and dropped me off in the C4 parking lot at like 3 AM. I wandered around for a couple hours, sitting by my tent, smoking and still way too stressed to sleep. I can't see sh#t without my glasses, so here I am stumbling around in my ray bans....sigh.

The next morning, I showed up at the Bridge. Gave Jon the biggest hug I could, and thanked him and Pete as I got my gear together. Still feeling lower then whale sh#t at the bottom of the ocean, I headed back to C4.
I ended up having to go over to the cache to get my helmet and harness. Met John, who has been a hero of mine for a long time. What I wouldn't have given for it to be under better circumstances.

Luckily, my glasses had ended up in my helmet somehow, so at least I could see at night again. My fiancée showed up in a rental car, and we spent the night at C4. In the morning, Kate and Sonya were awesome enough to drive up and get the rental and turn it back in, and we started back to Vegas.

Long story short, this is my fault. I knew I wasn't 100% and ignored how exhausted I was. The medication issue wasn't something that I had ever even considered, as it hadnt ever given me any issues.
I can't thank those that helped save my life enough. I will be back in the Valley for facelift - if you see me, please identify yourself and say hi. As a fellow SAR worker, I owe you my deepest thanks and gratitude.
Jon, Pete, Kate, Sonya....and those whose names I just didn't get - I owe you. Big time.

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Sep 22, 2012 - 01:10am PT
Glad you are Ok, brush it off.

A long way from where I started
Sep 22, 2012 - 01:14am PT
Jon, Pete, Kate, Sonya....and those whose names I just didn't get - I owe you. Big time.

What you owe them is pretty simple. One day, you'll be in a position to help somebody who is in trouble, and you'll discharge your debt by helping.

No big deal. It's not like you did anything a thousand climbers haven't done before you, or that you willfully went ahead when you should have turned back. You tried to fulfill a dream, wound up in a nightmare, and some good folks brought you home. You'll do the same for someone, someday, and the balance of the universe will be restored.

Sep 22, 2012 - 01:25am PT
Was it tramadol?

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Sep 22, 2012 - 01:36am PT
Hey Travis;
Good talking to you today on the phone.
I am so relieved you are ALRIGHT!
I don't want to lose my good climbing partner.

Where would this place be without the...

photo not found
Missing photo ID#214965


Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2012 - 01:49am PT
Thanks all. It was indeed tramadol, Mouse. That sh#t is in the trash and I'm on a normal painkiller now.
I know I will balance it out someday. That's how karma goes.
Look forward to seein ya Riley!

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2012 - 01:51am PT
wow, glad you're ok and there was a happy ending.

really scary to go down like that---

can the docs adjust yr meds?

Sep 22, 2012 - 01:52am PT
This was nothing.

You even walked over and climbed into the litter.

A little loopy at the point still, but ya managed.

Piece of cake thanks to the guys who took care of ya on the wall and Pete.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Sep 22, 2012 - 02:04am PT
WOW dude!!! Glad you are O.K. You really going to be at the Facelift? Sure hope so. I would be great to meet up! All the best.

Big Wall climber
Sep 22, 2012 - 02:21am PT
hey travis, glad you came out ok and john was there to save you. nice to meet you by the bridge. you'll get back on the captain soon enough. steve

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2012 - 02:36am PT
wow man, i met you at the bridge just before you went up... could have happened to anyone... glad all is well!


Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Sep 22, 2012 - 07:03am PT
Dammmmnnn. Good on you for sharing your bad trip. SAR is the bomb. Get some sleep, eat sumpin, drink some water, reeelaaxx............You were in good stay with the rock gods. Glad you lived to write about it.

Sep 22, 2012 - 07:28am PT
Good report.

As a fellow SAR worker...

It would appear you've paid it forward, stockpiled some positive karma. No shame in tapping into that stash once in a while.

Glad you're whole (the aviation thread needs you!), and TFPU.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
Sep 22, 2012 - 08:56am PT
Wow! That sounds epic. Great to hear how everyone helped. Never heard of an ambulance taking someone from the hospital to the Valley.
You have excellent karma. Lots of good folks out there.
See you in yellow pines,

Social climber
Sep 22, 2012 - 08:57am PT
Glad you are OK, Travis! Sounds like you had some great people helping you! Skip and I will look for you at FL.

Jim Henson's Basement
Sep 22, 2012 - 09:18am PT
Wow. I'm so happy you are OK. It was a good thing you were jugging and didn't fall. Quite an epic to report.

Good to know about the Tramadol. It has been an incredibly beneficial drug for me personally (arthritis in my feet) but I take it infrequently. It's clearly not for everyone.

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 22, 2012 - 09:33am PT
Glad you're alright man.

On the Prow, my 1st wall in yosemite, my partner took a winger and busted his ankle and foot pretty bad. We had to bail from Tapir ledge, and I had to carry all the heavy stuff as well as direct the descent.

My partner was crushed in the full sense of the word. All I could do was offer consolation, and say I wouldn't go on trips like this if I were afraid of what might happen.

When sh#t goes bad it doesn't care where you are or what your dreams may be. Just pick yourself up, and realize you'll be back for more!

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Sep 22, 2012 - 09:48am PT
Yeah hanging on a rope in the air is probably a pretty safe place to have a seizure, just imagine if you were behind the wheel. I am terrified of medical problems and the fact I'd had a seizure would scare me a lot more than the near accident on the wall. I have a low threshhold for fainting from medical information - if I give blood, I can't look, I might fall right on the floor. Once I was standing in a parking lot talking to a co-worker about our boss who had Hotchkins. He was describing how they had to take biopsies from tissues all over his body. It was lunchtime and I never ate breakfast so it was about 19 hours since I'd last eaten, also about 90 degrees. Whatever the factors, I fainted right in the middle of the story about the biopsies and came back with my face on the pavement and blood all over my face. The ambulance came and all these people came out to see what was going on, including the client we had just visited. Then I undergo a battery of tests, including the epilepsy test where they connect wires all over your head and make you stare into a strobe light, after being sleep deprived a full night. Well, there is nothing wrong with me at all, but I do avoid hospitals and don't want to hear anyone's surgery story.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 22, 2012 - 09:57am PT
Glad yer alright,
major props to YoSAR and those who assisted!
Like others have said, being SAR yourself you will pay it forward.
Get back up on the horse,
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Sep 22, 2012 - 10:12am PT
Seizures are scary shyt! And what a place to have one! Thumbs up for the Rescue and survival!
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