Field Notes Part 3, Week 4: Zhoukoudian


To: Mission Control
From: Evelyn Willoughby

There’s been a cave collapse. Andrea fell about three meters and her legs are buried under the rubble. She thinks at least one ankle is broken, but can still move her arms and upper torso. Impossible for her to move the boulders off and climb out without assistance. But the area surrounding the hole is still unsteady. Any weight around the gap might send more rocks loose and cause further injury.

I need more rope, several extra Grimmet belay devices and ascenders, a harness, Stokes basket, and a stationary winch. Once we’ve lifted the rocks off her, I’ll belay down, get her into the litter, attach her to the winch, and hoist her back up. By rigging a line between several trees around the cave, I should be able to descend without disturbing the surface opening.

Please dispatch the supply Dome to the last drop site ASAP. Weather is cold. Hypothermia an imminent risk.