It ended up the three good samaritans heard the calls for help (same time we did when setting up camp) but answered before anyone else and decided to go help. These guys were the bomb! So they got up there at around 11pm (about when Dom and I saw the headlamps stop moving), and it was two brothers that were stranded 3/4ths of the way up Broken Hand Pass. One of the brothers had a hemorrhage in his brain and could not see at all. The other was trying to get him down but couldn’t do so. They called for help, and these three dudes answered the call. They got up there and found out that this same thing had happened before to this guy at high altitude. Anyway, they couldn’t get this guy down and they worked until 1am or so. They then decided to hunker down for the night.
SAR made it up there around 1:30am and helped get these dudes off the mountain. The three guys who had helped before went back to their camp.
So, Dom told me all of this on Humboldt Ridge and I was floored. Before telling me the rest of what the three guys said, he told me about the confusion from the night before when he left our tent, as if he was piecing it together himself. So he led the SAR person to the campsite where the guy called the Sherriff’s department. The SAR team leader spoke to Dom briefly, and Dom asked if we did the right thing in calling them and that if we should have gone up to help. His retort is curt, but respectful, and he told Dom that we did the right thing. Dom then said it seemed like all of SAR disappeared in a whirlwind and that he was left in someone else’s campsite with them going back to bed. Dom had some trouble getting back but fortunately he had his headlamp.
Dom finished the story of the three guys who had helped. After SAR and the three guys got these brothers down off Broken Hand Pass (3am), they said the stranded climbers didn’t want further medical assistance and just wanted to go back to their camp so he could rest and the blindness would go away.