By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Retired Western Placer Unified School District superintendent Roger Yohe is expected to recover fully after a harrowing near-death tumble down a cliff during last weekend's Tevis Cup ride.
Yohe, 64, was hospitalized at the Sutter Roseville Medical Center's intensive care unit on Tuesday after suffering four fractured ribs and spending most of Saturday night lying injured on a ledge.
On Saturday, with 25 miles to go in the 100-mile ride from near Truckee to Auburn, Yohe's horse tripped on a rock and both horse and rider fell off a cliff at the side of the narrow trail.
Yohe's wife, Linda Glazier, said he was able to claw into the loose rock as he fell to keep from traveling farther down.
Ending up about 50 to 80 feet below the trail, Yohe used a stick to crawl back up to within 20 feet of the trail.
Fellow Tevis rider Leigh Bacco of Cool watched Yohe and horse fall into the darkness and then went to get help at the next aid station after marking the trail with a jacket.
Bacco said Yohe came to a stop after his tumble on a ledge, with a straight drop of about 120 feet below him.
The fall off the trail occurred at about 9:30 p.m. with both Yohe and Bacco on track to finish in the ride's top 10. Bacco and her horse would go on place ninth while Yohe, holder of seven Tevis finisher buckles, would spend the next eight hours perched below the trail on a small ledge as rescuers worked to build a new trail that would allow him to be taken out be stretcher. A Georgetown resident, Yohe served as superintendent with the Lincoln-area school district from 1996 until his retirement last November.
Glazier, a member of the ride's board of governors, said Yohe would make a full recovery from his injuries, which also included a lacerated liver.
"He's doing just excellent," she said.
Yohe's horse - an 8-year-old Morgan and Arab - received minor scrapes after falling about 20 feet and then gaining its footing.
Yohe was helping Bacco navigate through the darkness when the fall occurred.
"He was getting me through the dark and the trail was so narrow," Bacco said.
Yohe was taken by stretcher to an ambulance and then to a helicopter near Driver's Flat, on the Foresthill Road.
Glazier said that while Yohe was injured in the fall, the finishing rate this year for participants was one of the better ones in recent years, with 91 riders out of 185 who started completing the event in less than 24 hours. The fall was the first in the event for Yohe. It's a ride that's known for its challenging conditions - even for Tevis veterans.
"It's not a ride for snivelers," Glazier said.
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