At that point, Rudy and Roel decided they would hike out, pick up my car, and drive it home. Steve, who went through hell on the hike in, decided to stay with me in hopes of getting a ride out with the helicopter.
I've read this TR several times, and this is the part I just can't get past. Granted, there's no real detail as to the "why" behind Rudy and Roel leaving their partners, and maybe there was a good reason for them to do this that just wasn't evident in the TR, but this is the event that strikes a bad chord for me. As pointed out earlier, they left the two least capable hikers - one injured, one having difficulty - on their own, fairly deep in the backcountry, before the situation was resolved.
We see this time and time again in SAR tales. Often it's justified if one person in a two-person party is going for help due to a communication blackout, but I just can't fathom leaving injured or ill partners behind in the wilderness to fend for themselves if there's not a pretty damn good reason for doing so. Yes, when they left a helicopter had been promised for the same day, but it seems to me you stay put with your group till the chopper has arrived and departed, and you're certain your partner(s) are in good hands. As it turned out, I'm pretty sure Steve could have used Rudy and Roel's assistance on his difficult trek back.
Again, there may have been some logical factor that played in their decision that I'm missing but, if so, I would sure like to understand the thinking.