I'll just throw in my tuppence worth and agree that cycling between saves is a really good idea: I'm guessing pretty much every serious gamer ends up in this predicament and yeah, guilty as charged, I also found out the hard way. Several times.
At least it isn't like the Fable series which actively seeks to prevent a save history. Which I've worked around on the PC version by backing up, but it is quite annoying.
Sorry to hear you never found your way out of that predicament though. There's a certain irony in Skyrim being basically the same engine but having the noclip option (at least on the PC) to get out of that occasionally inevitable situation (or, y'know, just fast travelling), though even the PC version of ED didn't have that option.
Incidentally, I discovered that backflips have a significantly increased jump height for those who want to find interesting approaches to breaking their game. Not that I ever tried it myself.