Jeff’s Return to Climbing After What Could Have Been A Deadly Fall
Jeff’s love of climbing has always pushed him to his limits. He travels the world to hike to climb the toughest routes. This winter, he and a climbing partner set off on a rock and ice climb up Loder Peak in Alberta, Canada. As a first time ice climber, Jeff followed behind his climbing buddy making his way up the icy slope. It was starting to get dark and he was tired from a long day of climbing, but the summit of the ridge was just ahead. Jeff’s memory stops here. While making his way towards the top, he fell 100 feet and landed unconscious on a small snowy ledge.
Jeff’s climbing partner repelled down to him and spent the night on the side of the ledge trying to keep him warm and alive through the -20° C temperature night. When day broke, they were greeted by a helicopter that rescued them from the mountain and got them to an ambulance and eventually a hospital. Jeff was diagnosed with complex facial fractures, a pelvic fracture, and brain bleeds.
After a few days in the hospital and some procedures, Jeff was back in Tucson where he works as an environmental engineer. Jeff found SPARCC on Google and came in to receive treatment for his concussion. Here at SPARCC, we were all struck by how energetic and overwhelmingly positive Jeff was, especially for someone who had just recently fallen off a mountain! He was fiercely competitive with himself during the various tests from King Devick cards to the laser maze. His King Devick card times are in the top three we have ever had at SPARCC!
Jeff was able to recover quickly and was back to jogging and some light climbing 8 weeks after the injury. He is not afraid to get harnessed up and climb again. He looks forward to chasing the big peaks and is already planning some climbing trips with his eyes set on Ecuador next. His advice to other patients is “you only have one brain, don’t get yourself into situations to jeopardize it and don’t do too much too quickly trying to get back.”
And maybe most importantly “wear a helmet”.