Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,029 feet
Date Posted:  07/27/2021
Date Climbed:   07/06/2021
Author:  HikesInGeologicTime
Additional Members:   Ericsheffey
 Humpty Dumpty Climbed the Green Wall   

2021 was going to be the year I finally finished the fourteeners. I’d been picking away at them since I was an out-of-state college student returning home for breaks in 2005, gaining some momentum when I moved back to Colorado in 2010, losing it again when I left for SoCal in 2015, and then recommitting to the fullest extent possible when I came back for good in 2017.

I wasn’t 100% certain finishing would be a realistic goal until last year, however. I lack the fearlessness many of this site’s regulars seem to possess, and so I recognized that the Class 3 peaks were going to be a thorough test of my abilities - and then there were the Class 4s!

But then I decided 2020 was my year to tackle the two fourteeners widely reputed to be the hardest in the state, and while I can attribute my summit of Little Bear only to good partners and good luck, subsequent summits of Capitol (even if it did take two tries) and Snowmass’ S-Ridge boosted my confidence all the way into cockiness. I ended that year with 12 remaining, and while my extreme fair-weather hiking tendencies meant that I’d only totaled 10 new ones in my previous record-setting year, I took some comfort from the fact that many of my leftovers could be grouped into single outings.

Such was the case with my first newbies of ‘21. Like my ‘20 Elk conquests, however, Castle and Conundrum required a second visit for success. My first try was in late May, when my left ankle, prone to raising a fuss ever since my first go at Snowmass the previous year, cranked the yowling up to 11 at around 12,500’. To judge by my more successful partner Eric Sheffey’s account of the remaining route’s conditions, however, this was probably just as well; I hadn’t used crampons in more than a decade, and certainly not for as long nor under such conditions as the snowed-in couloir, connecting ridge, and saddle had presented him and the duo he’d been able to tag along with.

There was far less snow to be found a few weeks later, though my partner for that day and I did make use of our crampons and axes to ascend the headwall at dawn and thoroughly enjoyed our glissade of its softened snow hours later.

Photo courtesy of daway8. If I only I knew that this would only be my second-most epic descent off a fourteener this year...

That day restored my confidence to such a degree that, when Eric and I confirmed plans to use his Maroon Lake permit for a trip up Pyramid on July 6th, I felt absolutely no trepidation about the proposed peak. Pyramid, I’d heard, could be kept mostly Class 3 with maybe one or two spicier moves thrown in, and I, veteran of the likes of Capitol and Little Bear that I was, should have no trouble whatsoever with such trivialities!

I joined Eric at the pull-off he’d found on Castle Creek Road, the closest source of free parking on public lands we could find to Maroon Lake*, a couple hours before sunset. A relaxed round of open-air chitchat turned into a hunker for cover under the door of his trunk as a classic evening downpour unleashed its fury on us.

“I was listening to a podcast about Pyramid before I got here,” Eric told me as I eyeballed the torrential three feet between us and the front of my own car, home to the dinner I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to enjoy anytime soon unless I wanted to be waterboarded by Mother Nature.

“What do we have to look forward to that isn’t mentioned in the route description?” I asked, as much out of genuine interest as a distraction from how ravenous I suddenly found myself.

“There are lots of cairns.”

“Oh, that’s good!”

“...LOTS of cairns.”

“, Capitol levels of cairns? Only a select few of which go the way you actually want to go?”

He nodded. “That’s what it sounds like.”

I’m sure I tried to mumble something useful in response. It wasn’t too long afterward that the rain abated somewhat and I was able to dash for Booger and my Michelin Star-worthy and super-nutritionally-balanced Lunchables, then curl up in my sleeping bag for the all-too-short hours until our alarms were set to blare.

A sunrise pic from my first attempt of Capitol. Yes, the words "first" and "attempt" were deliberate, and I give credit where it's due to the overabundance of cairns past the Knife Edge.

We were joined by Eric’s friend Greg sometime while I was dozing, and while we didn’t get moving with any particular degree of enthusiasm for a midnight start after a night of rain that had lasted longer than NOAA had foretold, our lack of trouble driving to Maroon Lake offered some reassurance to paper over our lingering hints of unease over potential dampness on the route as well as general nervousness about its forewarned difficulties. A quick ascent past the lake, lowlighted only by a brief need to backtrack a hundred feet or so when we realized we’d overshot the turnoff for Pyramid, and then a surprisingly speedy-considering-yours-truly-was-involved climb up the beautifully maintained trail boosted our confidence further.

I could’ve done without the tangle of boulders this mountain had vomited over the eons as well as the snowfield that, while perhaps all of twenty feet in width, nevertheless was hard enough that I deemed it necessary to don my spikes (though my surer-footed partners scurried across more quickly and less encumbered), and it took a matter of milliseconds into the amphitheater for me to understand where the nickname “1000’ of Suck” came from.

Still, we reached the saddle just as the sun crested the peaks to our east, giving us a breathtaking respite in which to retake our breath for the the challenges that lay ahead. Once we stirred ourselves into motion once again, I was pleased to find those challenges well within my abilities - while I did not actually make the Leap of Faith as literally as my buddies did, I found a pleasingly grippy set of hand- and footholds in the workaround. The Green Wall, too, surprised and satisfied me with its solidity.

This view meant we were right on top of the schedule we were trying to meet and were thus in agreement that the day couldn't have been going any better.

I suppose I can take some consolation from the apparent commonality of Pyramid predecessors I personally know who also felt that the last few hundred feet to the summit provide the best opportunity to bite off more than you can comfortably chew. “I know this mountain’s rated Class 4, but this is more *real* Class 4 than I was expecting,” I mumbled a couple times as my buddies and I scrambled up a chimney that probably has nothing on North Maroon’s but which did a number on whatever dignity I might have had going in. Whenever we’d double-check the line between the last cairn we’d seen and the next, however, we certainly couldn’t see any viable alternative paths.

We double-, triple-, quadruple-checked the line of cairns leading us up to a short but sheer rock band about two hundred feet below the summit. Eric, far more experienced at rock climbing than I, certainly could’ve clambered up the faint depression overlooking a precipitous drop into the gully next door, but as I couldn’t find a way to get my foot on the one decent protrusion at waist level, he retreated away from the gully in search of a better option. Greg had rated his method for passing this obstacle as “kinda sketchy,” so Eric examined the rock overhead with the intensity of an oracle poring over tea leaves, then darted up and over the imposition via a set of holds that looked uncomfortably slender to me.

I examined his route as I distractedly acknowledged the climber who was coming up behind us but who elected to wait below while we finished navigating this segment. “It’s not too horrible,” my partner encouraged me from a few feet above after he gave our new companion a greeting of his own. He then gestured down at the shiny smooth stone in front of me. “There’s a foothold above your left foot” - indeed there was, albeit far smaller than I would have liked - “and handholds on either side above your head” - indeed again, though far reachier than I would have liked.

I drove my fingers and wriggled my foot as far into their respective holds as I could. I glanced back down at the ledge in which my right foot remained, a ledge that seemed barely wider than my foot was long. I then looked back up at Eric and the hoist I’d have to make. It wasn’t optimal, but there sure didn’t seem to be any friendlier options. But I’d had the advantage of watching my partner scamper up, and I was sure I’d played Monkey See, Monkey Do on maneuvers of equal or even greater sketchiness than this. Besides, I concluded as I took a last glance back down at my right foot, the worst that seemed likely to happen if I did flub this move was that I’d belly-flop into the rock, then slither down, Wile E. Coyote style, until my feet reconnected with the ledge on which I was presently grounded. I inhaled as deeply as my lungs would allow before shifting my body weight to my tautly perched left foot.

As it is often wont to do, Murphy’s Law reared its ugly head with a bang, not a whimper. My foot exploded off its hold with such violence that my hands had no choice but to relent or be ripped from my fingertips. While I believe my toes did hit the ledge as predicted, they couldn’t sustain enough of the rest of me to resist the inexorable will of gravity.

I would imagine that my fall had to be far more terrifying to witness than to experience. Once I understood that I was going down, down, down, I resigned myself to my fate - Jim Morrison was right; this is the end, beautiful friend. The only small act of compassion I felt I had any right to ask of this mountain was that my head would strike one of its more-grounded rocks with enough force to render me unconscious before I landed, or, barring even that minor mercy, that I would at least die on impact so that I wouldn’t be subjected to seconds, minutes, hours of listening to my blood gurgle into the otherwise pristine landscape and feeling my lungs heaving futilely against the jagged fragments of my ribcage.

I seemed, however, to be painfully cognizant of my surroundings as I blinked at the formerly cheery climber who had been waiting patiently below us, her face mere inches above my own. I suspect I must’ve lost momentum when I hit the body-sized outcropping on which I’d landed, else I would’ve struck her down with me. To judge by the tightness of her fingers around my shoulder, however, neither one of us was in doubt that she was largely, if not solely, to acclaim for preventing the ball-bearing scrabble beneath me from rolling me toward Part II of my plunge into the chossy abyss below.

“Wow, you must have a guardian angel looking out for you!” she half-gasped once we determined that I’d come to a rest of some sort.

Yeah, you! wouldn't occur to me as a response until days later, so I groused, “A very passive-aggressive one,” as I began tenderly easing myself into a sitting position in hopes of reassuring her that she could relax her vigil as much as our environment would allow.

Eric scrambled down with as much haste as was safe once I’d slid to a halt, and he switched into professional mode from his day job as a paramedic the second he knelt beside me. I tried to keep my voice steady - it was hard to see the point of crying over spilled bodily fluids - as I recounted a list of the injuries demanding the most attention: my lower back hurt, which fragments of years-ago First Aid courses informed me was not a good sign, but I was paradoxically reassured by the fact that the same foot already tweaked on neighboring Snowmass now protested even more stridently.

At least I landed on a part of Pyramid that blocked my view of that particular smirking slab of snowy granite.

My partner sent Mari, my saving grace, up ahead with one of our two remaining radios. He then used the last to inform Greg that there had been a “situation,” quickly agreeing with our third partner that it would be a good idea for him to go on to the summit to see if he could get better reception for his inReach should it be necessary for him to draw on his training as a flight medic to get and stay in contact with SAR.

Eric told me later on that he’d deliberately given me a pause in the back-and-forth action to make an informed decision all my own about my prospects of continuing either up or down; after all, sometimes trips, slips, and falls in the mountains merely knock the wind out of the afflicted’s sails, then fade into a low-grade annoyance at worst.

I knew from my initial attempt to sit up, however, that this was not a rub-some-(more-)dirt-in-it-and-walk-it-off deal. My spine had apparently somehow survived Eric’s estimated 20’ plunge more or less intact, but I dreaded what another tumble, even a small one, might do. And when my partner removed my shoes and socks to evaluate the foot that throbbed so unabatedly that I could practically see its pulses radiating through the air, we could see that the afflicted ankle was roughly twice the size of its right-side counterpart.

I cast a brief glance down from my perch to the dizzying drops of highly questionable stability below. What muscles weren’t compromised tensed hard enough in automatic response that I feared they would snap any as-yet unaffected bones clean through. It was time to make good on my half-joking threat of just about every fourteener past whenever I got a little short-winded.

“Get me a helicopter,” I sighed to Eric once Greg radioed us that he had reached the summit.

Doesn't even need to be a fourteener for me to want off posthaste.

Of course it isn’t quite so simple as that. While Eric and I could see perfectly well that I had no way off this mountain without the aid of wings or blades, I understood that Pitkin County couldn’t simply take our word for it. It took an hour for them to approve the chopper, another hold before the bird took off, then it would be another forty minutes still for it to fly out to pick up the hoist team, then however long it would take from that pick-up to Pyramid.

I knew I shouldn’t have been ungrateful. If I were to have yet another Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day on a mountain, I’d sure had the stars align with me for the aftermath: Mari, of course, and her fearless intervention on my behalf; not one, but two companions who were licensed emergency responders; and a clear, remarkably un-windy morning that I was told were as close to perfect as conditions got for a heli-vac. No shivery bivvying for who knew how many days while waiting for Colorado’s capricious climate to grant just one sweet sliver of sunshine!

But that didn’t mean my mood was a consistently sunny one. While Eric remarked on my overall good humor, I’d estimate that I probably spent about 90% of the time we spent conversing in our three-hour wait for the chopper kvetching about how little back support most of the surrounding scrabble provided, then griping even harder when I would arduously shift positions to rest against the one flat, angled rock of suitable size…which provided a generous heap of smaller, pokier rocks for use as a seat cushion. Further whining ensued when the clouds started rolling in around 10:30 to provide a hint of just how unforgiving the alpine environment is under even the finest set of circumstances, which mine most certainly were not.

Through it all, Eric was nothing but gracious and compassionate, attending to every need of mine he could provide, including a concerted and partially successful effort to keep the peak’s notorious goats from scrambling up right above us and putting me at risk of a rock shower I was in no position to dodge, then letting me test out his space blanket when the sun started playing Peek-a-Boo. Greg, too, was invaluable; dutiful in relaying messages he received from the various personnel coordinating my rescue and eager to draw on his professional expertise to provide context for transmissions that didn’t seem to make much sense to those without his experience. He and Mari both elected to remain on the summit until I was in the clear to avoid pelting me with rocks, which cannot possibly have been fun given that they had even less shelter from the elements than Eric and I did.

They are much cuter when you're on equal, Class 1 footing with them.

Suffice to say that I think we were all equally ecstatic when we heard the distant sound of helicopter blades and soon saw the Blackhawk flying toward us so directly that it could have no other possible target. I blew a kiss in its direction as it made one of its evaluative passes, and while both Eric and I were initially dismayed when it circled away from the mountain - “What are they doing?! Don’t they know I’ve got rocks jabbing into some tender areas?!?” I wailed - Greg was quick to explain that the chopper had too much fuel for its nearly-maxed-out elevation ceiling (14,500’, which led Eric and me to speculate as to what happens should someone need a rescue off Elbert’s summit) and needed to burn some off before it could begin the next phase of saving my backside.

It wasn’t too long, however, before it moved back in toward the mountain, slowing down and edging closer and closer to the summit…before the winds had them backing off within Eric’s and my line of sight to swing back around for another pass. On the next attempt, it disappeared into the rocks barricading our view higher up, and shortly after we heard it move away from the mountain once again, Eric radioed up to Greg to find out if they’d reached their target that time.

“Dropped two guys off. They’re downclimbing now,” Greg replied, to which I gave a victory spasm. Not long after that, Jeff and Chris of Aspen Mountain Rescue announced their presence and added, “And we have drugs!” to which I believe I added a boisterous, “F— yeah!” In addition to my full-body writhe.

Jeff, after listening to Eric’s rundown of my medical issues and giving his own estimate that I’d actually fallen *50* feet, explained that he would give me a dose of Fentanyl to take the edge off short-term as well as a longer-acting painkiller that would hopefully get me all the way back to Aspen. While I was a tad concerned about the fact that the mountains across the valley from me started swirling as soon as the Fentanyl hit my veins, I was pleased to note that I no longer cared about the rocks continuing their endeavors to become one with my already tenderized flesh.

As Jeff, Chris, Eric, and Greg - who had, along with Mari, followed the rescue team down - hefted me into an inflatable stretcher and began strapping me in as the air pump put some merciful distance between me and the ground, I was pleased at how little I cared about anything, even when the chopper moved into position directly overhead to lower the cable that would soon put even greater distance between me and this godforsaken mountain. What was the rock cyclone its blades stirred but the latest in today’s adventures, anyway?

As I posted on Instagram, I ordinarily feel a little weird about taking photos/video of helicopter rescues, but I felt being the rescued party gave me some leeway here.

I wouldn’t have said no to a second hit of Fentanyl before lift-off, however. As it was, when Jeff had offered me some anti-nausea meds, I knew It was in both his and my interests to accept. The process of being hoisted from the ground into the helicopter was, as I’d spent the time I hadn’t been snarling about rocks blubbering about instead, not exactly doing wonders for my already-justified fear of heights.

But once Jeff got himself and me secured to the cable and arranged to have Chris return to the summit with my pack, which he’d bring to the hospital after the ‘copter came back to retrieve him, I only found myself whimpering for the initial yank and subsequent spin into the air. I can almost certainly credit the bevy of drugs swirling through my bloodstream for the peaceful, Zen-like state of mind I achieved as we floated higher and higher, surpassed the summit, and drifted toward the rhythmically rotating blades to be shunted aside and then inside once Jeff grasped a boot belonging to one of the uniformed men perched at the edge of a machine hovering over 14,000 feet in the air like it was the most natural place to be in the world.

My bad foot did get jostled while my newest round of saviors secured me for the flight to (as Jeff informed me) the nearest good landing spot, where I would then be transferred to an ambulance, but given the cramped nature of our quarters and how quickly I was certain the drugs’ effects would wear off were I subjected to ricocheting from one wall to the other if I weren’t as firmly attached to the floor as possible, I certainly don’t begrudge them. I did feel my muscles unclench for the first time in hours once the helicopter landed and I was unloaded and then reloaded into the ambulance without further incident.

The next 24 hours were a hodgepodge of x-rays; CT scans; clothes being cut off me in preparation for the aforementioned (RIP, favored hiking shirt, you will be missed when I can hit the trails again); splinting; tentative one-legged hobbling with a walker and then crutches; texts to friends with whom I had imminent plans; inquires of, “Can I get you anything? Water, blankets, heavy-duty painkillers?”; “Wow, you really lucked out!”; “Are you SURE you don’t have a concussion?”; and two head-scratching renditions of, “We thought you’d be in way worse shape than you actually are.”

But for all my questions about the motives behind the latter two utterances in particular, I have nothing but the kindest things to say about the team at Aspen Valley Hospital, especially the nurses and physical/occupational therapists, one of the latter of whom I had already informally met weeks prior as I’d descended the road out of Castle and Conundrum. Super-duper-especial gratitude for the patience of the nurse who got to deal with me for the overnight shift, as she not only had to deal with my newest whine of, “My nose is too stuffed up for me to sleep. Can you wake the doctor up to see if I can get some nasal spray?” and then, at 11 or so at night, just as I was finally dozing off, hesitantly crouching by my bed to whisper, “Someone named…TallGrass?…called about you…”

While the aforementioned caller's art style is reminiscent of that adorning fridges and office walls of preschooler parents, I did appreciate the sentiment behind the card as well as the spot-on quoting its recipient.

I also have no way to repay the debt of gratitude I owe to daway8, who, upon hearing that I was in Aspen and wouldn’t be let out of the hospital until after my partners had to return to their own Front Range homes, volunteered to drive from Fort Collins, over Independence Pass, and back again to Denver in *the same day*, not to mention all the chauffeuring he wound up doing when we were back in Denver and I had prescriptions to be filled, supplies to acquire in order to make my home somewhat easier to navigate with only one weight-bearing leg, and then a subsequent run to the drugstore the next morning after I whined about how much I’d preferred the walker to the crutches, which I did need since I live on the second floor of a building with no elevator, but maaaaaaaaaan was the walker easier for me to use…! And then there was the return to Aspen that Saturday to reunite me with Booger - sure, he did get a hike out of it, but there are hikes that don’t involve eight hour round trip drives.

His efforts were enormously helpful to allowing me some modicum of independence on the Fromt Range side of that pass. It turned out I’d had reason to be concerned about my back: I broke it. But as it’s merely a compression fraction in a single vertebra, it’s causing far less excitement than my aggrieved foot, which hosts a fractured calcaneus. Apparently having your heel absorb the brunt of your impact from a not-insignificant fall does rather messy things to the bone itself as well as the surrounding tissue; one doctor analogized my condition as being akin to having an egg in my foot that reacted about as well as one would expect to a fifty-foot fall. The surgeon was happy with the results of the procedure, and as long as the healing process goes well, I’ll be able to start easing it back into use this autumn, but I’ve been warned that injuries of this nature can generate pain and aggravation for years to come.

Still, it happens far too often that climbers far more experienced and talented than I find themselves in similar (though not identical) circumstances to mine and wind up being recovered rather than rescued. I myself do not believe in guardian angels or any other sort of benevolent force(s) imperceptible to our blundering human senses, but I do recognize that while that day on Pyramid could have gone far, far better, it also could have gone exponentially worse.

So I will try to focus on the positive while I spend 2021 dealing with a far different set of physical challenges than I had hoped for. It might take me longer to finish the fourteeners than it took the laborers of the man-made pyramids to complete their toils, but I will be sure to pay them a healthy amount of respect when I finally do.

*The “mystery” of how my long-suffering Subaru Outback ended up on Castle Creek Road was arguably the least interesting part of this tale, but since it apparently posed quite the puzzle for a certain Kansan climber of my acquaintance, I included the explanation for his benefit.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Get well soon!!
07/27/2021 18:00
Geo, I‘m so grateful it wasn‘t worse.

You have a lot of grit & drive, I know you‘ll be back out there the first moment you can! Looking forward to more hang outs at the Sunshine Cafe soon

Beautiful Prose!
07/27/2021 18:23
Great report!
Glad you got out OK, looking forward to the trip report when you join us to summit Sherman in crutches in a couple weeks!

Incredibly written
07/27/2021 18:48
Honestly I've reread this numerous times tonight, and still don't know what comment to leave. I'm so glad it wasn't worse and I cannot wait to see you back at it so you can show this mountain who's boss. You handled the situation so well and kept a level head throughout it all. Hoping for the speediest of recoveries!!

You've got this!
07/27/2021 19:09
Great write-up Geo! I know this was hard for you to write, but as you pointed out, people with more experience than you have perished on easier routes than this - it's a risk we all take. I was so sad when I got your text after the accident but so glad they got you off there relatively ok and glad that you're on the mend. I'm confident you'll eventually get your last 10 done even though there's going to be, um, a bit of a delay... in finishing. But you'll be back at it in due time...

Thank you all so much
07/28/2021 08:36
Everyone who‘s commented, y‘all are some of the finest friends anyone could ask for. Steve and Carl, while I didn‘t mention you in what was already becoming an ungainly post, I can‘t tell you how much it means that you‘ve been checking in on me and offering to go places with me that have handicapped parking (same for you as well, David)!

And once I do get that FKA of Sherman on crutches, it shouldn‘t be THAT big a stretch to FKAs of all my remaining fourteeners - Bells, Crestones, this one, etc. - with the same, right? ;)

Yes, Great Writing! ...Bad Story
07/28/2021 09:07
So glad you are relatively ok, and ALIVE!! But so sorry you had this accident. You are obviously a very gifted writer. Thanks for sharing your story and your talents with us. GREAT attitude too!! ALL THE BEST to you.

BTW - You and I briefly kicked around the idea of a hike/climb last year, but I punted then due to the damn virus. If you will keep a mountain in mind in the future when you recover, so will I. Again, all the best.

Stay Positive
07/28/2021 09:28
Glad you survived with only the injuries you had (it could obviously have been so much worse). I speak from experience when I say, try and keep a positive outlook. Recovering from "reconstructive" surgery (especially if you have not had any before) can be not only a physical challenge (with rehabilitation and therapy), but also a mental one. I found much comfort in reading the forums on this website and trip reports while I was recovering from surgery (spending the first 30 days at home on my back in bed). I can attest that, though I always appreciated every one of the climbs I had done before the injuries, I was really thankful that I could continue to hike, bike and cross-country ski again after a period of time. Happy trails!

Speedy recovery
07/28/2021 13:53
Well wishes to you on a speedy recovery! So glad you were able to get off of that mountain safely! We can peak bag it together in summer of 2022 if you haven‘t gotten redemption by that point.

Scary report...
07/28/2021 14:07
Hikes, happy to hear you made it out without more damage. Your gift for writing always makes any report you do a great read. Keep your head up and stay positive and you get through this. As others have said it must have been hard to put up this trip report, but I thank you for posting it. I can tell you Aspen SAR it the best in the business, if you happen to have anything go wrong you did it in the right place. They were amazing for my partner who dislocated his shoulder on Thunder Pyramid in 2019.

Get well soon....

And more thanks!!!
07/28/2021 15:13
@greenonion: Your kind words are much appreciated, as always, and I would love to climb a mountain with you when I'm back on both feet! It's almost certain that the fourteeners are going to have to wait until next year (well, the ones that are new to me, at any rate...maybe I'll be able to limp up Quandary in time for the Winter Welcomer and totally not scare any newbies off of the more difficult peaks in the process :p ), but I've got my fingers crossed for some short, easy hikes in late fall!

@Presto: Wonderful wisdom in there! I've had surgery to repair a broken wrist before, but since it wasn't even my dominant wrist, I don't recall it having as much of an impact on my life as this repair process is making. I'm happy that I'm not totally bedridden, can do a lot of daily activities independently if very slowly (I have moved in with my dad for at least the next couple weeks, which is great, even if I do kinda feel like I've had my adulting license temporarily suspended), and can even drive since my right foot escaped unscathed + I'm not taking narcotic painkillers, but I definitely spend a lot more time horizontal than upright. I am also happy that, from the sounds of things, I'll also be able to enjoy the mountains properly once my bones knit. I'm glad you made a full recovery, and I'm also glad for the encouragement!

@joflyer: I've already got Summer '22 in my sights and would love the company!

@climbingcue: Much gratitude for the lovely words, and what it is with Aspen pyramids?! Are they haunted by some malignant spirits that meant to settle in Egypt and got way off-track?! I'm happy your partner got the five-star treatment as well!

Keep ya head up -biggie smalls
07/29/2021 13:39
I‘m very glad that you are ok, and also relieved you had a badass partner in Eric to help out. Injuries happen to the best of us, if you go often enough something will most likely happen at one point in time. Heal up, get out there, and kick some ass in 2022!


Still more thanks!!!
07/30/2021 18:35
Skimo - this was, alas, not my first rodeo with fourteener-induced emergency medical intervention, as my Trip Reports and comment history can attest. :X

Thank you for the kind wishes, and fingers crossed that I may finally have learned something by the time I get back on the last of the 58 next year!

What an experience!
08/02/2021 15:45
I've always enjoyed reading your trip reports and while I'm saddened and shocked to have to read one like this, I'm grateful and relieved that things didn't turn out worse. It was great meeting you at the HH and seeing you in high spirts, all things considering. I wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you getting back out there!

08/03/2021 13:53
I've been waiting for this TR.
I heard about a Pyramid rescue. Then the home-made get-well card got some of us putting things together.
I knew you would write this TR when you felt it was the right time. I hope writing it was therapeutic. I know others will appreciate your story telling.
Glad you are doing well and will heal.

Glad you are okay!
08/03/2021 21:15
Geo - Thank you for the vulnerable and extremely well written report. Stiffler_From_Denver and I witnessed your rescue from across the valley while we were descending North Maroon. I‘m glad to hear you‘ll be back at it soon. We‘ll be rooting for you!

PS - We were wondering why they did so many passes around the peak before lifting you. We thought maybe wind, but there wasn‘t any. Never would have thought about needing to burn off fuel. Fascinating!

Again, glad you‘re okay. Best of luck to you on your journey as you heal up and get back out there.

Y’all are amazing!
08/04/2021 19:26
@andrew85 - it was a pleasure meeting you, too, and here‘s hoping to happier Happy Hours in the future where no one has to use the handicapped parking!

@JQ - That means a lot, especially coming from a fellow author. While I can‘t exactly say I was pleased that word got out before I had the chance to put it out myself (though it could‘ve been worse...I spent the time I was in the hospital keeping a wary eye on the forums in case an article or post hit them, fully prepared to jump in with, ‘Hey, folks, watch what you‘re saying about the injured party, because I can 100% guarantee you they are reading!‘), I suppose the dissemination of information could, like the events necessitating it, have gone a helluva lot worse. I am glad I was able to share this - here‘s hoping it helps someone else!

@JacerJack - Happy to have satisfied some curiosity! I‘ll have to update if I ever learn what they do for rescues off peaks that are perilously close to that 14,500‘ ceiling.

two lunches
get well soon
08/06/2021 13:03
!! so sorry to hear about this accident. hope you're back on your feet quickly

Keep it up!
08/15/2021 22:11
I met you at the Fort Collins-area happy hour and went back here to check out details that I'm sure you are tired of recounting.
Geologic time includes now, so keep up whatever it is you want to keep up doing, which should include writing as well as climbing.
Good to see your spirits up and the support of many new and old friends. Can't wait to see you back at it. Cheers!

Speedy Recovery
08/17/2021 19:27
Thanks so much for sharing this really personal account. It's a valuable reminder to all of us that it only takes an instant for things to turn sour. I hope you have a speedy recovery and find your way back soon.

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