ESC

And This Is Why I Don’t Base Jump

Renowned climber Ammon McNeely suffered a horrible accident in Moab. Words cannot describe it. Well, actually it can. His leg was f*cked. Just watch the very NSFW because of gore video. According to a forum post, he was prepared to wake up without a foot but doctors managed to save it.

We were with one other jumper who was new and I voted that Andy goes first, the two new guys go in the middle and I go last. They had perfect exits, great openings with no wind. I jumped, probably took a tad longer delay than I should have, being it was a new exit with new brake lines and immediately had a 180 degree opening. I struck the cliff with my left foot and continued rag dolling down the cliff where I finally came to rest on a sloping ledge. I knew I was banged up but to my utter surprise my foot was flipped on its side looking very similar to a nalgene bottle with just a sliver of skin keeping it on.

My first thought was, I want to wiggle my toes, because this is the last time I will ever feel that sensation. Blood was squirting everywhere and I knew my only option was to somehow tourniquet it to stop the bleeding. I used my bridal (a flat piece of webbing) that attaches my pilot chute and canopy to wrap the ankle just above the open wound. I then used a stick and propelled it tighter and tighter until the spurts subsided. I yelled down that I needed a helicopter ASAP and that I lost my foot and might bleed out.

This is when Andy, Brent and a few other Moab locals jumped into action, also, Dave who is an EMT. It took about 45 minutes before they could get to me, drilled a three bolt anchor and had fixed lines set before SAR even got there. Setting up the lines saved the rescue a couple of hours of them getting me back to the road and most likely my life. I lost nearly three pints of blood and was very close to leaving this world by the time the helicopter got me to the hospital.

I was absolutely prepared to wake up the next morning, minus a foot. I joked about going full pirate mode with a peg leg but knew it could be a reality and was very sad about it. Somehow, they saved it. I’m not completely in the clear at this moment, due to possible infection… but, I survived.

Done! I’ve put this on my Never in a Million Years ToDo List.

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