Close call in the mountains

Quick Update: I took a fall in the mountains Saturday on an OD run with some of my Alaska Pacific University teammates, but I’m ok and recovering well.  We had planned a fun OD run, starting from the Highland Road trailhead in Eagle River and doing a ridge run to Triangle Peak, before coming back through the Symphony Lakes valley.  The ridge is broad tundra for most of the way, with one distinct rock spine.   Because we were already at 2 hours and needed to turn back soon, we marked that spine as the turnaround point.

On the way down from the spine, I fell off a small vertical drop of 10-15 ft and then tumbled head over heels down steep rocky terrain.  I had no control in the fall, which was a really scary feeling, but I remember being pretty sure I was not going to survive.  I tucked my head down and held out my hands so soften the blows to the head.  Somehow I came to a stop on a little outcrop.  My running partners PK and Scott guessed I tumbled a total of around 60 ft.

Photo from Scott on the rock spine, about 5 minutes before I fell.

Photo from Scott on the rock spine, about 5 minutes before I fell.  Tumbling down this terrain is bad for your health!

Scott and PK were super calm and collected and rushed down to check me over.  Even though I had some really obvious cuts, I felt no pain with the adrenaline in my system and had no idea where I was hurt.  Amazingly my head was fine, which is a complete miracle given that I had gone head over heals multiple times.   Once we determined that I was relatively ok, we decided to start the hike out.  Huge thanks to Scott and PK for making sure all was ok and helping hike me out.

X-rays for my left knee, right shoulder, and left hand all came in showing no breaks.  I had cuts and bruising all over, and my right shoulder also took a really solid blow, but I had no major injuries.    My water bottle belt likely saved my hip from a hard hit; my water bottle was perforated during the fall and all the water drained out.  It took doctors almost three hours to pick all the rocks out of me and stitch me up, and I am incredibly lucky and thankful that it didn’t end up any worse. 

-WARNING- Don’t scroll down if you are squeamish about blood.

My water bottle belt took some hits on the way down, and a rock puntured the water bottle.

My water bottle belt took some hits on the way down and was punctured by rocks.

The last few mornings, I have woken up super stiff and sore, feeling like I came out of a washing machine on spin cycle with a bunch of rocks.  That said, I am incredibly thankful.  The fact is that there are many ways that fall could have ended way worse and I am extremely lucky to be walking around in one piece.  It was an important reminder to respect the mountains and always take an extra moment when traveling in steep terrain.

I’m planing a few easy days to allow the cuts to close up and heal, and then I’ll hopefully be back at it with training.

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