CU student recounts harrowing fall, rescue at Eldorado Canyon

Michel CooperLast Update : Sunday 25 June 2017 - 4:39 AM
CU student recounts harrowing fall, rescue at Eldorado Canyon

Conor Felletter doesn’t remember what exactly happened the moment before he fell from the Bastille rock formation at Eldorado Canyon State Park in May, but he has eight broken vertebrae, an elbow injury, a handful of fractured ribs, and a traumatic brain injury as evidence that something went terribly awry.

“I don’t know if I lost my footing,” Felletter said. “I just started falling and that’s all I remember.”

Felletter, a University of Colorado graduate student, had gone on an end-of-semester climb with his friend Kelly Kochanski on May 12. He had completed the first pitch and was about 100 yards up the second when he fell, according to a Boulder County Sheriff’s Office report.

He spent three weeks in the hospital, another nine days in a rehabilitation center and he is currently wearing a brace on his body and in a fair amount of pain. He’s going to the doctor soon to see about having the brace covering his torso removed.

  • Conor Felleter says he remembers little about the climbing accident that left him with multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury after he fell from the second pitch of his climb at Eldorado Canyon State Park.

    Courtesy photo via Daily Camera

    Conor Felleter says he remembers little about the climbing accident that left him with multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury after he fell from the second pitch of his climb at Eldorado Canyon State Park.

  • Conor Felletter's climbing helmet, after a May 12 fall at Eldorado Canyon State Park which left him with multiple injuries.

    Courtesy photo via Daily Camera

    Conor Felletter’s climbing helmet, after a May 12 fall at Eldorado Canyon State Park which left him with multiple injuries.

“To paraphrase my doctor, he basically said it was a miracle I was alive and even less likely I’d have the mobility I’ve have,” said the 27-year-old Felletter.

But Felletter, who has been climbing about three years, can count himself among the lucky ones.

The Bastille formation at Eldorado Canyon is popular among rock climbers, but people who have fallen haven’t always been so fortunate. In 2012, a 41-year-old man — who was not wearing any climbing gear — plummeted 250 feet to his death.

The National Institutes of Health — using statistics from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, the all-volunteer organization that rescued Felletter — reports that between 1998 and 2011, rock climbing accounted for 428 of the 2,198 mountain and wilderness rescues. Twenty-three people were fatally injured from falls.

Felletter recalls climbing around someone else who was setting up where he wanted to, and he was setting an anchor into the rock on a less-traveled route (not ideal, he said) when he tumbled backward and then fell vertically. He struck his head on a rock and plummeted further before his rope stopped him.

Read the full story at DailyCamera.com.

Source: denverpost

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2017-06-25 2017-06-25
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Michel Cooper