Climbers Lucky To Be Alive After Falling 1,000 Feet At Rocky Mountain National Park
They say you should always be aware and careful of your surroundings - this couldn't hold more true when spending time out in Colorado's great outdoors.
A Colorado man and his wife are lucky to be alive after (what should have been) an ordinary day of hiking that quickly turned into anything but.
According to 9News, Will Toor - who happens to be the Executive Director of the Colorado Energy Office and the former mayor of Boulder - and his wife, Mariella Colvin were finishing a climb up a narrow snow-packed couloir in Rocky Mountain National Park earlier this month (July 10), when the snow suddenly gave out from underneath him.
Toor estimates that and his wife fell around 1,000 feet before coming to rest at the bottom of the mountain.
"I just remember the sense of acceleration and this very clear sense of ‘this is how it ends,'" Toor told 9News.
"I still can’t actually believe that it happened. It’s one of those things where there’s still a sense of unreality to it."
His wife, who hadn't initially taken notice of the injuries she sustained from the fall, managed to hike for more than a mile through difficult terrain to get help for her husband; 9News says Colvin ultimately wound up making the trek while her husband waited behind in the snow with a broken femur.
"The next thing I remember is being at the bottom and my wife telling me, 'Will, I’ve got to leave you and go get help,'" Toor said.
"Bushwhacking a mile and a half with nine broken ribs, three vertebrae fractures, a fractured sternum and a broken wrist."
Before Colvin had a chance to make it back to her husband, three climbers reportedly found Toor in the snow and stayed as rescue crews climbed up to assist the injured climber; a helicopter from the National Guard was called in to evacuate Toor.
At the same time, Colvin found her way to a campground and received treatment for her wounds.
"When I saw those two guys walking up, that was definitely one of the best sights of my life," Toor said.
"I am surprised by how much gratitude I feel. It could be so much worse. That sense of ‘what if only one of us had walked out alive?’ That would be like the worse experience of my life."
Toor said without the help of the hikers who stopped to call for help and all the rescue teams who responded, he doesn’t know if he would’ve survived.
Will Toor and his wife Mariella are both recovering and receiving treatment at the Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital in Johnstown.
9News said Will's already undergone one surgery for his injuries; both he and his wife are expected to make full recoveries.
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