Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Impossible Drop; Surviving a 3,000 foot fall after an avalanche, Gabe Coler

I met Gabe's parent's last weekend in Minneapolis. At the time of the climbing accident on Mount Deltaform, they were in Poland. Through a number of bureaucratic nightmares, Gabe’s parents did not get a chance to see their son for 10 days!

The information about Gabe was positive considering the fact that he was carried over 3,000 feet in an avalanche down the side of a major Canadian mountain! After the slide, Gabe fortuitously was not buried, but did end up spending three days and nights alone (at times in sub-freezing weather) on top of the debris.

Gabe is on the recovery schedule, but it’s going to be tough. He lost a fair amount of weight and was severely injured. Gabe fractured his right femur and tore numerous ligaments and tendons in his left knee. The femur fracture will mend, but the torn muscles, ligaments, tendons AND bone will be much more problematic. Included in the injury was a partially collapsed lung. As his father best said,

“All of this [however] seems so trivial compared to the wound he sustained from
losing his best friend, Charlie. I am far less certain of that injury ever
Gabe was medi-evacuated to Eugene Oregon for extended treatment. If you’d like to send Gabe your thoughts, his address is:

St. Charles Medical Center
2500 NE Neff Road
Bend, OR 97701

I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Canadian Park Wardens, medics, doctors, nurses and other caregivers that have responded to this incident and cared for Gabe and Charlie. This image is courtesy Parks Canada, Brad White.