Ammon McNeely Is Back in the Game


Ammon McNeely in the Fisher Towers.

Ammon McNeely in the Fisher Towers. The Kingfisher is the taller tower in upper left. Photo by Dave Campell.

2/27/14 - Only four months after a serious accident nearly cost his life, big-wall speed climber and BASE jumper Ammon McNeely is back at it, climbing and jumping from the Kingfisher in Utah's Fisher Towers last weekend. On Saturday, McNeely and partner Dave Campbell climbed the Colorado Northeast Ridge (5.8 C2, 6 pitches), and then fixed ropes so McNeely could return for a BASE jump the next day. On Sunday, he and a BASE-jumping friend, Kresta Christensen, jumared back to the summit and then safely completed a jump from the 450-foot tower.

McNeely, 43, severely broke his lower left leg on October 28 during a failed BASE jump outside Moab, Utah. As his parachute opened he swung into the cliff face, 150 feet off the ground, and "rag-dolled" down to a ledge far below. Before his rescue, McNeely shot a video of himself on the ledge, in a state of shock, calmly assessing his nearly severed foot and apologizing to his mother. The video has had about a million views.

McNeely lost three pints of blood, and the prognosis was amputation. However, doctors managed to save his life and his leg, and after seven surgeries, including two skin grafts, he has recovered enough to resume climbing and BASE jumping.

Campbell said, “He was moving mega-slow on the approach, and hiking with a cane. But the energy picked up once Ammon tied into the rope. We were climbing in blocks while short fixing, yelling Guns N’ Roses lyrics. It is safe to say he is officially back in action."

McNeely, nicknamed "The Pirate," has climbed El Capitan at least 75 times, by more than 60 different routes. He holds numerous speed records for El Cap, including more than 10 first one-day ascents of various routes. He has done over 1,000 BASE jumps.

In a post at Supertopo.com following the accident, McNeely posed the questions that every serious adventurer must consider: "Do we stand up and take the risks and have a blast enjoying your passion? Or, do we hide in the shadows, being afraid of what might happen if we are so bold to follow our dreams?"

Date of ascent: February 22, 2014

Source: Dave Campbell, Supertopo.com


Comments

Hey I hope this message can reach Ammon. I soloed Tenaya Peak a few weeks ago and in the process I met a friend of yours and we planned to solo Mt. Conness together but somehow our exchange of phone numbers got botched. He works as a VP of Engineering at a tech company in Reno. Please contact me at ebanich@gmail.com if you see this.

Ethan B. - 09/01/2014 9:09:27

C'mon guys... help him out... 1 millions views and only 60 helps...??? http://www.donationto.com/Help-Ammon Just do it....

Susanne Williams - 04/23/2014 1:30:52

If you don't follow your dreams and passions in life... you're already dead

Ammon McNeely - 03/18/2014 12:03:17

"Do we loose the ones we love while they follow their passion? The ones that love them most and would do anything for them are the ones that are crushed and shattered with no recognition of their previous life forever. Justme - 02/27/2014 7:40:57" You keep someone from their passion because of danger, and you may not lose them, but they have lost you if you would even suggest it. I'm old, have lost 14 friends to combat, accidents and motorcycles. We all live free or die slow, stealing that from anyone should be a crime. Kg

Keithgrey - 03/06/2014 10:08:04

That's an amazing comeback! Glad to see someone climbing so soon after such a serious accident.

Marc B - 03/01/2014 7:17:43

If you love someone, you could never stop them from following their passion. To do so is selfish.

Lynn - 02/28/2014 6:04:57

Do we loose the ones we love while they follow their passion? The ones that love them most and would do anything for them are the ones that are crushed and shattered with no recognition of their previous life forever.

Justme - 02/27/2014 7:40:57

"Do we stand up and take the risks and have a blast enjoying your passion? Or, do we hide in the shadows, being afraid of what might happen if we are so bold to follow our dreams?" Sounds like he has found his answer to that question anyhow.

Jacques - 02/27/2014 10:48:10

Leave a Comment