Ammon McNeely survives BASE jumping accident

10/29/13 - Ammon McNeely, a well-known aid climber and experienced BASE jumper who has history of trouble with law enforcement for jumping in national parks, was seriously injured in Moab, Utah, after his chute didn't open properly and he slammed into a cliff face. McNeely had just had the brake line in his rig repaired and was going to try a new exit (where a jumper leaps from) with Andy Lewis and some friends when the accident occurred. With more than 1,000 jumps under his belt, McNeely is an accomplished and competent BASE jumper who understands the risks involved.

McNeely describes the ordeal on SuperTopo:

"We were with one other jumper who was new, and I voted that Andy goes first, the two new guys go in the middle, and I go last. They had perfect exits, great openings with no wind. I jumped, probably took a tad longer delay than I should have, being it was a new exit with new brake lines, and immediately had a 180-degree opening. [Editor's Note: This is a highly feared situation for a BASE jumper, where the chute opens facing the cliff, giving the jumper little to no time to steer away from it.] I struck the cliff with my left foot and continued rag dolling down the cliff where I finally came to rest on a sloping ledge. I knew I was banged up, but to my utter surprise my foot was flipped on its side looking very similar to a Nalgene bottle with just a sliver of skin keeping it on."

McNeely used part of his BASE rig to create a tourniquet on his leg, which was "squirting everywhere." He called to his friends that he needed a helicopter rescue because he might bleed out. His friend Dave, who is an EMT, Brent, Andy, and some Moab locals reached him on the ledge about 45 minutes later where they drilled a three-bolt anchor and fixed lines before search and rescue arrived. McNeely credits this fast action and quick-thinking for saving his life. He had lost three pints of blood by the time the helicopter delivered him to the hospital.

"I was absolutely prepared to wake up the next morning, minus a foot," he says in the SuperTopo thread. "I joked about going full pirate mode with a peg leg, but knew it could be a reality and was very said about it. Somehow, they saved it." McNeely is not completely past the possibility of losing his foot and leg, as there's still a threat of infection, but he is alive.

McNeely sums it up poignantly, "So, the question is; Do we stand up and take the risks and have a blast enjoying our passions? Or, do we hide in the shadows, being afraid of what might happen if we are so bold to follow our dreams?"




hi may name is eli belokopitov i had the same exident 10/2/2013 i would like to have the email adress of ammon mcneely .

eli belokopitov - 11/16/2013 4:53:37

Matt, of course it's pertinent to a CLIMBING magazine when a CLIMBER is injured, regardless of how it happened. Just like ESPN will report off-field incidents about famous athletes. It's relative to the sport and its participants when one of its pioneers is almost killed and taken out of the game, at least for the near future. Your self aggrandizing and pedantic rambles have only revealed how little you know about journalism.

Brian - 11/07/2013 4:06:40

Yes. Ammon is a dead beat dad. Living the dream but who does he have when he doesn't climb anymore? And we all know he isn't paying the bill. Tax payers are. Personally I think seeing your children everyday is living the dream

jop - 11/03/2013 9:23:42

Matt is a straight douche-sicle. Dude should find a real hobby cause he obviously sucks at posing as a climber. Ammon is such an incredible guy. Here's to a speedy recovery.

Brad - 11/02/2013 1:41:50

How pimp is tying off your own tourniquet when your foot gets lobbed off? That's almost as impressive as that movie 128hours(or however many it was...) I would have screamed like a little bitch and bled out.

shaun - 11/02/2013 12:58:32

Ammon is living his dreams, but is a dead beat dad who has never paid his own way, I wonder who is picking up the tab for his medical expenses?

Cat - 11/01/2013 9:28:30

How is bouldering not a form of climbing Hisenburg?! Sorry I know super off topic but he said it and I hate how people write off bouldering... Heal up Ammon!

taylor - 10/31/2013 4:52:48

Hey,buddy.Glad you are still with us and have your sense of humor and style intact.Thanks for always being a good friend with a kind heart!Oooooow!!!

stanford - 10/31/2013 1:48:46

Matt's the biggest tool in the tool box. 25 years of watching others live their dreams while he sits at home being a tool. Anyone who has to pound on their chest about "25 years I've done blah blah blah....." is a joke. Small Mans Complex.

Heisenberg - 10/30/2013 9:29:31

2nded Alex... Matt is a tool... By Matt's standard, no one who dies after summiting K2 should be covered, as they are simple hikers getting back down to base camp. Well, some people would rather fly down than walk. I'd theorize that a capable jumper would be safer parachuting down K2 than a capable climber would be walking.

Craig - 10/30/2013 4:23:11

Matt you are a huge tool.

alex b - 10/30/2013 3:15:47

Not a troll - 25 years in the game with an impressive world-wide resume on trad, sport, boulder and, yes, i have climbed aid a few times before when i was younger. let me reiterate, "i just believe that stupid (underlined and bold), non-climbing actions resulting in serious injury shouldn't be reported on a climbing site." Period. that is my point. it's nothing personal. my mistake in writing zion instead of moab - i read it quickly.

matt - 10/30/2013 1:10:54

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