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On September 3, around 7:30pm, big wall climber and BASE jumper “the El Cap Pirate” Ammon McNeely was seriously injured when he struck a wall while BASE jumping near Moab, Utah. McNeely’s was the second exit of three. The last jumper saw that there was a problem and called the jumper on the ground, who was able to reach McNeely within 10 minutes. They called emergency services and began performing life saving maneuvers immediately. Due to level of injury, location, and the difficulty of navigating at night, a rescue helicopter was unable to evacuate McNeely until the following morning. The group spent 13 long hours waiting on the talus.
McNeely is receiving treatment for a fractured clavicle, fractured wrist, severely traumatized right leg, and multiple fractures in his left leg at a Salt Lake City hospital. Due to the severity of his injuries, McNeely’s right leg was amputated below the knee. He will undergo a number of additional surgeries in the coming weeks.
In 2013, McNeely survived a BASE jumping accident near Moab in which he lost three pints of blood, and very nearly tore his foot off. Months later he was back, BASE jumping the King Fisher Tower with Dave Campbell, who documented Ammon’s recovery and return to the sport for Climbing.
Following his last injury, McNeely summed up his dilemma saying, “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 [as to] to follow our dreams?”
McNeely’s friends and family have created a crowdfunding page to assist in his medical expenses at YouCaring. As the page states, “He will learn how to pursue adventures again, without a lower right leg.”