(CBS4) – A woman from Evergreen is at St. Anthony Hospital recovering from injuries she sustained while climbing Mt. Bancroft Sunday. Her rescue effort took more than six hours and included 22 members of the Alpine Rescue Team.
Kelly Brown, who describes herself as an experienced climber, said she went to Mount Bancroft with three friends Sunday. Brown had climbed the peak successfully the year before and came equipped with helmets, GPS devices, and an emergency plan she sent to her husband.
On the east ridge of the mountain is an area known as “the notch,” where folks must rappel down before climbing back up to a ridge that leads to the summit. Brown said she began with the more challenging route, but quickly changed her mind and moved back to the one she had done before.
“I did it to be safe, and I ended up just mis-stepping on that down step and just rolled with gravity, and it rolled me about 25 feet on some pretty jagged rock,” Brown said.
According to Brown, one friend stayed up high with a cellphone while another tended to her until the Alpine Rescue Team arrived. Flight for Life and a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter were dispatched to help get crews to the scene and get the climber to safety.
“It wasn’t easy to get to, so the fact they got to me that quickly and could get me out of there and on a helicopter out of there to the hospital was just critical,” Brown said.
“I’m very, very grateful to them.”
Brown was taken to St. Anthony Hospital, where she underwent surgery for two fractures in her leg. On Monday, she shared a picture of her dinged-up helmet, suggesting the situation could have been much worse.
“With how I fell, to walk away with just this is fortunate,” She said. “It could have gone ten different ways.”
An avid climber, Brown said she never goes up without a plan or the proper gear, and situations like the one she wound up in Sunday are exactly why.
“All of our checks and balances were in place, and we really needed all of them to survive that situation,” Brown said.
Of the 22 crew members who responded for Alpine Rescue Team, about half were already in nearby Morrison at the time for training.
Brown said she still needs another surgery but plans to get back outdoors once she can.