Broken Leg Update: A Setback and a Plan

I’m not where I want to be in my progress for my broken leg. Full stop. So I have two options: A) accept it or B) do something about it.  I choose B.

After my Bierstadt hike a few weeks ago, my ankle and leg began to sing a coordinated chorus. At times, they kept me up with all their singing. Captain Rod had lost all control so I had to do an intervention and escalate to a higher power … my Doc!

I saw Dr. Hale today and explained the situation. He had mentioned months ago, and encouraged, that I was pushing myself unlike his standard patient so if I did experience discomfort or lack of mobility, we could take steps to address it.

As I have said before, my goal is to climb again, not to move from the couch to the chair. I have been thoughtful in my activity, not foolish, resting as needed and giving myself permission to take days, even weeks off, but I want and need more progress.

The x-rays show all three fractures have completely healed so the hardware is not adding value.

9 month x-ray
9 month x-ray

The time has come …

On 30 November, I’ll go under the gas and knife again to have all, yes all, the screws and plates removed from my tibia and fibula. It will take about half an hour and the recovery should be straightforward. I’ll walk out of the surgical center.

We don’t know if it will “fix” all the issues but according to Dr. Hale, there is little downside.

And I want to go ice climbing in Ouray in January so – Come On Man!!

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


Twin Sisters Fall

On February 10, 2017 while training for the 8000 meter peak, Dhaulagiri, a sudden wind gust estimated near 100 mph swept me off my feet and into a talus field on a simple walk up mountain of Twin Sisters Peak, 11,4327′, in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado.

I described the entire incident in my post Broken Leg: I don’t want to be in the Rocks.

When I was slammed into the rocks near 11,000 feet that Friday afternoon, my lower right leg was broken in multiple places.

The tibia had an angular fracture and the fibula was also broken.  My left leg had a puncture wound. My nasal cavity was broken as well. The injuries required two operations under full anesthesia and a five day stay in the hospital.

Jim Davidson was with me that day and called 911 who in turn set a rescue in motion with Rangers from Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and Larimer County Search and Rescue.

Jim cared for me over four hours as I lie in the rocks and it took another five hours for SARs to evacuate me off the mountain.

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9 thoughts on “Broken Leg Update: A Setback and a Plan

  1. You’re a beast, Alan! You will do whatever you set your mind to do. I only wish I could do half of what you do.

  2. Only you know for sure but I think Ouray in January is too soon! The cold may mask what your leg is trying to tell you. I suggest you reconsider and seek out a warmer outing to test out your metal-free leg. I wish you well regardless.


  3. Feel for you, Alan. My problems are not in your league but I have been dealing with ulcers appearing on my foot for most of this year. Finally I might be getting some joy (as opposed to overworked doctors handing out antibiotics without much result). Now I have a good nurse who has scanned my veins and is getting me tailor-made compression stockings which I hope will help – I never knew this was so complicated. I know this sounds tedious and not much of a problem but being in pain and being restricted in my walking (and I have a dog) wears me down. I am pushing on and hope to be clear of the problem fairly soon. The remaining ulcer appears to be shrinking so full steam ahead.

    Go for it Alan; you will get yourself sorted.

    It is good to have a moan sometimes as long as I don’t make a habit of it!

  4. Hi Alan! A broken leg seems to be quite a hussle… I had a broken leg similar to yours, but not double on the tibia, just single… rod in and then rod out… the full recovery of the leg unfortunately it took me 3 years, I mean to really feel pretty normal. Even the bone seemed recovered the whole mechanism of functionality of the leg took longer. I did not push it as I had something else in my life that kept me out of high mountains…. the recovery after the rod is removed is incomparable more quicker, the knee was my main concern at the time…. I wish you every success, and do listen to your body and play with it!

  5. I like this plan! I’ve seen this work for others and I have no doubt it will help you. And besides, Plan A. isn’t acceptable, so on to the next step. ala cumbre!

  6. Go with it, Alan. With such determination we know you will succeed. We are all with you on this trip.

  7. I’ve been following you for years, but have rarely written anything, but I now identify with your angst. I’ve been “nursing” posterior tibial tendinitis since March. The thought of not being an “athlete” anymore (backpacking the last 10 years), even after 70, just doesn’t work for me and my mindset. I know how much it means to you to be able to climb again. I’m pulling for you!

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