ELDORADO CANYON STATE PARK, Colo. — The 24-year-old rock climber who fell 70 feet on Saturday is recovering at Denver Health Medical Center. His family said he underwent surgery on his ankle and will have to undergo additional surgeries.
By all accounts, Jamie Shaw is lucky to be alive. The 70-foot fall he endured happened in a dangerous part of Eldorado Canyon State Park. According to rescuers, Shaw hit a rock face, causing significant injury to his lower right leg.
Shaw’s mother said by phone her son underwent a successful surgery on his ankle, but he might have to get pins placed in his wrist.
Shaw’s father, Randy, flew in to Denver on Sunday morning from his home in New Hampshire. Randy Shaw said his son is banged up pretty badly, but he’s just grateful it wasn’t worse.
Randy Shaw said his son is an excellent rock climber with more than 12 years of experience.
Shaw, who was wearing a helmet, was hiking with one of his good friends, Chris, who is also an experienced climber. He said several things resulted in Saturday’s fall, including weather, gear malfunction and other things.
Rock climbing is a fun, but difficult sport. Sometimes it can be dangerous. Even the most experienced climbers have slip-ups from time to time, according to Bob Culp, director of The Bob Culp Climbing School.
“The risks are pretty controllable. That’s not to say accidents won’t happen to even the best climbers,” said Culp, who has been teaching people how to climb since 1969.
While good gear, a helmet and a partner are valuable tools, Culp said the most important thing to have while climbing is a clear mind.
“Sometimes if you get stressed, you can start acting in a hurry and make a rash mistake,” Culp said.
Shaw will remain at Denver Health for a few more days. His father plans to remain by his side during that time.