Mount Lindsey Mishap

Sometimes you get a success, and sometimes you just get a story. While climbing Mount Lindsey (14,042 feet) in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Range on the weekend of 29 August 1998, I got both.

On Saturday, I was hiking with friends Kevin and Diana. We were following some rather poor (okay, flat-out wrong) directions from one of the Colorado Fourteener guides, which took us up a rocky gully about a third of the way to the summit.

The rocks in the gully were fairly unstable. At the crest, we saw that we'd have to cross a large expanse of more of the same, so we decided to descend to take a more favorable route up. (This second route later turned out to be the correct path.)

I'm still not sure exactly how I did it, but shortly after we turned around, I had all my weight on one foot when the rock I was on shot out from under me. Diana says she just saw flailing legs.

I landed on my right hand, which conveniently absorbed the impact by bending my middle finger at the knuckle in a rather unnatural angle. It hurt a lot too.

Not sure if the finger was broken or not, my friends fashioned a makeshift sling and divided my gear between themselves for the trip back to the trailhead to get medical help. We had barely started back when we encountered another group of hikers who were descending from the peak. One them was a doctor, who kindly offered to help.

I was more than a little worried about what he was going to have to do to my finger, but he said I just had a dislocation, and he had it reset and taped up in no time, after which it felt much better.

We descended without any further trouble, and I got a finger splint in Pueblo. We spent the night at a hotel in Walsenburg, and had another go at Mount Lindsey on Sunday. This time we were successful, and we were rewarded with a spectacular view!

While my picture-taking finger was temporarily incapacitated, I bugged my companions to get some pictures, which you can see on the following pages....