In December 2016, Bob Jamieson, 61-year-old seasonal park ranger and avid climber, was at a climbing facility doing an auto belay climb, which is when a climber uses an automatic belay device instead of a partner to catch and slowly lower them to the ground if they fall. During his climb, he forgot to clip into the device and took a 31-foot fall, shattering his ankle and breaking his back, a wrist and a few ribs as well as sustaining a concussion.
He was rushed to the emergency room, where William C. Kramer, MD, of BoulderCentre for Orthopedics, and other experts took the first steps in Bob's long road to recovery..
“I was in a wheelchair for several months,” says Bob. “It was horrible. I couldn’t use crutches because my right wrist was broken.”
Bob eventually graduated to a modified walker, followed by crutches when his wrist was healed.
His recovery was long, lasting almost a year. The multiple fractures to his foot required three surgeries, performed by Dr. Kramer, including one surgery to heal a nonunion, or a fracture that doesn’t heal.
“It wasn’t until last summer that I really started walking and eventually doing some light hiking and climbing,” says Bob. “I never thought I would be able to do any of that stuff again. Climbing is a big part of my life; I’ve been doing it since 1973.”
This summer, Bob, who is more careful now, is back to climbing and has already completed multiple climbs with his sons.