It’s 2016 and I picked up your book only last year, 13 years after your miraculous escape or as you put it, your ‘rebirth’, 5 years after Danny Boyle made a movie about it. Like so many others who have said earlier, when your story broke out, everything you did inspired, inspired to live, and not just live ordinarily but beyond it. Thanks to the movie, at least a quarter of my generation knows about you but I sincerely feel its not enough. When the movie came out, I didn’t quite dig further to find out more about you, I wonder why. Reading about your attempts to solo-climb all of the 59, 14000 ft plus peaks in Colorado, before and even after the incident, in winter, is not just inspiring but a testament to the infallible human spirit. The movie can never do justice to your inspirational tale and I am happy I started reading your book at the most opportune moment in my life.
My left hand is in a sling right now. This is the 3rd week post a small biking accident which left me with a radial fracture. Though it has not been a very painful experience, I know I tend to play down my own suffering, not so much for the benefit of others, but rather to fool myself. I had just started reading your book, when in a few weeks I found myself in an emergency room. The doctors said 6–8 weeks to heal and a rod would be inserted to correct the bone. Just moments before I had broken down looking at the x-ray. My very first question was “when can I go trekking and rock climbing?”. I was carrying your book with me that day, from which I read excerpts to the nurses. To me, my pain and suffering seemed minuscule compared to what you had to endure. I kept looking at the pictures of the crude tools that had been your lifeline and pictures that have you climbing a snow clad peak after the incident.
I have more respect for my parents who had to equally suffer due to my accident, my friends, without whose help and concern it would have been a more painful recovery process. Still sometimes my steely coldness towards my situation, waivers. I fear I won’t be able to do the kind of intensive climbing I have always been wanting to do. In times like these I hear a small voice, your picture flashes in front of my eyes and I know that anything is possible.
I thank you for being an inspiration and I sincerely wish, rather I know that, sometime in my lifetime I can look back and say that I have inspired too.
In parting I would like to quote from your book, just one of the many things that will guide and inspire me in my life.
“For all that has happened and the opportunities still developing in my life, I feel blessed. I was part of a miracle that has touched a great number of people in the world and and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, not even to have my hand back. My accident in and rescue from Blue John Canyon were the most beautifully spiritual experiences of my life, and knowing that, were I travel back in time, I would still say ‘see you later’ to Megan and Kristi and take off into that lower slot canyon by myself. While I’ve learned much, I have no regrets about that choice. Indeed, it has affirmed my belief that our purpose as spiritual beings is to follow our bliss, seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other. Everything else flows from that. When we find inspiration, we need to take action for ourselves and for our communities. Even if it means making a hard choice, or cutting out something and leaving it in your path.
Saying farewell is also a bold and powerful beginning.”