UTAH VALLEY HOSPITAL – The man recovering from a long slide and a 30-40 foot fall over a cliff is talking about how his team members and search and rescue crews kept him alive after he shattered both legs.
Talon Kohler was up the mountain with other members of the Timpanogos Emergency Response Team assessing the snow that was still up the mountain. That’s when he lost control and started sliding 100 yards, with no ability to slow himself down.
“I ended up going over a 30 to 40-foot waterfall cliff,” Kohler says.
When he landed, he could tell both of his legs were broken, adding, “That was, kind of, that moment that hit me [when I thought] this is how people die mountaineering.”
Luckily, he was not alone. Within 20 minutes, other members of the TERT team were able to reach him. Search and rescue crews arrived in four hours.
Had he been by himself, he says, “It definitely would have been a death sentence, mostly from the hypothermia. Plenty of other people have passed away from similar things because they don’t have the resources.”
However, both Kohler and his rescuers had a long night ahead of them. It was 10 p.m. when crews reached him, which was too late for a chopper to bring him down the mountain. They’d have to wait until 5:30 the next morning for a pilot and a helicopter to be ready. The rescuers sang songs and kept his spirits up while they waited. “We joked about prosthetics. My name is Talon, which mean “eagle claw” so I was joking I’d have to get an eagle foot, at some point.”
“We joked about prosthetics. My name is Talon, which mean ‘eagle claw’ so I was joking I’d have to get an eagle foot, at some point.”
In a way, Kohler says he’s lucky he fell into that particular crevasse. If it had still been filled with snow, he would have slid to a different waterfall, and fallen off a much higher cliff.
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