It’s climbing season in Alaska and there are dozens of teams heading to remote peaks hoping for summits.
This past weekend, Ilana Jesse was injured by a falling rock while scrambling on Mount Skarland (3,087 m) in the Hayes Range and required a rescue.
She was with Katie Bono, Ben Chapman, Alex Lee and Alan Shanoski when the falling block impacted her left hand, broke many bones and tore it open.
Bono wrote about the incident on her Instagram and said, “After controlling bleeding with a briefly-applied tourniquet, we activated the SOS on an inReach and worked to stabilize Ilana and keep her conscious and from going into shock from blood loss and pain.
“Mostly due to Ilana’s medical guidance as a trauma/ED nurse, we were successful in this. We evac’ed her down 1200′ vert of un-anchorable shale slopes and steep snow via 8-ish rope lowers and were able to get her to a waiting helicopter on the Hayes Glacier 0-15 min before they would have been legally obligated to stay grounded for the night.
“Ilana and I were transported to the Fairbanks hospital and from there to Seattle Harborview hospital via air ambulance. She had the first of multiple surgeries on Sunday. Her recovery will be long and complicated due to the crushing nature of the injury as well as the loss of several bones during evacuation. However, she is alive, which was not a given during the evacuation. It is also likely that she will be able to keep her hand.
“We were extraordinarily lucky in many ways during this accident, and I am very grateful for the strength and skills of our climbing team, the AK state troopers, the medical personnel involved, and our friends and family. Apologies if you have reached out and I/we haven’t given a personal response. As you may imagine, there has been a lot of logistics and recovery to sort out. We are exceedingly grateful for all of the support.”
Good luck and a speedy recover Ilana and great work to everyone involved.
No send in AK, but I did return home with my life; which for a moment was uncertain. After falling victim to substantial rockfall, I spent six agonizing hours controlling hemorrhaging from a crush and degloving injury to my left hand. With the help of four other climbers, we descended approximately 1,500 feet to the Hayes glacier where a medevac helicopter brought me to Fairbanks at last light. I was brought in to the operating room and stabilized for transport to the nearest Level One trauma hospital, in Seattle. Upon arrival, we were unsure if I would be able to keep my hand. Now, after one long surgery and another tomorrow, it’s looking more optimistic. A huge heartfelt thank you to @katie__bono for leading the rescue effort and to @beenchapman, @mountaindinosaur and @ashanoski for keeping me alive. It’s going to be a long road ahead, but the outpouring of support is making for a smooth ride thus far. EDIT: @katie__bono has a more in depth and comprehensive explanation on her page. This was all I was capable in terms of grouping words together to form coherent sentences at the moment. Photo 1: @tok_air_service Photo 2: @whitalla