Canadian trail runner Adam Campbell involved in near-fatal rock climbing fall

Campbell suffered a broken pelvis and spine T8-T11 and had severe lacerations and soft tissue injuries while traversing in British Columbia's Rogers Pass

Some places are better than others to stop, contemplate and catch your breath #alpinrunning #bugaboo

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Canadian trail and mountain runner Adam Campbell exited the hospital and has returned home after a near-fatal climbing fall in the Selkirk Mountains. On Aug. 30, Campbell suffered a broken pelvis and spine T8-T11 and had severe lacerations and soft tissue injuries while traversing in British Columbia’s Rogers Pass.

With Campbell at the time were friends Dakota Jones and Nick Elson, two other accomplished mountain and trail runners. They were able to call for help and Campbell was rescued by Parks Canada Search and Rescue and transported via helicopter to Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital. Campbell suffered post-surgery complications but he says that the long-term recovery prognosis is positive.

Campbell says he was doing “a long enchantment in Rogers Pass in fast style.” He’s well-known in the Canadian mountain and trail running scene having finished third at the Hardrock 100. He has competed for Canada with the national mountain running team.

The Canmore, Alta. and Calgary resident was wearing a helmet during the climb. “Needless to say mine is smashed, but it did its job both from rock fall and impact,” Campbell says. He also had a backpack and long sleeve shirt which he says helped cushion the fall and limit the abrasions to his arms.

Elson, who finished second at the Mount Marathon Race race in Alaska, was able to speed up the rescue process as he had a cell phone and ran up to a nearby peak to guide the search team. Campbell says “I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

Rogers Pass is located in the heart of Glacier National Park and is a popular spot for rock climbers, mountaineering and hiking.

Campbell posted a series of eight photos to his Instagram page detailing the series of events and how his recovery has been progressing. In addition to the photos, he explains the roller coaster of emotions felt throughout the entire process, the necessities of packing gear during such climbs as well as details of his recovery process.

First photo

On Tuesday morning, I was involved in a serious climbing accident in Rogers Pass. I broke my pelvis and spine T8-T11, along with severe lacerations and soft tissue injuries. Nick Elson and Dakota Jones were with me and were able to call search and rescue who responded within hours, this undoubtedly saved my life. I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. The surgeons were incredible and I will see a full recovery over time. I want to thank my girlfriend Laura and my mom for being by my side. To my friends, family, and everyone for your well wishes, the support has been overwhelming. I would like to thank you all individually, but don’t have the energy right now. Please support search and rescue if you can, they provide an incredible service. Play safe. -Adam

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Second photo

Quick update, I have been suffering some post surgical complications that have set me back and caused me a great deal of pain and discomfort in the short term, but the long-term recovery prognosis remains positive. I’d like to thank you all for your thousands of messages, I can’t reply to all of you, but please know that I read them all and am touched by them. I have been scared, humbled and worried by this very close brush with mortality, but it also provides a great deal of perspective on life. Thank you to the amazing team at the Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital for your attentive care. I especially want to thank my family for flying out to be by my side when I needed them, to my girlfriend @laurakos mom for opening up her home to them and making them feel comfortable in a difficult time and to to my amazing girlfriend Laura for being my rock and my comfort. I love you all deeply, thank you. Play safe – Adam

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Third photo

Fourth photo

I apologize if this is too graphic for some, it’s my exposé in vulnerability. I have had a strange relationship with it in most of my adult life, ignoring it, denying its existence within me, fearing that it will hold me back from exploring my physical limits and suffering emotionally for that denial because it is inherently dishonest; but confined to these hospital walls, struggling daily, not recognizing the body that dangles below my head as my own from a week ago, suffering mysterious physical pains, surrounded by the groans of others battling their own fights, having a thousand thoughts and emotions per hour, fearing the night and quiet, being a bit stressed when people are around, feeling emotionally drained, reminding myself to be patient, celebrating each small victory with child like glee while worrying about the next setback, having incredibly tender moments with my nearest and closest, bonding us in special ways, at the same time worrying that I am taking too much, or that they are giving too much of themselves to me as I see the fatigue, fear and concern in their faces, thinking about my choices, I am my vulnerabilities, they are my strength.

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Fifth photo

Last week I, along with two friends were attempting a long enchantment in Rogers Pass in fast style. While efficient and in some regards safer due to minimizing exposure, it can mean running margins on safety if shit hits the fan. Our plan was ambitious but within our skill and fitness limits. A few things to think about for these outings: You have do have a solid plan, you have to have the competence to do the route as you plan to, having a bail options identified is a good idea, known that they go, tell people your plan and give a generous, but reasonable, ETA. For terrain that is less technical and where the weather is less variable, I will bring less gear . A few bits that we had on us that inevitably saved me were some extra layers of insulation (we were likely running into the nigh so needed insulation), an emergency bivvy sack that we used (added warmth to me and made it easier for rescuers to spot us), helmet (needless to say mine is smashed, but it did its job both from rock fall and impact), sufficient food and calories (subjectively based in needs and length, I usually carry 500- 1,000ml water for every 4 hours and 150 ish calls/ hour out), on this route we had 60 meters of rappel line, some basic protection and slings if we needed to buil an anchor to rappel sections, good sticky rubber shoes, a route map and idea of current conditions and the notion of a forecast. I had on a pack which saved back from worse impact than it sustained, I also wore long sleeves, which stopped some likely abrasions. I did have a pair light pants, a toque, some warm gloves and headlamp if we did need to push into the night. We also had an ice axe and light crampons for glaciers and a possible snowfield ascent. I had a spot DeLorme In Reach on me that we deployed the SOS button on it, luckily Nick, my partner had time to run to a peak and get cell service to help guide and hence speed up the search. Stabilizing the victim and getting them to proper care quickly are critical tools when every second and decision can make a difference. Mostly, no one in our group panicked, everyone did what was needed to do. That is harder to train and prepare for.

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Sixth photo

The backbone of my recovery and health. My pillars of support, my family. Thank you, I love you

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Seventh photo

First night of fresh air and a feeling of normalcy. Amazing how liberating wearing clothes and getting some fresh air can be. After a period of complications, the past 48-hours have taken a dramatic turn for the better. I am slowly regaining mobility with some hesitant steps and I am no longer relying on machines for my day to day functioning – one step at a time, forward. There is a long slow road of recovery and learning to go, but I have been touched by so many amazing people and new opportunities have presented themselves that I can’t wait to tackle. The size and scope of my daily adventures and challenges have changed dramatically, but they remain mysterious to me & that’s where adventure and a full life truly lies. Thank you all for your kind words of support, they have meant so much to me and thank you to everyone who has shared their personal struggles and past injuries so openly, I am learning a great deal from them all.

A photo posted by Adam Campbell (@adamo1979) on

Eighth photo