Telluride Inside…and Out, Ben Clark in the Himalayas: This is the end my friend

Telluride Inside…and Out, Ben Clark in the Himalayas: This is the end my friend

Editor's note: For eight years, Telluride local/mountaineer Ben Clark and a few friends/professional colleagues have made Spring treks to the majestic mountains of the Himalayas. If you have missed any of Ben's posts, just type "Ben Clark" into Lijit Search to find them all. Sadly, this is likely to be the last dispatch of his most recent adventure.

Benbioshotlr-254x300 "Dispatch 10: So it is done, my ankle is broken

My ankle is broken after my fall yesterday. We iced 8 times, we went through 5 rounds of Ibuprofen and Tylenol and we kept it elevated almost 14 hours before I slept in a compression wrap and elevated for the night. Currently, I believe it wants to ski or hike downhill…because that's the only way it will point! Then I try to move it…ooooh. It looks like a baseball that has soaked in water staining the lower part of my foot with a purple and green base. Yuck.

So…I guess that this Spring, even after our initial and really charged foray onto the hill, we will not be going higher. Jon says so and I just nod. He's a great partner who despite ambition can see the facts. We have gone over every boot-cutting splinting option you can imagine…None will get me back across base camp even. Ha…ohh, we are climbers.

The wave of shock that washed over me yesterday was amazing as I faced down the fact of not being able to move under my own power. I'm kind of restless as is and a bit of a wiggler as my wife would say. Choppering out from base camp is now my only option…Wow, this is my first immobilizing injury in 30 years. I can't walk, I simply can't. Hmmmph.

But I can grin, and I can breathe and I can appreciate my climbing partner, videographer Chris Dalton, and all the exquisite meals and care that were given to us by our amazing friends and staff at Mountain Tribes. This was the strongest I have ever been in the mountains. Each year I return fitter and happier. Only such great company can make spending this time away from my wife and home so worthwhile.

But still, I broke my ankle, or tore it or whatever. It will heal and I will walk just fine as soon as it is ready. Then I will run, I will climb, I will ski. I'm an underdog, a guy from Tennessee who comes to the Himalayas every year and pioneers something to no fanfare or avail. Finally, after all I have learned and taken from these mountains…they have given me something that I can't ever forget: real pain, real suffering and real luck. The depth of true loss that comes with that is irreplaceable, (massive monetary investment, time and health) a new low that can only go up from here! That's exciting to me. I know where I am starting from to rebuild and believe that I can, because it is what I do. It is in my DNA to swallow that fear and spit out success.

Already the rally cries from my other partners at home are coming in and we will return in the fall for yet another season of Ski the Himalayas podcasts. This next time, we will ski lower peaks with more of the same crew and some new faces. Look for this season's podcast episodes to begin in June and learn why all aspects of the mountain keep drawing me and my friends here. We've glossed over the obvious objectives for years and hope to continue to authenticate adventure to you and from here for many years to come.

Live the dream, and please don't worry about me. I'll be okay and send out an update when I can. I'm the luckiest one of all that this happened when and where it did. The climb back up to fitness will be more rewarding than any summit and there will be many in there along the way. An old mentor once told me that the difference between a good alpinist and a great alpinist was downclimbing, He's dead like so many other alpinists I knew trying things a hair crazier than me. I believe the difference is in stopping before you go too far, picking yourself back up, and having fun doing it. We have this life to try so many things in, and so I do and so I will count on it.

Thank you all for your support,

Ben Clark"

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