A 40-year-old rock climber from Durango who fell 100 feet while climbing in an area northeast of Durango on Saturday is expected to recover from his injuries, friends of the man said Sunday.
Thad Ferrell required rescue around 6 p.m. after he fell about 100 feet from the “Holy Grail” route at Transfer Park near Lemon Reservoir, about 20 miles northeast of Durango.
Ferrell was airlifted to Mercy Regional Medical Center in critical condition. He was then taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital outside of Denver. A spokeswoman there said Ferrell was in serious condition as of Sunday afternoon.
La Plata County Search and Rescue originally said Ferrell’s age was reported at 30-years-old.
Lizzy Scully, who started a GoFundMe for Ferrell’s medical costs, said she was climbing with Ferrell on Saturday.
Scully said Ferrell, an experienced climber, had made it to the top of Holy Grail without issue. At the top, however, the two had a miscommunication, which led to Ferrell’s fall.
A group of climbers certified as Wilderness First Responders were the first to come to Ferrell’s aid, Scully said. Another climber in the area had a GPS emergency tracking device, which she immediately activated when Ferrell fell.
“They saved his life,” Scully said. “It’s amazing he’s alive.”
Scully said Ferrell has no internal injuries or paralysis. He did suffer serious injuries to his jaw, pelvis and right ankle, and will require surgery and a long recovery process, she said.
Ferrell was a former longtime employee at Backcountry Experience who moved to Durango around 2006. He’s known among friends as a “climbing lifer.”
“He’s just passionate about everything he does, and he’s very proficient at climbing,” said Steve Fassbinder. “This was no fooling-around accident. It was just one of those things.”
La Plata County Search and Rescue, Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and Flight for Life responded to the scene.
As of 9 p.m. Sunday, the GoFundMe campaign raised more than $13,000 from 126 people. You can donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/we-thad-ferrell-recovery-fund.