American Alpine Club Executive Director Phil Powers is in stable condition after sustaining severe injuries in a rock climbing accident in Colorado.
The accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon while Powers was sport climbing with a group in the Highwire area of Clear Creek Canyon, near Golden, Colorado. According to Rock and Ice, Powers was being lowered off a route when a miscommunication between him and his belayer caused Powers to fall 50 or 60 feet to the ground. He landed on dirt with the left side of his backside and torso, suffering extensive injuries including broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a punctured diaphragm.
"After being stabilized at the accident site, Powers was lowered on a litter by the Golden Fire Department to the riverbed, hauled up to a waiting ambulance, then driven one mile down the canyon where he was transferred to a Flight for Life helicopter. He was flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver," the AAC said in a press release. Surgeons at the hospital successfully operated to repair the injuries to Powers' diaphragm and lung.
Powers has served as the executive director of the AAC since 2005. He co-owns Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, and is the former president of the American Mountain Guides Association and vice president of institutional advancement at Naropa University. He is also a strong rock and ice climber whose resume includes ascents of K2 and Gasherbrum II and the first ascent of Denali's Washburn Face.