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A fall up high will likely catapult you onto sharp granite, and at these angles, you’d have only the briefest chance to self-arrest.Francklyn, 24, was not a seasoned ski mountaineer.“I thought we’d shortly be reliving a scary moment. I yelled up to my buddies that we needed a helicopter. I didn’t know how much longer she’d be with us.”A year and a half later, after 11 days in an induced coma, two surgeries, ten weeks at two different hospitals, and countless therapy sessions, Francklyn now lives with her parents in Colorado Springs, where she continues to recover from a traumatic brain injury. They range from concussions, with primary symptoms lasting a few days or weeks, to death.
“There’s a greater trend of brain-injury awareness,” agrees Weintraub. We’re seeing more of them from falls and sports.”It’s not that helmets have gotten worse or gravity more powerful. In the past few decades, we’ve fundamentally altered how we recreate outdoors.
We ride bikes and glide down mountains at tremendous speed for the pleasure it brings.
The problem, as Douglas points out, is that “the evolution of the human body is not keeping up.” We long ago outpaced our biology—and, disconcertingly, the level of protection afforded by our helmets.
On March 24, 2012, Sally Francklyn skied through the south boundary gate at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, in Wyoming, heading for 10,150-foot Cody Peak.
Once on the ridge, the four skiers in her party—including her boyfriend at the time, Jeff Brines—could have descended the backcountry line Pucker Face, but on inspection it looked icy, rocky, and as unpleasant as its name implied.