High Four - Enthusiasm Returning

High Four - Enthusiasm Returning

On January 4th, 2016 I had my left pinky finger removed due to serious complications from my Canadian Rockies Climbing Accident. The finger was evaluated by 4 hand specialist who said my finger was way beyond saving and had multiple nearly impossible issues that locked my finger. Arthritis was already forming which would only get worse over time. Amputation was my best option. One could say I was dealt a bad hand. ;-) I had some spells of depression and often pondered whether I regretted mountain climbing. On some days when the pain was intense and the head aches/head pounding got bad I would lean on the side of wishing I never had. After three weeks I was released from my arm sling, stitches removed, and had to do more months of therapy (still have many more sessions to go). The great news is that I am no longer dealing with these regrets. Going to Canada was a mistake (due to preexisting conditions), but climbing was not. I'm aware that I will always suffer for what happened back then. Some days I feel almost normal, on others I have bad head aches, back pain, hand scar tissue issues, and memory loss. My enthusiasm for the alpine is returning and I am working on getting back in shape. I lost 20 pounds since December of 2014. The best ascents are still yet to come. :-D Photo taken on March 22, 2016.

Josh Lewis
on Mar 22, 2016 5:28 pm
Image ID: 967619


Post a Comment
Viewing: 21-30 of 30

dadndave - Mar 24, 2016 7:44 pm - Hasn't voted

You'll be fine

Put it behind you and just press on, Josh. I lost the ends of 3 fingers on my right hand but I still get out there.

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 11:32 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: You'll be fine

Last year I did quite a few great ascents including the Inspiration Traverse, Mount Jefferson, Mount Olympus, and Hard Mox. It was never a question of giving up the mountains, even if I was paralyzed I would visit them via a wheel chair. Climbing however was the act in question. As mentioned above, losing my finger was not my most significant injury. Neither was messing up my back (2nd worst). My head injury was the worst. I would easily trade multiple fingers for that one to go away.

The main lesson I learned from the accident is that it's not enough to put your foot down against a seemingly bad idea. Sometimes you gotta stomp. Anyways, I want to be an alpinist and am making progress on this front. :-)


Lodewijk - Mar 26, 2016 6:28 am - Voted 10/10

Keep it up

Keep it up Josh, I admire your positive way of thinking! You'll get there man, all the best to you and hang in there!
Cheers :-)

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Apr 3, 2016 11:49 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Keep it up

Thanks Lodewijk. There is way too much negativity in this world. Plus it's way more fun to be positive. :-D Now that my hand is getting better, my sickness is starting to wear off, and good weather is on it's way. Time for some alpine fun.


mills - Mar 27, 2016 7:15 am - Voted 10/10

Carry On !!

That's all one can do after an accident isn't it ? I admire that you have the strength and courage to continue what you obviously love doing. Being in the mountains is a great therapy and hopefully your injuries will heal in time, I went up a hill yesterday, two hours later a lady died on the same walk, took the wrong path down, sometimes we make wrong decisions in life, shit happens, good luck on your recovery and thanks for sharing your experience !

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Apr 3, 2016 11:56 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Carry On !!

Events before my accident taught me that in the face of adversity you should not let it keep you away from doing what you love. Unless it's absolutely ridiculous. And while climbing is crazy, it's not at that level. ;-)

hiac - Mar 27, 2016 10:01 am - Hasn't voted

glad you recover

Josh, I read your incident report multiple times, and I am glad you recover from the accident. it'd be nice to read your upcoming trip post...


Deb - Mar 28, 2016 1:15 am - Voted 10/10

Sad Loss

Sorry to see that you had to sacrifice a digit, but there is no doubt that you will return to your standard bad-assery when your body is ready. Keep your mind busy with pleasant, productive, positive themes ~

Silvia Mazzani

Silvia Mazzani - Mar 28, 2016 8:44 am - Voted 10/10

Will is all!

Josh, I regret the loss of your finger, but from the practical point of view the lack of the little finger is not very relevant. If you feel mountain is an irreplaceable passion with your will you will get back, overcoming all the injuries you have suffered. We miss your beautiful mountain pictures! In the meantime, it can be a great help to stay untroubled and keep your time busy with other activities related to the mountain. Many good wishes!


silversummit - Apr 1, 2016 7:09 pm - Voted 10/10

Looking good Josh!

While your full recovery is definitely still undetermined you have already made such amazing progress. I have no doubt that you will continue to improve and compensate for your deficits; YOU'RE YOUNG JOSH!

Who knows what great things are ahead for you? As you said, you can still climb and bike and explore the mountains!

Keep us updated with your progress and keep posting those amazing pictures!


Viewing: 21-30 of 30