Isamer Bilog - Ep. 010
“If you’re going to do something high risk, do it with the intention that you’re okay with the worst possible outcome… It’s never just you, because there is someone that always cares”
I met Ice in Red Rock in mid January of 2018. We were part of the same group of friends all climbing for the weekend. I was still using a cane to walk around, as it was less than 3-months after my fall. This quickly became a topic of conversation between the two of us; our connection in both having experienced serious climbing falls.
Flash forward to just last month, at Outdoor Retailer in Denver. After little contact since Red Rock, we happened to crossed paths. Ice mentioned that he had listened to the podcast and thought it might be a great way to chat about the impact that his decisions have had on him, his family and his friends.
I knew we had to have this conversation soon. His desire to share his message was deep, something was stirring in him, and I felt important to honor that.
Before the conversation we were so fortunate to premier the film “Second Chance”, produced by HippyTree, featuring footage of the fall and first hand accounts from Seth Dedoes, Dan Krauss and Medvis Petrossian. These three friends went from climbing crew to life savers that night.
Now, about the accident. Isamer was going for the first ascent of 25-30’ boulder problem under the working title of The Violence Project. Today it’s known as “A New Wave”. In climbing, first ascents are a risky proposition. Doing so on a boulder this tall, referred to as a highball, is incredibly risky. This is territory where only few tread. The consequences of falling from any highball or severe. This one, carried with it a no fall zone. Literally don’t fall, or your chances of dying are very high.
isamer was near the top of boulder when he fell. First hand account states that his head hit the ground first, and his body went immediately limp as he continued to fall nearly 80’ down the mountain side. From this, Isamer sustained numerous injuries, including a Subdural hematoma (life threatening), epidural hematoma (often requiring immediate surgery, without which death is a likely outcome), fractured skull, broken ribs and severe brain swelling (aka, a cerebral edema, life threatening)
That Ice lives a normal life today, fully functioning and still finding enjoyment in rock climbing, is an absolute miracle. Ice did return to the scene of so much trauma to finish what he started. This time, however, safety was the number one concern. With a safety net rigged below, and wearing a helmet as he now almost always does, he achieved the first ascent of A New Wave.
I hope you enjoy the conversation. I hope you understand that we share this story not to glorify risk but to insist that you take every possible measure you can to mitigate it. To enjoy what you love for a very long time. Thanks for being here.
As always, my friends, to your wildest self, be true.
Dan Krauss Photography :: Photographer, friend, life saver
Hippytree :: Supports & friends of Ice, as well as the producers of “Second Chance”
Stronghold Climbing Gym :: A community supported by Kate, Pete and a huge host of amazing humans
Arc’Teryx La Brea :: Stop by and say hi to Annie, Grae and Ashley!
Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit :: Heroes, plain and simple.