Some people just can’t be stopped, hindered or held back. Rosa Malloy-Post is one of those people. “I’m not going to be slowing down just because I’m in a wheelchair,” she said. As a wilderness guide for Outward Bound and Open Sky Wilderness Therapy, Malloy-Post, 23, is an accomplished hiker, mountain biker, skier and climber. Along with fellow climber Greg Young, she was ascending Bridger Jack Mesa near Indian Creek Utah on May 4 when the rock she had a hold on broke. It was poor quality, she said, and sloughed off in her hand. The ropes held her, but she lost one of the anchors during the fall and hit her back on the rocks, fracturing her skull, cracking a couple of ribs and fracturing her C1 vertebrae. Young lowered her to the ground and, without cell reception, stabilized her before finding help. Malloy-Post called Young strong, smart and a trusted climbing partner.
“Without him, I don’t know if I would have been OK,” she said.
She was immediately taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for surgery where she learned she was paralyzed from the waist down. Later, Malloy-Post was moved to Craig Hospital in Denver where she’s been for almost three weeks and will likely stay for the next couple months as she rehabilitates. Craig has been ranked one of the top spinal cord and brain injury rehab and research hospitals in the country for more than 20 years. Malloy-Post said it’s obvious the people love working there. Nurses, therapists, everyone at Craig has a great bedside manner and are good at what they do, she added. And she would know. What Malloy-Post was working toward as a student at Fort Lewis College this year was nursing school. She still has her eyes on that goal and is registered for classes at the Fort this fall. With everything that’s happened, though, she might put it on the back burner.
She said her more immediate mission is just putting her pants on by herself.She said she needs to learn how to drive her car and take care of herself again. She needs to learn how to live again. “None of these things feel like they’re out of my reach,” she added. Malloy-Post talks of camping, skiing, maybe even one day climbing again; she’s even got her eye on an adaptive mountain bike. It’s just learning how to do these things in a different way. Listening to Malloy-Post, she talks of doing all the things she used to do, just in a new way. Never once does she talk of tasks she can’t perform, or obstacles she can’t conquer. Malloy-Post is no stranger to the process either, having volunteered with the Adaptive Sports Association at Durango Mountain Resort this past winter…
“She’s (skiing) with a support system she was already a part of… though as a volunteer, the Adaptive Sports Association of Durango. ‘It feels like a blessing that I have worked for Adaptive and that I kind of was familiar with it to know that I would be able to get after it like I used to.'”