• TNB: Best Five Photos of 2014
  • TNB: Clip Like A Pro—5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl
  • TNB: Five Things Every Gym Climber Must Know About Climbing Outside
  • TNB: Still Jeff Lowe
  • TNB: Moving Over Stone With Doug Robinson
  • TNB: Wheels Up—The Top 5 Climbing Rigs
  • TNB: Is K2 The New Everest?
  • TNB: Things—Besides Us, That Is—That Fall
  • TNB: When Homemade Gear Works, Sorta
  • TNB: The Outsiders
  • TNB: R.I.P. Homero Gutierrez Villarreal: The Padrino of El Potrero
  • TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle
  • TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen
  • TNB: The Best Crag Dogs of All Time
  • TNB: 5 Ways to Make People Love Your Routes
  • TNB: Hudon and Jones, and Don't Forget It!
  • TNB: Climbing's Tribal Rites
  • TNB: Sasha DiGiulian and Alex Johnson On How to Be a Modern Pro
  • TNB: Is Dean Potter A Bad Father?
  • TNB: Silly Places We’ve Slept: Tales of Unplanned Bivies
  • TNB: Forgotten Hero - Frank Sacherer 1940-1978
  • TNB: The World-Class Weekend Warrior – Martin Keller Climbs V15
  • TNB: Everest Sherpas No Longer Willing to “Grin and Bear It”
  • TNB: Hardheaded Helmet Lesson Learned
  • TNB: Six Most Awesome Jobs for Climbers
  • TNB: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker
  • TNB: Sharma and Glowacz Send World’s Steepest Rock Climb
  • An Encounter with a Legend - Patrick Edlinger: Plus A Whipper Vid
  • TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die
  • TNB: Falling from the Top
  • TNB: Weekend Whipper
  • TNB: Band of Crushers
  • TNB: Charlie Porter, We Hardly Knew You
  • TNB: Climbing's Greatest Route Names
  • TNB: Hot Women Die and Have Sex on Everest
  • TNB: The Great Tragedy at Carderock
  • TNB: Thoughts On Death, and Last Words
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story
  • TNB: Next Level? Honnold Pushes the Game on El Sendero Luminoso
  • TNB: Jeff Lowe Invented the Sport
  • TNB: Climbers We Lost in 2013
  • TNB: The Top 10 Climbing Achievements of 2013
  • TNB: If Ondra Isn't The Best Climber In The World, Who Is?
  • TNB: The Most Popular Weekend Whippers of the Year
  • TNB: Storm Years or Typhoon? The Biggest Issue in Climbing
  • TNB: Jim Bridwell Speaks
  • TNB: Honnold's Biggest Solo
  • TNB: Death on Forbidden Peak: Was the NPS Complicit?
  • TNB: Ice Climbing Goes to Sochi Olympics
  • TNB: When Gear Attacks
  • TNB: 8a.nu: The Best Climber in the World is the One with the Most Points
  • TNB: Shutdown: Illegal Climbers in Yosemite—Ninjas or Criminals?
  • TNB: Who is the Best Climber in the World?
  • TNB: The New Courage in a Rucksack
  • TNB: Unsolved Mystery: The Ten Sleep Shooting
  • TNB: The Pad Problem: Honnold, Kehl on Headpoints and Highballs
  • TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller: National Champ Turns to Rock
  • TNB: Jail Food and Booty
  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
  • TNB: Flash Floods, Climbers and How to Get Out of the Way
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Level
  • TNB: Best In Show: Brand New Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show
  • TNB: Adam Ondra Ties the Knot
  • TNB: Climbing's Big Mistake
  • TNB: Under Pressure: Trotter and Honnold On How Bets Can Help You Send
  • TNB: The Tragedy of Tito Traversa
  • TNB: My Favorite Bling Can Be Yours Too!
  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
  • TNB: What Happened To Climbing Films?
  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
  • TNB: Mystery Solved!
  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower: Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
  • TNB: The Only Blasphemy
  • TNB: No Such Luck
  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
  • TNB: Mayhem: Crawling, Balling and Brawling on the Evere$t Soap Opera
  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • TNB: Born-Again Gumby
  • TNB: Super Unknown: Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
  • TNB: Fearless?
  • TNB: The Big Freaking Deal, Ain't Bouldering
  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
  • TNB: He's Either Crazy or a Poet
  • TNB: The Best Sport for Kids?
  • TNB: The Fish Cheat and the Prince of Climbing
  • TNB: A Letter from Santa... I mean Sharma
  • TNB: Traveler's Advisory: El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • TNB: A Year Ago: Athol
  • TNB: UIAA Issues Bizzare Indictment of Sport Climbing
  • TNB: Gun Control
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet
  • TNB: The Apprentices
  • TNB: The Jungle
  • TNB: Klem Loskot is Back Climbing V15 and 5.15
  • TNB: Eliminated
  • TNB: The Hurt Locker
  • TNB: Baddest Climb of the Year
  • TNB: Crossfit Misfit
  • TNB: Tony Scott, Climber, Movie Maker, Lived and Died Large
  • TNB: Eating People and the Real Seventh Summit
  • TNB: What Would Warren Harding Do?
  • TNB: The Curse Of The Bandit
  • TNB: Reality Pro
  • TNB: Chris Sharma and The Art of Jeep Maintenance
  • TNB: American Dirtbag
  • TNB: How Not To Climb 5.12
  • TNB: Project FAIL
  • TNB: The Backwards Future of Climbing
  • TNB: The Passion of Grubb
  • TNB: The Death of Progress
  • TNB: The Da Vinci CO
  • TNB: The Philosopher King
  • TNB: Spam Alert
  • TNB: Unholy Matrimony
  • TNB: Bad Genes
  • TNB: WORLD
  • TNB: Mouth Wide Shut
  • TNB: Outside Reality
  • TNB: The Day I Saved Jésus
  • TNB: My Pad, Your Problem
  • TNB: House Rules
  • TNB: Five Things I Don't Hate About Climbing
  • TNB: Metro-Pointing
  • TNB: Beast in the East
  • TNB: Artificial Intelligence
  • TNB: To Boldly Go Sprad Climbing
  • TNB: Self-Destruction
  • TNB: Soul Sport
  • TNB: Your Most Psyched
  • TNB: Nine Pitches
  • Video Spotlight
    2010 UBC Bouldering Championships...
    2010 UBC Bouldering Championships...

    TNB: Falling from the Top

    24-Mar-2014
    By

    Morin near the top of the highball that changed her life. September 18, 2011 was one of the best and worst days of Bethany "Bee" Morin’s life.

    A climber since the age of 16, Bee (now 28) was enjoying a perfect, early fall day climbing the Dakota sandstone boulders of Sailing Hawks, in Durango, Colorado. Bee began climbing a 15-foot face littered with perfect edges, and felt strong. She battled through the technical crux, which involved crossing over a large boulder that protruded from the dirt like a shark's fin. The fin was draped with a crash pad, but Bee didn't need the precaution. She flowed through the well-rehearsed sequence and began moving upward, now above a flat landing protected with another pad. Her fatigue, however, was starting to show, and her partners—three on the ground and one on top of the boulder—shouted encouragement.

    The finishing jug, a softball-sized hold perched on the lip of the boulder, was enough to entice Bee to continue, and she fought for the top. Now above a long drop, she latched the jug … but then she slipped.

    ***

    "It was a shitty accident, but an amazing day.”A few weeks ago, I was searching through Youtube, looking for a Weekend Whipper, when I came across a video titled Bee's Climbing Accident. As I played the video, I immediately recognized both Bee and the Sailing Hawks boulders, and watched in horror as she climbed to the top of a beautiful highball, only to plummet from the final moves. Her screams played through my headphones before the screen went black.

    Bee was a coworker of mine from my days spent slinging lattes at a Durango coffee shop. We’d pass the eight hour shifts rapping about our favorite thing—climbing. But that was pretty much the extent of our relationship, and when I moved we lost touch. Three months ago, however, I ran into her at the Ouray Ice Festival. Bee, wearing snow pants and a festive cloth lion's tail, was standing in a full blizzard near the base of Red Mountain Pass, hitchhiking back to Durango. I noticed was that she was using a cane. We spoke briefly, and I asked about the cane, which she said was the result of a climbing fall.


    After discovering the video of her accident (which she posted on the two-year anniversary of her fall) I felt the need to reconnect with Bee and hear the whole story.

    Bee, who chatted with me after seeing a doctor to schedule her third surgery since the accident, doesn't really know why she fell.

    "I don't remember how it happened," she said, "but I'm lucky because I could have hit my head."

    Bee does remember the impact. Her left foot hit the soft foam of the crash pad, but her right foot suffered a "solid impact" with the ground. Her talus bone was crushed, and she broke her tibia and fibula. Her partners quickly reacted, and using a shoelace to support her leg, "piggy-backed" her down trail.

    Because Bee is a perpetually positive person, she convinced herself that her injuries were just a bad sprain. Yet, the pain only got worse.

    The next day, Bee visited urgent care, where she was told that her injuries were so severe she needed to see a professional foot surgeon. On that same day, Bee flew home to Texas, and underwent a surgery that left her with seven screws and two plates in her leg.

    Bee's recovery hasn’t gone smoothly. A year after her first surgery, the screws loosened and she had a second operation. But the pain has never gone away.

    Despite suffering a life-changing fall, Bee remains positive.

    Morin latching the final jug just moments before she slipped."It was a shitty accident, but an amazing day," she said.

    When I asked what made that September day amazing, she explained that just before her accident, she had climbed that same highball problem—which she suspects is about V3—for the first time.

    "I was at the peak of my climbing," she says, "and I had worked on that problem a long time."

    Bee had topped out the boulder, and then decided to add a lower start. With her boyfriend filming from the top of the boulder, Bee went for the line a second time, and just barely missed the send, taking instead the worst fall of her life.

    For Bee, however, the moment she experienced before the accident—topping out a beautiful boulder problem she had put so much work into—had made that September day one of the "best days in my life."

    “To be honest there’s nothing I would do different,” she told me. “Everything happens for a reason.”

    ***

    Today, March 25, Bethany "Bee" Morin is going in for her third surgery where she will have all the metal in her leg removed. If the pain does not subside, and she cannot return to climbing, she will consider below the knee amputation.



    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello