Around 3:00 p.m. on August 17, longtime climber Minko Nikolov, 31, was struck by lightning while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park between Lower and Emerald Lake. His smoking body was discovered by hikers and he was quickly airlifted to a hospital in Loveland, Colorado.
Nikolov reportedly sustained sustained burns to 30% of his body. His shoulder was dislocated and mouth had to be wired shut during a five hour surgery.
“Currently I am in pain,” he told Rock and Ice. “I’ve had two surgeries so far I’m waiting for the next step, which is (currently) unknown.”
At this time, his prognosis is unclear and doctors have been conservative with their predictions. Still, three days following the surgery Nikolov was sitting up and mustering a smile.
One friend posted on Facebook: “Not even 30,000 amps of electricity can keep this crazy Bulgarian down! Good to see our faithful friend @mean_co psyched as always after surviving a freakin’ lightning strike to his right shoulder! So crazy. In RMNP between Lower and Emerald, on the main trail that many of us have hiked hundreds of times. Feeling thankful for Minko and his mojo… Still cracking jokes and chattin’ away with his jaw wired shut! That’s our dude tho. ??? ❤️ Props to all the friends/climbers who have stopped by… his nurse said, “He’s a popular guy!” #minkoswag. Anywho, love you homie. Stay positive and you’ll be back housing fools on the Moon Board in no time! ?????⚡️.”
Nikolov’s strength in the aftermath of the lightning strike is no surprise to those who know his climbing abilities—he has been known to do front levers hanging just from his index fingers.
Hear From the Hiker Who Found Nikolov in the Video Below