PROVO, Utah — Talon Kohler, 25, is a member of the Timpanogos emergency rescue team and was up there camping to evaluate the conditions, ready to respond to any emergencies, when he ended up needing to be rescued himself.
“I mean it definitely would’ve been a death sentence,” says Kohler.
This time, the rescuer needed rescuing.
“Kind of frustrating to think that we were supposed to be the ones checking it out and ended up getting hurt,” says Kohler.
While spending the weekend volunteering on Mount Timpanogos, monitoring the conditions and making sure hikers were safe, Kohler slipped in a snow field and ended up falling down a 30 foot waterfall.
“Once I started tumbling off that waterfall that was kind of that moment that hit me like you know like this is how people die mountaineering,” says Kohler.
Luckily, he landed on his backpack.
“Without the pack on to have cushioned me it could’ve easily been a life ending accident,” says Kohler.
He was with other search and rescue volunteers.
“Really blessed and really grateful to the guys on search and rescue who were willing to spend the night with me,” says Kohler.
They were medically trained and managed to keep him in good spirits despite the dire circumstances.
“We were kind of more and more worried that I might lose that leg because the bones aren’t supposed to be out of your body for so long so we joked about prosthetics and my name’s Talon which means eagle claw,” says Kohler.
After a night on the mountain, a helicopter hoisted Kohler to the emergency room where he was met by his wife, Katrina, and seven month old daughter, Sage.
With the trauma to his ankles, he may never get to ski and mountain bike like he used to, but Kohler’s not worried.
“He came out of surgery and he started talking about trying out some new hobbies and he’s totally okay with cutting back a little bit,” says Katrina Kohler.
He’s alive with his family and in time he’ll be back out on the mountain doing what he loves, but in the meantime, he hopes other people will realize that no no matter how prepared you are, the mountains can be extremely dangerous.
“A lot of people again think just because it’s so accessible it must be safe but you’re still in a wildness area at 11,000 feet so things can change pretty quick,” says Kohler.