By JON BOWMAN
DENVER - A Colorado man's family and friends are sharing a remarkable story about how he survived a potentially deadly fall. The 21-year-old gymnast not only survived a 100-foot fall off Saint Mary's Glacier, but landed on his feet.
That man is Dylan Schuetz, and he was hiking the popular glacier just over 10 miles northwest of Idaho Springs in the Arapaho National Forest with two friends on Aug. 13 when he tripped and slid down a rock face before toppling head-first over the 100-foot cliff.
Schuetz is now listed in stable condition at St. Anthony's Lakewood, following an accident while free climbing on the glacier in Clear Creek County.
"I was showing him different lines across the face of the mountain, when suddenly he slipped and began falling more than 100 feet to what could have been a rocky grave," said climbing partner Cody Tengler. "I looked over my other shoulder and could see him just tumbling down the side of the mountain. He was trying to grab onto things as he was rolling by to no avail. But, I will say his tumbling and gymnastic skills kept him focused – I could see him trying to find a 'focus-point' to land on."
His other friend, Matt Campbell, also a trained tumbler/cheerleader, says, "Dylan was putting his arms up, pulling his head back, which helped keep his spine and back from being severely injured. He did sustain a concussion and some back damage, but nothing that left him paralyzed or anything. He was broken up badly from ribs to legs, but overall, he is in pretty good shape."
The trio of friends all tumbled for the Denver Broncos, and both Matt and Cody say that training probably were critical in keeping their friend alive... the tumble-spotting he was doing on the fall no doubt kept him alive they say. Friday, Dylan was set to undergo his 5th or 6th surgery, but the friends are very impressed with how quick the recovery is going.
To help pay for medical expenses, Dylan's friends have set up a GoFundMe page. Friends also say the first responders deserve all the credit for helping to save Dylan's life. They landed the medical helicopter just a few hundred feet from where crews were removing Dylan from the mountain.