On October 11, while trying to recapture the Nose speed record, Quinn took a 100 foot fall halfway up El Capitan in Yosemite. She slipped toward the top of a formation called the Cowboy Boot Flake (which looks like a Cowboy Boot) and hit another formation called the Texas Flake. The Texas Flake is a massive feature that’s shaped like its namesake state. It’s a few feet wide and sits detached from the sheer face of El Cap by a few feet.
Valley locals for years had said this fall would be unsurvivable, but QuInndestructable proved them wrong. She lived. She broke a few ribs, had some internal injuries, and shattered her scapula — and miraculously has no brain damage.
What is devastating is that her T12 vertebrae exploded on impact, sending shrapnel throughout her spinal area. Quinn is now paralyzed from the waist down. Rehab and growing accustomed to her new life on wheels will be long, complex and expensive.
Quinn is currently at Craig Hospital in Denver, one of the best spine centers in the country. Surgeons have fused a number of vertebrae together in her back, and her progress has been remarkable. Lately she’s been stealing out the back door with her friends to go on wheelchair adventures — her tenacity is inspiring.
The Accident Location
Shortly after the accident, climbers Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds set a new speed record up The Nose on El Capitan — Brad is actually the subject of one of the short films in this film festival. Here is a video of them on the exact section of stone where Quinn’s fall occurred.
You can see them climbing up the Texas Flake, through a blank section of stone, and on to a crack on the right side of the Cowboy Boot Flake. Quinn fell from the top of the boot and smashed into the Texas Flake far below.
Visit The El Cap Report for a full text and photo essay of her rescue. Photographer Tom Evans is a vital part of the Yosemite climbing community and documents the goings on on El Capitan with a telephoto lens from the Valley floor.
Climbing Magazine published a brief report of her accident and rescue, which you can read here. Check it out to learn more about what happened as well as learn more about Quinn and her remarkable feats. She is a powerhouse!
Rock and Ice is another premiere media outlet in the climbing world, and the magazine recently ran a little story about Quinn’s recovery. Check this interview with her out to hear more of her thoughts on the accident and recovery.