Into the void
April 11, 2021.
It’s a perfect morning and Josh Ourada hears a definite call.
It is the walls that call it, those majestic and mammoth sheer walls that are found on the Manure Pile Buttress. Yosemite Park, California.
Josh knows her well. He has already been enchanted by it.
It seems to support the sky, with its 150 meters of height.
Previously he had tackled the classic 5.8 route called Nutcracker.
It had been exciting, albeit with the help of the ropes.
Now Josh feels more confident in his abilities. He can do it, he must. Nutcracker is to be conquered in free solo today, on that radiant morning of April 11th.
The first three pitches go smoothly.
Josh occasionally looks up.
Respects but does not fear Nutcracker. His personal conquest is close, very little.
In a moment, everything changes. A scream, a fall. A dull noise.
Josh finds himself on a ledge five meters below. The fourth pitch was decisive but not fatal.
The presence of other climbers guarantees his survival, calling for help immediately.
Cole Ramey, climber present at the time of the accident, later reported: “I was on a ledge at the top of [Nutcracker’s] second pitch … I had to jump off because [Ourada] almost landed on me. I spent the next 4 hours holding him until he was recovered from there. Definitely the craziest experience of my life, I can’t believe it’s alive “.
Ramey stays with Josh until the helicopters arrive.
He is even more traumatized than Ourada himself.
“I stayed conscious throughout the fall- I tried to grab anything and did everything I could to grab a hold or slow down the fall. I came out with a compound fracture of my left heel, a major injury to my left foot, a fractured pelvis, a broken L1 vertebra and ribs, a collapsed lung and a broken thumb. I still have no sensitivity in my fingers and I cannot move my toes or the pelvis area ”. His was neither the first nor the last on the Nutcracker.
Josh wrote this on his Instagram account, chronicling the terrifying flight into the void. After some time, the risk of paralysis is unfortunately still very real, yet the young man does not give up on dreaming.
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