Published August 17, 2012
A Colorado woman has become a YouTube sensation for taping her dramatic tale of survival after sustaining a horrific ankle injury while scaling down the side of a Wyoming mountain.
Alexandra "Lexi" DeForest, 21, of Fort Collins, told FoxNews.com of the frightening hour she spent alone on the side of a Vedauwoo, Wyo., mountain, with her ankle broken as she awaited help.
"When I filmed myself, I didn't want to feel anxious. I guess it was to take my mind off of what had happened, and to give myself some peace in knowing that I was still level-headed," the Colorado State University senior said by phone.
"Speaking out loud and my stream-of-consciousness settled me," she added. "I was talking about my loved ones and my dog. Anything to keep me from staring at my ankle. It was pretty gross."
In the video — posted to YouTube Wednesday and viewed more than 21,000 times — DeForest first pans the camera to her mangled ankle, and then coolly adds, "Oh, So this is me. I just broke my ankle. Eww. second time now.
"Come on Lexi," she said, "you would think you would be better at this by now, this walking thing.
"This is me moving my foot, and it's really gross. I'd show you more but if I looked at it, I might vomit on myself. And no one wants to see that. But, I don't know first-aid for a foot that is not attached to your ankle. Um, I am doing the best I can."
The misadventure began when DeForest and friend, Erik Henry, set off on a camping trip from CSU's campus to a campsite 90 minutes away.
They arrived at 5 p.m., and quickly alighted on a hike to the top of a nearby rock formation.
"It wasn't dark yet, and we wanted to watch the sunset from the top of the rock formation," DeForest explained. "That was our main goal. We were pretty much chasing the sun all the way up the mountain."
Once the sun had set, the duo had a snack and set off to camp.
"The rocks weren't all that steep and [were] pretty grippy," she said Friday. "That's why we didn't wear our hiking boots. And we came to this trench eight-feet deep and about six-feet across.
"[Erik] was setting up to take a picture of me jumping over the trench. He had already the jumped [it] and I had taken a picture of him," she said. "And so, I was getting close to the edge to see if I could do it, checking my limits. I know what I can and can't do. I got close to the edge and slipped in and fell in.
"I had a moment of freaking out. I looked at my ankle at it was detached. I felt blood all over me, my knees and elbows were cut, and my plan immediately was to crawl down the mountain."
Crawling proved too painful, so Henry carried DeForest before his muscles tired. Then and at DeForest's prodding, he left his friend to summon help. It was a little after 8 p.m.
It was then that DeForest recalled the camera in her bag, and created the popular video.
"The good thing is that I can't feel it," she tells viewers to the clip. "You can't be mad at that.
"Yeah, the bone isn't really attached. It's truly something. So, I think this is the only way I can put it, but I am [expletive] scared. I am really scared.
"But in the calmest, coolest sense. Um, Thank you, Chris, for telling me to get my fishing license because you know what that means...that means I get free search and rescue."
Now alone in the wilderness, DeForest recalled how she yelled, 'Help' and called out, 'Anybody?'
"No one responded ... I had a lot of faith in Eric. I think it was, 'Hey, I just wanted to capture how composed I was, because I was surprised at how composed I was. I guess, in the end, I just wanted a piece of evidence to show how traumatic this event was."
At the end of the 6-minute clip, viewers listen as DeForest calls out to Henry, at that point returning with the camp site director.
Shortly afterward, she said, paramedics arrived and airlifted her to Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo. She was released Wednesday night.
Friday found her safe-and-sound in the off-campus home she shares with two friends, awaiting Monday's start of the semester.
"I showed [the video] to Erik and Morgan and Abby and they all thought it was hilarious, and I showed it to friends-of-friends and they thought it was funny," DeForest told FoxNews.com.
"I had already posted the picture of my foot that they took at the hospital on Facebook, and then I figured the next step in this whole process of updating people to my progress by uploading the video."
She attributes her amazing calm to "the fact that I knew Erik would find someone to save me. I put all my trust in Erik, and not for a second did I think that he would come back empty-handed."
The incident has derailed her plans to study abroad in the Czech Republic during the fall semester. But DeForest explained that much good has come of the affair. She and Henry, she said, are now dating.
"It's has over 20,000 views right now and it's kind of crazy how it's taken off," she said of her video. "I'll get to Prague in the summer. All in all, I'm OK."