On May 4, 2013, Durango climber Rosa Post was paralyzed from the waist down after a fall in the Bridger Jack Towers of Indian Creek, Utah. She was 23 at the time of her accident.
One year later, surrounded by a group of friends, she returned to southeastern Utah to celebrate the community of support around her, by cycling, paddling the Colorado River, and once again ascending another desert tower. A close friend and roommate, Nick Chambers made a film to tell the story.
“When she asked me to do it, I thought it'd be fun to do the whole trip, but it's the whole experience,” Chambers said. “It's remarkable that all of these people who just had their lives turned upside down have really rallied together to help Rosa, and one another, to get over this thing.”
The documentary, entitled One Year Later, has seen heavy internet circulation. Cut from a different cloth than most adaptive sports films, at 22 minutes in length, not only did Chamber make the film about his friends, but he made it for them.
“I didn't want to cut things out,” he said. “I wanted it to be true to the experiences of the people, the people who were affected by this accident.”
The film documents not only Post's recovery, and her return to enjoying the outdoors, but how those closest to her reacted to the accident.
Craig Young was with her when it happened. In the film, he recalls the very moment.
“Instantaneous shock set in,” he said. “I was like, 'what is happening.' The first thing she said to me was, 'Oh, my God, I cant feel my legs, Craig, I cant feel my legs.'”
Her friend, Abbie Wehner, was in Durango hosting a BBQ and waiting for Post and Craig to return when she got a phone call from Young at a hospital in Grand Junction.
“Actually, we're not alright,” he told her.
She then found a quiet place to call Post's best friend, Lillian Goodman.
“We had a ton of people over,” Wehner said. “I remember going into the bathroom and standing in the bath tub to call Lilly, Standing in this bathtub, looking out the window trying tell one of her best friends that her friend has just had this accident. It was one of the hardest phone calls I've ever had to make.”
One year later, and Post and several of her friends, and even a few new ones, found themselves in Moab.
Now 25, Post said she can remember the fall, but is more interested in living in the moment.
“I just felt like I could sit at home and not really think about it or I could make something of it and try to have fun. It's not a fun situation, but (I wanted) to do something to celebrate the people around me and what everyone has done.”
Initially Post's idea was centered around completing a set of challenges; climbing, paddling and cycling, and she did that, but it quickly became a way to give thanks.
“It's incredible to have this community of friends that I do,” she said. “It really showed, when all this stuff happened, these people really are here. That was pretty cool. So I wanted to have this long weekend party for these people. It just had to have some sort of goal to accomplish.”
Caroline Goodman, Lillian Goodman's sister and close friend of Post's left school a week early to be with her.
“This was something that was felt by a community of young people who are also figuring out their lives,” she said in the film. “To watch someone change like this an be able to move forward, it's life changing for everybody witnessing it.”
And Post has moved forward. She said though much has changed, mush has stayed the same. She still cycles. She still skis, but she said there is more to life now.
“My life looks really different than it did two years ago,” she said. “It's not any less full, Just different.”
She said for the film, she wanted Chambers to capture one thing.
“I didn't want this movie to say 'this is about me,'” she said. “I was trying to say I was able to do this because of the people around me. It wasn't easy either.”
Chambers said he wanted to show how powerful friendships can be.
“It's about how you can heal,” he said. “Something can go from being this gapping hole of sadness to being a badge of resilience.”
Post has also since become a source of inspiration to many.
“So many people become up to me and say, 'I though about Rosa when I was climbing today,' or 'I was scarred when I was biking and I thought about Rosa.'” Wehner said.
Young said a river paddle on the Colorado was an appropriate way to culminate everyone's experience.
“How awesome of way to end the trip,” he said. “One year later, her life is different, but she's doing so much with it. Things keep going, and she's still making us all laugh.”