Mishap Leaves Adventure Sports Star Stranded in Utah Desert

Mishap Leaves Adventure Sports Star Stranded in Utah Desert


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DENVER (AP) -- A Colorado star in the world of adventure sports is set to undergo surgery Tuesday after a severe injury that left her stranded in a Utah desert for 52 hours in frigid temperatures.

Danelle Ballengee, 35, of Dillon, was on a short trail run outside Moab last week when she slipped on an icy ledge and tumbled 60 feet to the desert below. The fall shattered her hip and left her immobile and far from help.

The temperature hovered near 20 degrees and Ballengee spent two nights alone in the desert.

"The more I think about it the more I realize how lucky I was," Ballengee said in a phone interview Monday. "I wasn't ready to die."

She called for help without success and survived by drinking from a puddle near where she landed.

It was more than two days later when rescue crews spotted her dog, a 3-year-old mutt named "Taz", and followed him back to the injured runner.

A member of the Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame, Ballengee is considered among the best adventure sports competitors in the world. She's a four time winner of the grueling Pikes Peak Marathon and has been on the winning team in three Primal Quest multi-day adventure races.

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Information from: Summit Daily News

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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