Professor rocks on despite injury

Alex Tallant reaches a summit at the Mentmore climbing area in Gallup, NM
Alex Tallant reaches a summit at the Mentmore climbing area in Gallup, NM

by Kevin Mullet / NM News Port

Alex Tallant tells a story of a harrowing adventure
Alex Tallant has been rock climbing for over forty years and continues to do so at every opportunity.

Some people live to work.  Others work to live.  Navajo Technical University Developmental English Professor Alex Tallant falls into the latter category.  For 40 years, Alex has been challenging himself by rock climbing throughout the United States.  

As we all look for ways to counter the cabin fever we’ve acquired during the pandemic, Alex shares the exhilarating story of one of his rock climbing adventures with News Port’s Kevin Mullet.

NM News Port / Kevin Mullet: “I’ll ask the obvious question, how did you get started?

Alex Tallant: “In the 70s, we were doing a lot of LSD, and after a while, LSD wasn’t enough, and I needed more.  And I had been backpacking, and I always loved backpacking. The next level was climbing. So that provided me with a rush that I couldn’t get from substances.

Thirty years in, Alex had a harrowing experience.

I broke my femur in a rock fall about 10 years ago, when I was about 53. So we were developing routes in a canyon in the Zuni mountains. And I took a fall and hit the ground and broke my leg.  I was in a state where I couldn’t rescue myself, and my partner couldn’t rescue me. So he had to go out and get people, a bunch of volunteers came out. It’s a very moving experience for me, a very humbling experience because I couldn’t help myself. “

Aside from the injury itself, the experience was life-affirming.

We’re really too vain to ask for help. When I was being evacuated, I actually started crying. Not because of pain, just because of the compassion of the other people. You know, I didn’t know anybody. They were all strangers, and yet they spent a whole day getting me out.”

Thank you, Alex, for sharing this moving story.