Concord climber back at work after falling from Yosemite’s El Capitan

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A Concord adventurist planned a daylong climb, but halfway through, he fell and broke both legs.

It took some time, but he’s now back in the Bay Area and back to work.

It’s difficult for Hans Florine to stay still.

So although he’s wheelchair bound, he continues to get around as much as he can.

A week after falling from El Capitan in Yosemite, Florine is back to managing Diablo Rock Gym in Concord.

“I’ve got this crazy sit and wait mode right now,” Florine said.

The lifelong hiker knows it could be a dangerous sport, but in 35 years of climbing, he’s never needed rescue until last Thursday.

“I fell 20 feet right here, came down 200 feet,” Florine said. “The rescuers lowered from the top and pulled me out. I slept the night on top and the next morning a helicopter took me out. My partner Abe had to sleep on a tower a couple feet below us, and the next morning, he had to repel to the ground.”

Hans has done that same climb more than 100 times before. But this time, something was amiss.

“I had a piece at my ankles, and I reached up and put this piece in, tested it, it felt OK,” Florine said. “I unclipped my foot, and when I put all my weight on it, it went out.”

His safety rope caught him, but not before he hit a ledge 20 feet below and was about to fall even further.

He’s been a great sport the entire time.

“My left ankle, fib tib, and my right heel bone shattered into a bunch of pieces,” Florine said. “I’ve never had to deal with anything more weird than this. These go right to my tibia to keep it in place. These go into my ankle bone. I can’t wiggle my toes too much because they’re stuck to these bars.”

Hans is now waiting for the swelling to go down before surgery next week. He’ll probably be in a wheelchair for months.

It may be a year before his legs are back to 100 percent.

Hans tells KRON4 he does intend to go back to climbing, but he’ll be even more cautious than he was before.

Here is Florine’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hansflorine

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