Panel discussion to focus on trauma from backcountry rescue and recovery

Apr 19, 2018

Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen train for backcountry missions last autumn.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio

5 Point Film Festival is underway in Carbondale, and the offerings go beyond adventure films.  On Saturday, 5 Point will co-host a discussion about the impacts of backcountry rescue missions.


Bobby L’Heureux has personal experience with the trauma that comes after losing a loved one in the backcountry. He founded the organization Big Heart Big Hands after his friend Jarod Wetherell died in a climbing accident on North Maroon Peak in 2014. There was an immediate community outpouring, but L’Heureux saw a need for continued support for survivors and first responders.  


“As far helping each other with trauma, I think that’s a sticky subject that none of us know how to deal with,” he said.

L’Heureux will be moderating a discussion Saturday that includes panelists with a range of first-hand experience. David Richardson was Wetherell’s partner who survived the incident on North Maroon. Krissy Timlin’s husband was killed in an avalanche, and Michael Ferrera is a former member of Mountain Rescue Aspen. They will be joined by Jessica Heaney, Big Heart Big Hands' trauma counselor.

The subject matter also hits home for 5 Point Film. Founder Julie Kennedy’s son, Hayden, and his partner Inge Perkins died after an avalanche in Montana early this winter. This is the first festival since that accident, and executive director Meaghan Lynch said it’s an opportunity for community conversation and healing.

“This festival in particular will have a lot of emotion tied to it, and we wanted to also be able to create the spaces for that emotion to be held,” she said.

The community is also grieving John Galvin, a Mountain Rescue Aspen member who was killed in an avalanche April 8.

The panel discussion takes place Saturday at 10:20 a.m. at the True Nature kiva in Carbondale.