OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Salt Lake therapist awarded Carnegie Medal of Heroism

Mar 26, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: 7:55 am

River Barry received the Carnegie Medal of Heroism for saving a base jumper's life....

River Barry received the Carnegie Medal of Heroism for saving a base jumper's life back in 2022. (Carnegie Hero Fund Commission)

(Carnegie Hero Fund Commission)

MOAB, Utah — The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded their Carnegie Medal of Heroism to a Salt Lake City therapist after a day of mountain biking turned into rock climbing to save a life.

Taking control of a crisis

On Nov. 26, 2022, River Barry was in Moab, mountain biking. There she saw a base jumper, who slammed into a sheer, rock wall and was dangling by his parachute, 80 feet off the ground.

An avid rock climber, Barry luckily had her climbing gear with her. She initially gave her gear to someone who she thought was going to save the man. 

“I was going to belay and he was going to go up there and save this person and I was going to support him,” Barry said. 

But, she had more climbing experience and ended up doing it herself. 

She had never climbed the area, and she said it was very challenging.

“The rock had never been climbed before… it was very dirty and crumbly,” she said. 

Barry managed to safely lower the unconscious man to the ground.

“It wasn’t like, ‘oh, should I or should I not,’ or ‘can I or can I not.’ It’s like ‘I’m the only one here and I’m going to try to do this,'” she said. “You’re just in go mode.” 

The aftermath

Through this experience, Barry learned that humans have an incredible capacity to get things done when things go wrong. She said it’s important for everyone who does extreme sports to train for all types of situations, for maximum preparation. 

Barry and the man she saved have become close friends, and she even visited him at his home in Australia.

The Carnegie Medal of Heroism is awarded to people across North America, who “risk death or serious physical injury to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others,” according to their website. They recognized Barry along with 17 other individuals this month.

Continue reading: Four-legged heroes: From puppy to avalanche rescue dog

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Salt Lake therapist awarded Carnegie Medal of Heroism