Date of Surgery: 2/2/2012
Update (3/2013): Wesley recently returned from Argentina after guiding 3 expeditions on Aconcagua.
I live in Jackson Wyoming and have been a professional mountain guide for 19 years. My route to a life in the mountains originated strangely enough from growing up as a surfer on the coast of South Carolina. As it became more difficult to find adventure surfing on the increasingly crowded and small waves of the east coast I started to travel and surf elsewhere. In college I became friends with a like minded Aussie surfer who had just discovered rock climbing in the mountains of North Carolina. My first trip climbing made me realize adventure could always be found in the mountains. In a short time, I moved to the alpine paradise of Jackson Hole Wyoming. It is here that I discovered ski mountaineering and set my sights on adventure skiing and climbing. My life would from that point on be dedicated to mountain adventures and ultimately to a career in guiding that has taken me on more than 30 expeditions to the great mountain ranges of the world, and many notable adventures ranging from difficult rock and ice climbs, remote and arduous ski traverses, steep ski descents, high altitude expeditions, and even an attempt to ski one of the highest peaks in the world, Cho Oyu in Tibet.
Shortly after my busy guiding season in 2011 I began to have severe pain in my right hip. I was unable to walk more than a very short distance and was in constant pain. I discovered that my hip was destroyed from arthritis, and a hip replacement was my only real choice outside of living virtually crippled. My career and life as I knew it was in real jeopardy. I grappled with what to do, but my financial situation excluded any major surgery. Through a fellow mountain guide I was made aware of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. Suddenly I had some hope! I made contact with the foundation and was rapidly sent the materials I needed to apply for acceptance as a candidate of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. I am very lucky in that the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation accepted me as a candidate and pledged to help me financially through all aspects of the surgery and aftercare.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
It has been a month now since my hip replacement. I am recovering well, beyond my expectations really! I am walking and without pain. I am focused on my recovery and really see no reason why I won’t be back to sharing my love of adventure in the mountains, guiding clients up the Grand Teton this summer, and yes skiing on the wild snow in the mountain ranges across the globe. After 6 months of rehabilitation, I will be able to return and fully participate in my career as a mountain guide.
"Without the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation my life as a mountaineering guide would not be possible. I cannot thank you enough!"
- Wesley Bunch