Colorado woman thanks doctor who fixed her arm, enabling Mt. Everest summit

Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 12:26:18-04

AURORA, Colo. -- She’s on track to become the youngest American woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, which is reaching the north pole, the south pole and all seven summits.

Steamboat’s Kim Hess said her goal seemed to be derailed when she broke her arm during a fall on the descent of Denali in Alaska.

“I took a really funky step and some snow broke away and I fell on top of a crevasse and the rope that keeps you safe wrapped around my arm and just snapped,” Hess said. “That set back everything and it took four surgeries and two years to get back to normal, when there was doubt if that would ever happen.”

Hess had her surgeries done by Dr. Mickey Gordon, a hand surgeon at the University of Colorado Hospital, and gave him a picture and thank you card Monday, seeing him for the first time since her successful summit of Mount Everest.

“Thankfully, the hand surgeon that fixed me was a perfectionist and I demanded that he be a perfectionist because I had so much more that I wanted to do and I needed two hands that worked,” Hess said.

Her words to Dr. Gordon?

“Thank you, for giving me my life back,” Hess said.

Hess is featured in a new series of advertisements for UCHealth, giving her a platform to thank those who’ve helped her and spread the word that anyone can do anything they set their mind to.

If you would like to see her ad, you can visit


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