By: Seth Boster June 11, 2018
Mandy Horvath, the Colorado Springs double-amputee who crawled up the Manitou Incline two months ago, made the grueling ascent again Sunday evening. But this time, she wasn’t finished.
“We made it. We’re safe. We’re good,” the smiling University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student said in a video she posted to Facebook at 8:38 p.m., surrounded by supporters who followed her up the trail, which gains nearly 2,000 feet in less than a mile.
“Now,” Horvath continued, “another 4 miles to Barr Camp …”
Her mission: to reach the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak.
The team came short of Barr Camp, the mountain’s halfway point, before midnight. In a text message sent before noon Monday, Mandy said they were continuing past the camp. The goal was to spend the night at the A-frame shelter at timberline and finish the push to America’s Mountain on Tuesday.
“I have no fear she’ll do it,” said her father, Clay Horvath, as he made his way down the Incline on Sunday, comforted that experienced outdoors-people were following his daughter to the peak.
Said Mandy’s brother, Maverick, also in town from Smithville, Mo.: “She’ll do it or die trying.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Horvath sat on a bench at the base of the Incline, eyes trained on the crest of the mountain as the sun sank.
“Sorry,” she said. “Mom’s gonna worry.”
She eagerly sat up every time her phone beeped: another post from Mandy, updating her growing legion of social media followers.
The first Incline was intended to raise awareness of Limb Loss Awareness Month. Now Mandy is raising money for the Battle Buddy Foundation and Operation Ward 57, nonprofits committed to helping veterans wounded physically or mentally.
Mandy suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
On July 26, 2014, she says, she was slipped a date-rape drug and woke up on Nebraska railroad tracks, her legs crushed by a locomotive. After the amputation, she fell into a deep depression, showing no will until being inspired by athletes without legs.
She’s better than she was immediately after the accident.
“But she still has her lows and highs,” her father said. “She feeds off these kind of events.”
Sunday’s “Butt Scootin’ Boogie Birthday Bash” was celebrated by Incline hikers who praised Mandy as she went. Her mother cried, but she knew there was no changing the 25th birthday plans.
“She’s gonna go all the way up there. She’s gonna see the whole world,” Lisa said. “You go girl.”
Contact Seth Boster: 636-0332