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Injured Climber Remains In Coma

Thu., Aug. 24, 1995

Doctors are keeping track of the swelling in Brian Nelson’s brain, but friends and family says it’s his will power that will pull him through.

“He’s really strong and he’s stubborn as hell,” said Stephanie Crow, Nelson’s girlfriend.

Nelson is the only survivor from a group of three roped-together climbers who apparently slipped while descending from 14,411-foot Mount Rainier Sunday. He is in a coma in the intensive care unit at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, in critical but stable condition, breathing through a respirator.

Karl Ahrens and Scott Porter were killed in an accident that sent them careening 2,400 feet before slamming into a snow bridge across a crevasse on the Winthrop Glacier on the mountain’s north side. All three climbers were from Redmond.

Crow said Nelson hadn’t taken any mountaineering classes, but was very prepared for the climb and knowledgeable about climbing. “He has tons of books,” she said.

The 32-year-old University of Washington graduate is just weeks away from getting a master’s degree in business administration from Seattle University.

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