Climber falls 1,000 feet, lives
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
A climber who plunged 1,000 feet from one of Britain’s highest mountains — and walked away — is promising to climb Mount Everest later this year.
Adam Potter, of Glasgow, went home Monday, just days after he slipped on an icy patch off the summit of the 3,589 foot Sgurr Choinnich Mor in Scotland.
The 35-year-old tumbled down the steep slopes on Saturday, flying off cliffs. Rescuers found tattered bits of his clothing and equipment on outcrops stretching from the top to the bottom of the mountain.
Astonished rescuers found Potter standing up reading a map when they arrived. Convinced he was not the victim, they flew to the summit where Potter’s fellow hikers were waiting.
“But my mates pointed downhill ... and that’s when they realized I was the actual casualty, even though I was up and moving around,” he said.
Though he had broken his back in three places, Potter is still able to walk and was discharged from a Glasgow hospital Monday.
Royal navy Lt. Tim Barker, who was on the search and rescue helicopter, said the crew was convinced at first that Potter was not the victim.
“We honestly thought it couldn’t have been him, as he was on his feet, reading a map. Above him was a series of three high craggy outcrops,” Barker said. “It seemed impossible. So we retraced our path back up the mountain and, sure enough, there were bits of his kit in a vertical line all the way up where he had obviously lost them during the fall. It was quite incredible.”
Potter had been climbing in the Scottish Highlands with his three friends and his dog in preparation for an Everest trek later this year. He had just reached the summit, when he lost his footing and fell down the extremely steep and craggy slope of the mountain.
“I tried to slow myself down using my pole, but when I went over the last cliff, I thought I was done for. I felt I wouldn’t make it out of this alive,” he said.
Potter thinks he was knocked unconscious when he landed, but woke up and started collecting his scattered equipment. He said he was trying to orient himself with his map when the search and rescue helicopter arrived.
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