A mountain climber is probably feeling pretty lucky after surviving a terrifying, 100-foot fall down an icy slope. Outfitted with a GoPro camera, he managed to record the entire accident in a short video (above).
Yahoo! News reports that Mark Roberts, 47, suffered a broken ankle and bruising but was not seriously injured during the rough-and-tumble descent down Parsley Fern Lefthand Gully, in the Snowdonia region of Wales, on Feb. 24. The approximately 60-second slide began when Roberts was hit by a chunk of falling ice, visible in the recording of the incident.
Roberts was subsequently rescued by the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, which used a helicopter to fly him to safety, according to the Daily Post.
— Bryn Williams (@BrynWilliamsMIC) February 24, 2013
In an extended interview with the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) published earlier in March, Roberts described what went wrong so future climbers can learn from his harrowing experience.
Roberts explained that he and two two friends were making the ascent together, but that he had been waiting a short distance below them at the time of the accident. The dangerous piece of ice was dislodged when one of the climbers above him attempted to "get good axe placement."
As he began to fall, Roberts said he concentrated on protecting his head and neck.
"Once both axes were gone, it was arms, hands, legs and feet in the less consolidated snow on the slope to try and slow my speed," he told the BMC. "Fortunately I slid into a rocky outcrop on my left with a bit of a thump, which took some of the momentum out of my decent, resulting in a bit of a spin, but I could still look for opportunities below for a point to stop."
“You have to laugh sometimes,” Roberts also said in the interview, “but, seriously, even with experience of risk assessment and making decisions, sometimes things just happen. When it all happens so quickly, you just try not panic and hope there’s some luck with you."
Mountain climbing is an exciting but sometimes risky pastime, as past falls have proven. In January of 2011, a mountain climber fell close to 1,000 feet from one of Britain's highest mountains and lived to tell the tale. But a climber on Alaska's Mount McKinley was not so lucky last spring, tumbling close to 1,100 feet to his death in May.