Even the most experienced mountain climbers can have accidents due to circumstances beyond their control. Such was the case for one man climbing in February when a piece of ice sent him sliding.
His helmet camera was on though and he has released the footage in the hopes others might learn from his experience.
According to British Mountaineering Council, the man going by Mark R. was climbing in Parsley Fern Gully in Snowdonia (yes, there is a place called Snowdonia in Wales) on February 24. Mark is reported to be a lifelong climber who is also a safety consultant.
“You have to laugh sometimes,” Mark told BMC. “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.”
Watch the footage (Content warning for strong language):
In a Q&A with BMC, Mark explained that the ice that took him by surprise and sent him down the mountain came from a fellow climber who was trying to get good placement for his axe above.
When he started the slide, Mark said his initial instincts were not panic but to protect his neck and head and consider what was below him and how he could stop himself.
BMC asked Mark if he tried to “self-arrest,” a method of stopping oneself when no rope is involved. He said:
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. 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. It finished with a drop onto a bit of a ledge or hole where my pack and crampons took enough hold to stop me.
Once he stopped, Mark said he was missing his glasses and couldn’t see clearly. But noticing movement below, he gave a thumbs up so people knew he was “conscious and not too badly injured.” Although, he said his ankles hurt when moved.
Mark was rescued by Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team within 30 minutes after the fall. Now, he said he’s still “annoyingly immobile and bruised, but mentally fine.”
Read more from Mark’s Q&A with BMC here.