June 10th, 2014
12:54 PM ET

Climber Escapes Death Three Times After 70-Foot Fall

Talk about resilience.

Western Kentucky University professor John All survived a 70-foot fall into a crevasse while climbing in Nepal in late May. He struggled for five hours to get out of the hole, made his way on a three-hour journey back to his tent, and then waited overnight for a helicopter to rescue him.

"I knew I was dead, but it was one of those things that, as long as there was a chance, I was gonna keep moving forward," he told CNN's Michaela Pereira on "New Day" Tuesday.

Even with a smashed face, broken ribs on his right side and the use of only one arm, All managed to film this video immediately after the fall:

He explained that taking the recording was crucial to his survival.

"Taking that video was sort of an affirmation I was gonna be getting back out," All said.

And while bloodied and bruised, these are the obstacles he overcame to make it out of Nepal alive:

Step One: Get out of the crevasse

While conducting climate research on Mount Himlung in the Himalayas, Dr. All fell into the 70-foot crevasse.

A ledge stopped his descent, but there he was, stuck with his ribs broken on his right side.

He described the climb out of the hole "with just my right foot, but not the upper part of my right leg, and my left leg, and then my left arm."

"I kept moving sideways, slightly up, sideways, slightly up, until I found an area where there was enough hard snow that I could get an ax in and pull myself up and over."

All fell into the crevasse at 9:30am and it took him five hours to escape.

He credited the daylight for keeping him motivated during this ordeal.

"I was super lucky because I went in so early. It's a bright day. Why would you stop when the sunlight is so close?"

Step Two: Get back to the tent 

So what's next? After All got out of the crevasse he had to crawl and walk another three hours to reach the tent.

Once there, he was able to send the communication that he needed to be rescued.

Step Three: Wait for the helicopter

Once that message was received by his research team, the helicopter didn't get to him for 18 hours.

All explained that because of the weather in Nepal, there's horrible cloud coverage in the Himalayas and so there are times planes can't fly. He had to wait overnight so the helicopter could fly early in the morning and not "smack into a mountain."  

After everything,  All was discovered and flown to Kathmandu and transferred to a hospital there.

He is scheduled to go in for surgery on his shoulder on Wednesday.

So is he done climbing forever?

Nope – All's got an expedition planned to Peru in about three weeks.


If you survived something like this, do you think you'd climb again? 


READ: U.S. climber survives 70-foot fall in Nepal: 'Any mistake ... I was going to die'

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Climber

    Here's a better tally:

    Out walking by himself–mistake #1. Tenting alone–mistake #2. Not carrying satcom gear–mistake #3. Getting himself in a spot where others had to risk their lives to get him–priceless.

    June 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Reply

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