British Climber Clings To Ledge By Fingertips… For Six Hours!

Here’s an amazing story of survival if I’ve ever heard one.

This past weekend, an unnamed 23-year old British climber, and his climbing partner, became stuck on a rock face known as the Giant’s Head Chimney, found on the 3,790ft Lochnagar. Apparently the lead climber reached an impasse and could no longer go up or down, stranding both men on the mountain, but fortunately, the second climber was able to find a safe ledge and make a call for help. That was at approximately 4 PM in the afternoon, and it would be six hours before they would be rescued, with the stuck climber clinging to the rock by his fingertips for the entire time.

Following the call, the RAF scrambled a rescue helicopter, with eight crew members, to the area, but it took some time to assemble the crew, fly to the region, and locate the missing climbers. When they did find them, a rescuer had to be lowered from the helicopter to retrieve the pair, while local police watched from the ground.

All told, the two men were stuck on the wall for six hours. Authorities say that the bottom climber was in good health and suffered no ill effects, and was in fact quite comfortable and warm on his ledge. The lead climber however, clung to the rocks for all those hours, exposed to temperatures that hovered around the 20ºF mark. As a result, he suffered mild frostbite and is now recovering from those effects.

The article says that the two climbers were both quite experienced and well equipped. They just happened to maneuver themselves into a position where they couldn’t move, and had to call for help. I guess there is a good lesson in there in that no matter how experienced you are and how much gear you bring, something can always go wrong.

Thanks to The Goat for the heads up on this story.

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “British Climber Clings To Ledge By Fingertips… For Six Hours!”

  1. Apparently he reached a point on the wall where he couldn't find any holds to continue up the face, and and also couldn't down climb either, possibly due to not being able to find the holds when moving backwards.

    Pure speculation on my part, but quite possibly what actually happened.

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