Climb a Mountain, Tumble 1000ft and Survive

This weekend news headlines read “man falls 1000ft from mountain”, the mountain in question was Sgurr Choinnich Mor, around 5 miles east of Ben Nevis. The climber in question was Adam Potter, an experienced climber from Glasgow.

Sgurr Choinnich Mor
Sgurr Choinnich Mor, The Aonachs and Bealach Coire Easain – Source Flickr by pamilne

At 2.30pm on Saturday, just moments after reaching the summit Adam began to fall. As his friends looked on in horror Adam tumbled down the mountain 1000ft, approx 300m and 1/3 of the mountain’s height, glancing off 3 craggy outcrops. As he tumbled off each outcrop Adam must have felt almost like he was flying as he plummeted.

Eventually Adam came to rest in a nook 1000ft from the summit. Whilst all this was happening Adam’s friends had called the emergency services. Soon a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter was on the scene scouring the area for what they believed would be a very injured man. However, after following the trail of gear Adam had left behind when tumbling down the near vertical face of the mountain, they found Adam stood looking at a map seemingly not injured.

The Sea King took Adam to the hospital where he was found to have fractured just a few bones (including some in his spine) and a few bruises. Both Adam and the Sea King crew have said how amazed they are that he had not sustained more severe injuries or died from this fall.

Adam has spoken to several media outlets over the weekend including the Daily Mail, where Adam told of how he believe it was his rucksack that saved his life. Adam told the newspaper:

I reckon I hit the side about half a dozen times altogether on the way down. I don’t remember much of it, but I must have gone in all directions – head first, feet first, on my tummy…

I’m pretty sure my rucksack saved my life. It stopped my head hitting the ground. I looked in my bag later, and my saucepans were all dented and my food supplies were all smashed.

The newspaper also spoke to the Sea Kings observer, Lt. Tim Barker who said:

We began to hover-taxi down the slope and spotted a man at the bottom, standing up. 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. It seemed impossible.

Lt. Barker also added that Adam was very lucky to still be alive, let alone not to have sustained any major injuries.

All in all, I think we can all see just how lucky Adam has been with this fall and not being seriously injured. I hope that with this story in the news it will awaken any climber who has become complacent with saftey of themselves or the group they are with, safety should always be the priority and not the climb. It is of course much better to be alive and safe than injured or even dead.

So before you go off on your next climb or mountain hike, double check all of your climbing and hiking gear. And finally, if anything is in question, think carefully before you go ahead and climb.


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