LONDON — A climber who fell around 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the summit of a Scottish mountain is lucky to be alive, his rescuers said.
The helicopter crew sent to search for the man were astonished to find him standing up and reading a map.
The man lost his footing on Saturday and fell down the craggy and near-vertical eastern face of Sgurr Choinnich Mor, a 3,589-foot (1,094-meter) high mountain in the western Highlands.
The unnamed 35-year-old from Glasgow, part of a group of 24 climbers, was spotted at around 2,600 feet (790 meters), making his tumble almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the summit.
A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter reached the scene 35 minutes later and spotted a man at the bottom of the slope.
“We honestly thought it couldn’t have been him, as he was on his feet, reading a map,” said Lieutenant Tim Barker, the crew’s observer.
“It seemed impossible. So we retraced our path back up the mountain and, sure enough, there were bits of his kit in a vertical line all the way up where he had obviously lost them during the fall.
“It was quite incredible. He must have literally glanced off the outcrops as he fell, almost flying.”
A paramedic winched down to check the man, who appeared to be unscathed beyond some superficial cuts and bruises and a minor chest injury,
He was said to be “shaking from extreme emotional shock and the sheer relief at still being alive”.
The man was flown to a Glasgow hospital.
“He is lucky to be alive,” Barker said.
“It’s hard to believe that someone could have fallen that distance on that terrain and been able to stand up at the end of it, let alone chat to us in the helicopter.”