7:25AM GMT 31 Jan 2011
So when the helicopter crew spotted Adam Potter on his feet and consulting a map 1,000 ft below the summit, they continued their search for an injured man.
In fact Mr Potter had fallen the entire way, dropping over three rocky crags, yet remarkably sustaining only relatively minor injuries.
The rescue team, alerted to their error by the 36-year old’s climbing companions, headed back down the slope of 3,589ft Sgurr Choinnich Mor to ferry him to hospital.
As his girlfriend and two friends watched in horror he plunged down a steep slope on and “flew” off three rocky crags before landing in snow.
He had fallen the height of the Eiffel Tower, leaving a trail of kit behind him, and yet had the composure to get out his OS map to find his location after a boulder ended his downward momentum.
Mr Potter, a landfill manager from Glasgow, was winched on to the helicopter and airlifted to the Southern General Hospital in his hometown of Glasgow where he was well aware yesterday of just how lucky he was.
The accident happened seconds after he turned to his girlfriend Kate Berry, 30, and said they should stop and put on their crampons and take out their ice axes because the snow was getting icy.
He then lost his footing and began tumbling out of control down the mountain while attempting to use his walking poles and his feet to slow his descent.
“When I first fell I was tumbling and falling, head first, then feed first, in different directions. I was out of control on a slope of ice and snow trying to slow myself down but then I would go over a cliff and go faster again.
“The helicopter crew told me I must have gone over three cliffs, and the last one was about 100ft. I don’t remember the first two but I remember the last one. I could see what was coming and at that point I thought it could be the end.”
He was still on a steep slope when he landed in snow but fell no further when he came to rest against a rock.
Mr Potter, an expert climber who also took his dog with him on the outing, a said he was unconscious for a short time and when he came round he tired to shout to his friends to say he was alive.
He put on a spare hat and gloves and had just got to his feet to look at the map when he heard the Royal Navy rescue helicopter.
The aircraft that rescued him was on a training exercise at the time and was at the scene within 30 minutes. When the crew saw him standing beneath three craggy outcrops they thought it could not possibly be him.
Lt Tim Barker, based at HMS Gannet, said: “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.
“It’s hard to believe that someone could have fallen that distance on that terrain and been able to stand up.
“Really an amazing result. I have to say, when we got the call and realised the details of where he’d fallen, we did expect to arrive on scene to find the worst-case scenario.”
When a paramedic was winched down to Mr Potter he was shaking from “extreme emotional shock and the sheer relief at being alive”.
He lost a lot of skin from his face, was suffering from sore shoulders which were wrenched by the rucsac on his back, suffered whiplash and chest pain and three minor breaks in his back, but was being treated as “walking wounded” yesterday.
However, Mr Potter said the experience had not put him off climbing and he plans to go ahead with an ascent of Everest in eight week’s time.
“I will be a little bit more cautious next time and perhaps a little bit safer,” he said. “But I could have slipped on the pavement going out the front door.
“The only difference is the consequences of slipping up there are greater because of the distance you can fall.”
Adam Potter, a Scottish mountaineer, survived after falling from a great height as British media reported. The incident occurred in one of the tops of the ‘Highlands’ of Scotland, near the highest point of the British Isles, Ben Nevis mountain (1343 meters), a popular destination for walkers and hikers.
The city of Glasgow for 35 years who was at the top among a group of 24 people, fell down a slope. According to rescue services, the mountaineer ‘almost flew, skimming rocks as well. ”
Upon receiving the signal, the rescuers began searching the man, and obviously none, according to later testimony, had hoped to find him alive, as they fell from a height of 305 meters.
You can imagine the surprise that they took during the rescue operation suddenly saw a man at the foot of the mountain looking at the map carefully. At first I could not believe that it was the same climber: he only had a few bruises and a few minor injuries.
While Lucky was very scared, not like a man who just fall off a skyscraper. According to rescuers on the way to hospital Potter gladly kept the conversation.
At this time the climber is on the Glasgow Southern General Hospital with minor trauma.
A climber who fell about 300 metres from the summit of a Scottish mountain is lucky to be alive, his rescuers say.
The helicopter crew sent to search for Adam Potter were astonished to find him standing up and reading a map.
Mr Potter lost his footing on Saturday and fell down the craggy and near-vertical eastern face of Sgurr Choinnich Mor, a 1094-metre-high mountain in the western Highlands.
The 36-year-old from Glasgow, part of a group of 24 climbers, was spotted at about 790 metres, making his tumble almost 300 metres 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.”
Mr Potter explained what happened.
“We got to an area where it is a bit more slippy and a bit icier, so I said ‘let’s get our crampons on and get the axes out behind that rock’, which was about five metres away, and as I walked towards the rock I slipped, and that’s when the fall began to happen,” he told the Press Association.
“The speed accumulated really fast. I was trying to slow myself down but every time I slowed myself down I would then go over a cliff edge, so I would get all my speed back, and then I would land on a slopier bit again and try to lose some more speed and then I would go over another cliff and so it went on.
“Towards the end I had almost lost all of my speed, then I actually saw what I was about to go over, which was one more cliff, and I actually thought that would be it. I thought that might have been the end on that one.”
Mr Potter added: “I had lost my hat and gloves and walking poles on the way down, so straight away I put on my spare hat, my spare gloves. I was OK for walking about at that point. The helicopter came down to my area, could see that I was alright because I was walking about, so thought it must be the guys on the top. So they went to the top but my mates pointed downhill, so it came back down to me and that`s when they realised I was the actual casualty, even though I was up and moving around.”
A paramedic winched down to check Mr Potter, 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”.
He was flown to a Glasgow hospital.
“He is lucky to be alive,” Lieutenant 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.”
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
his primary challenge = 17 = Inspirational. Staying positive. Hope springs eternal. Guardian angels. Miracle.
the most important thing he can do = AO = 16 = Shocks. Surprises. Expect the unexpected. Anything can happen.