It’s every ice climber’s worst nightmare. The ice gives way leaving you free-falling toward the ground. Jon Freeman, an ice climbing guide in Alberta, Canada, survived such a fall recently when a massive free-hanging piece of ice he was climbing let go at the top.
EpicTV brings us the story and helmet cam footage of how Freeman miraculously survived this incredible fall with roughly 200 feet of free-hanging ice. It seems the landing was sloped in such a way that he rode on top of the ice and slid down the mountainside. In the end Freeman reports he skied back to the car with minor scrapes and bruises, and even climbed the next day. He calls it “shits and giggles.”
“We scare the heck out of ourselves and laugh about it afterward and it just keeps us coming back,” he says in the video.
Fellow climber Will Gadd, who was there at the time, says Freeman is not a reckless climber and took the best precautions he could.
“He’s not some yahoo that’s like ‘let’s ride the icicle.’ He’s anything but that,” Gadd said.
The free-hanging ice at Helmcken Falls was technical, though, to say the least. Approaching the roughly 200-foot piece of ice sheet representing tons of free-hanging ice, Freeman said it was less than the width of his shoulders to start. Moving toward the middle, he said, the structure swayed a little, something he’d never experienced. Then at the very top, he takes five swings with his ice hammer. Watch for yourself to see the dramatic footage.
“If you’re an ice climber, it’s going to leave you speechless,” Gadd said.