A climber says he’s lucky to be alive after he survived a terrifying plunge down a crevasse after scaling Mount Rainier in the US state of Washington.
Graham Parrington and his team had just made it to the top of Washington’s largest mountain and were heading back down when Mr Parrington fell nine metres through a crack in the ice.
“We were on our way back down, we’d gotten past the most dangerous parts and we could see our tents,” Mr Parrington told CNN.
“And all of a sudden I disappeared into a crevasse.
“I was smashing through melting layers of snow, which broke my fall a bit. I got to the bottom and I was dangling above a giant blade of ice.”
Mr Parrington’s climbing partner Christopher Poulos told Komo News the climber vanished in an instant.
“Graham was chatting and in front of me and all of sudden ‘poof’ — disappeared into the glacier,” Mr Poulos said.
Mr Parrington told Komo News he took a selfie when he realised he wasn’t going to die.
“For me, it was just happy to be alive,” he said.
While Mr Parrington had climbed the mountain before, his team were less experienced and needed a second team to help them get him to safety.
He waited in the dark, freezing conditions until they could get help. He said a drain hole beneath him was so deep he couldn’t see the bottom.
But with his team’s help he was able to fashion a pulley system that he used to inch himself to the top.
“When I got to the top, I’d never been so happy to be blinded by the sunlight,” Mr Parrington told CNN.
The entire team managed to continue their descent — although another team member almost fell through another crevasse on the way down.
“I don’t think any of us are in a hurry to get back onto a glacier,” Mr Parrington said.