Suddenly I slipped and fell over. My leg had a horrible shooting pain through it. The snow storm had made it impossible to see where we were walking, I hadn’t noticed the edge of the crevasse I called to Simon “Help. I think I have broken my leg.” Simon ran across to me and yanked a rope out of his backpack. He tied the rope around my waist and pulled me to my feet.
Simon followed behind as I limped in the snow trying to get back to base. As exhausted as I was, I was still trying my best to get back. The pain was unbearable, so I wasn’t concentrating on where I was treading. In a flash I tumbled into a precipice. I was terrified what was going to happen next.
I felt something go loose. I shouted to Simon “What’s happening?” There was no reply…. I tugged on my rope hoping to get Simon’s attention. Then a few seconds later the rope fell down before me.
I tried to find something in the snow to hold on to but I kept on like a distressed bird with a broken wing. Then as I was falling my life flashed before me I kept falling back until my head smashed against a freezing cold ice cave.
[Spellings amended by teacher]
Climbing down the mountain me and Simon were heading back to base camp.
Everything was going well for me and Simon. We had managed to climb to the top of the Siula Grande and we were on the way back down. “Not a long way to go now” but as I said those words the snow slipped from beneath my feet. I fell and broke my leg. It was the most painful experience I’ve ever faced in my 25 years of climbing.
“I’m OK” but it was as if my words hated me, I slipped and slided over the edge of the precipice. I cannot describe my fear as I fell over the edge. It was not only that, my leg was getting worse. Swinging like a pendulum, I was clutching my leg for warmth. Simon was up there gripping the rope for my life, he looked like he was so worn out, I saw him let go the rope and with one hand, He was going to cut the rope, suddenly I saw a knife appear out of the bag, 5 seconds later I was falling like a dive, towards some ice. CRASH!!!! I hit the ice. I was in the void…..
Climbing on Siula Grande my fried Simon and I were tracking our way up the mountain. When we got to the sumit I fell and broke my leg. I was tumbling down slowly realising what is happening – I am not going to get off this mountain. Simon came chasing after me. We carried on I was hopping but then I had a second fall.
Hanging off with a broken leg about 1000 metres off the ground was not the greatest thing but it was better than dieing. I called up “pull, pull, can you hear me?” No answer.
Then I heard a rustle like a backpack.
Then it happend I heard a knife slash and the next thing I knew I was falling. The mountain suddenly chanted ‘DIE, DIE, DIE”
I was now soaring through the sky . Spontaneously my life flashed in front of me, boom, crash, bang. I thought I was dead but my leg was still broken.
I fought against the snowy wind, my head dizzy I could not think. I just crawled on my elbows hoping I won’t hert myself anymore. It took me 12 days to get back to camp. They took me strait to hospital. They said I had to have my leg chopped off.
I had been dangling over the drop for an hour. I was like a light turning on and off as I was drifting in and out of consciousness. I was thinking about my family and all the good times. I thought how many lives Siula Grande has claimed. Siula Grande, a bringer of death. I could hear the wind whistling and groaning. I could taste the bitterness on the wind, there was very little oxygen because we were very high up. I sniffed the fresh and bitter air, I felt a thrill of adrenalin.
The never-ending silence threatened to cut me up and eat me alive. I dangled over the mountain like a dead tuna fish on an old fishing line, it felt like I was about about to fall. My leg was hurting so much it was like a thousand icicles in my leg. The freezing cold wind whipped at me like a frost devil waving around. The avalanche whipped me like a wild horse forced to go faster. Every second a gust of frost poured over me. It was like the wind was really raging with anger.
A few seconds later I shouted to Simon to try and pull me up. He shouted back I can’t. Then Simon remembered that he had an ice-pick in his bag. It took an age for him to get it out but he found it.He was holding all my weight. I kept saying pull me up, help. Then the next thing I knew I was falling down the mountain!!!!! I couldn’t believe it, my own friend cut me. Suddenly I landed with a big bbbbbuuuuummmmmmppppppppp. I was alive.
Swirling round and round the rough, misty wind was all I could see from down below. The white snow came flying down like little jets who were crash landing. I hoped I wouldn’t have the same ending. I tried to tell myself not to panic. But nerves kept on shutting the door. I felt so forlorn. The silence echoed all around me. I was as useless as a weight. The pain in my leg was so irritating, I didn’t think I could survive another day in this climate – my lip stung so badly and I had frostbite. The wind was lethal – I felt like it wanted to knock me down. I missed my family but when I thought about them I only thought of the good times but this wasn’t one of them. Simon needs to hurry up and say something.
The next moments of my life I remember seeing nothing but gusts of wind and no Simon. I suddenly felt a pain in my back and I must of hit an ice cave. I opened my eyes and heard my heart. I was still alive. I got up then it hit me like a bullet the pain in my leg was still there. I got on my hands and chest for miles all I could see was nothing but the thick beautiful snow and felt the wind whipping at my eyelids.
Last week we read an extract from ‘Touching the Void’, the story of climbers Simon Yates and Joe Simpson who attempted to climb the west face of Siula Grande in the Andes mountain range in 1985. This is Jamie’s writing:
The never ending wilderness hung over me like a cape. Its ragged landskape was like a bowl of lumpy porridge. Strangely the mountain wich I always thought was so beautiful was now unwelcoming and lethal. I was hanging off a overhang in the Puru mountains. My hands were shacking with fear and frostbite.
I could feel the rope burn on my hands and the wind raging on my face. I could hear the faint voice of Simon shouting “Joe……”