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Mantung_Poon

Almost lost my life

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Funny, the toughest barfight I was ever in was in Duesseldorf. Two of us retreated to a cab, after giving as much as we took. My buddy had to have his glasses replaced before we flew home from the business trip we were on [laf] , because he could hardly see after his were ripped from his face and stomped. Worthy schweinhund opponents.

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I bivvied halfway up NE butt of Jberg to find 2 feet of snow when I crawled from the cave.It took the rest of my life to get down. I was hit fully by 2 large avalanches during the incredible and desparate downclimb. My hands are sweaty just writing this

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When I was 10 I thought I could swim the length of an olympic-sized swimming pool underwater. The pool was covered with a plastic cover. I was wrong.

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One time my army buds and I were in Hamburg.Germany at a small pub. We picked out the pub since it had moslty english speaking folks (brits).

 

There was 4 or 5 of us if I recall correctly. Anyway we were there about ten minutes when a mass of guys formed a wall and started looking pretty hostile. They walked towards us and started beating the shit out of all of us. We crawled and fought out of that place. Some on our hands and knees and some fist fighting. We took the flogging of beer glasses, bottles, fists, cigars, cigarrettes and feet. It was fucking scary. My friend Kneffler was the last one out. Just as he crawled out of that place some dude yelled "Hey you fucking Americans come back in! We'll buy you the next round. Nobody's put up such a good fight like that." By that time Diaz had already got us a taxi outta there. I replied "Fuck that!" and we got the fuck out of there.

 

Lesson is beware in Hamburg bars.

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When I was 13 I reloaded a hand grenade with gun powder emptied out from my dad's shotgun shells and pluged the end with epoxy resin. The grenade was originaly hollowed out for display purposes (sold at an army surplus store). Of all things I used firecracker fuses taped together to ignite it. One night, in the front yard I decided to light it in an old tool box to blow it up. The firecracker fuses were undependable (go figure?) and appeared to have gone out. At this point my mom and dad then drove up the driveway, got out of the car and walked towards the house only to discover the curious glowing toolbox. They began to walk towards the box, unaware that a MarkIIA1 "Pineapple" Grenade had a 10m kill radius! They got within 8m before I sprang from a nearby drainage ditch, yelled "Grenade!" while hurling myself on top of the old tool box. The grenade went off.

 

I lost my entire lower torso...

 

While waiting for the amblulance, the neighbors dogs were nipping at me.

 

I was awarded the Purple Heart.

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When I was 4 the door came open on my dad's land cruiser while we were driving about 60mph down the interstate. As I fell out I grabbed the inside door handle and was swinging out over the pavement for what seemed like forever. I felt my grip slowly giving away on the jug-like hold and all I could think about was the back tire crushing me. My dad had slowed down to about 20mph when finally lost my grip, hit the pavement and rolled for the ditch. Luckily I managed to avoid anything more serious than some big scrapes. I was most disappointed that my favorite starwars shirt was ripped and bloodstained and got thrown out.

Moral of the story-Even the best jugs aren't as good as a solid crack.

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quote:

Originally posted by texplorer:

When I was 4 the door came open on my dad's land cruiser while we were driving about 60mph down the interstate. As I fell out I grabbed the inside door handle and was swinging out over the pavement for what seemed like forever.

jesus! you were the poster child for seatbelt advocacy! [Eek!][laf]

 

quote:

Moral of the story-Even the best jugs aren't as good as a solid crack.

[laf][laf][big Drink]

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quote:

Originally posted by wayne1112:

I bivvied halfway up NE butt of Jberg to find 2 feet of snow when I crawled from the cave.It took the rest of my life to get down. I was hit fully by 2 large avalanches during the incredible and desparate downclimb. My hands are sweaty just writing this

Don Gonthier related this 2nd hand story story to me about 6 years ago. I remember thinking then that the guy he was talking about must have been totally nuts to begin with. Now I understand completely. [Razz]

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I offer a non-climbing anecdote: I run a small business, and an unfortunate requirement for part of it is some specialized heavy hauling via tractor-trailer. In 1996, I rode along as passenger with a new driver in a brand-new Freightliner, so that I could oversee some instrumentation at his destination. The driver had a lot of experience coming to us, and said he knew the route well.

 

Forty-five minutes into the route, I stopped chatting with the driver and started reading...the next thing I knew, we were blazing toward a well-marked 25 mph curve at 45, and despite my yell and his braking, we went into the turn way too fast. In what seemed like several long seconds, there was this slow, lifting motion as the truck went up onto its right tires, headed for a roll-over. I had plenty of time to accurately anticipate that we were definitely going over, and to think about it in some kind of warp-speed way, which is why I am posting this.

 

People wonder about those few seconds before death. On airplanes, I have wondered before if, were an imminent crash to materialize, I could make peace with myself before the moment of truth. I believe I had a close enough brush to at least partially know the answer.

 

I can tell you that I was fairly certain that it was coming, that day, within a couple of seconds, in a sudden, capricious smash. My life did not play before my eyes like a movie. And I can't say that I made peace with the circumstances. I remember what came out of my mouth was "NO..NO..NO!!" as we rolled over. At first I had an overwhelming sense of injustice, which I am not prone to having. I didn't have to conjure up picture of my wife, business, and life I would be leaving behind---it was somehow all imbedded in the instantaneous sense of injustice. In reality, my position in the passenger seat rotated downward as we rolled. But I had the sensation of first going upward, then a hard pitch downward, much like going over-the-falls in a wave. Just before we landed, I balled up instinctively with my hands pressed hard over my eyes, and squinted my eyes hard shut. I distinctly remember bargaining with myself (or maybe God), that if I could survive and lose just an arm or leg, I'd accept it. So in some way, I guess I arrived at a tentative peace.

 

We landed on my side of the truck, and skidded with terrible noise for about 35 or 40 feet along the pavement. There was a screeching and buckling as the truck deformed and the trailer came apart, and also a deafening roar from the pavement in my right ear, which was at the end of the skid less than six inches from my head. When we came to a stop, I opened my eyes and realized that I was alive. I moved my limbs, realized I had them, and looked at the driver. Somehow I knew he was fine, which he was although he looked like a wild-eyed zombie. I screamed to him "We're alive!" but he didn't say anything.

 

It wasn't over until I was out of the cab. Once I got loose from the seatbelt, and crouched, I realized I was stuck in the badly-deformed cab that was now sideways. The hood had bent in such a way that looking through the windshield, I saw the engine and a stream of diesel fuel pulsing out of a broken injector line. I didn't think it would ignite, but it definitely sped our exit from the cab. I pulled the driver into the same upright position as me, and tried to open his door upward toward the sky. This of course didn't work, but I quickly rolled the window down, scrambled out, and helped pull the driver out behind me.

 

It was then that I started jumping up and down, screaming "I fucking made it! I fucking made it!" Within a few minutes, we were assisted by first passers-by and then a highway patrolman.

 

Neither the driver nor I had serious injuries. I had cuts on my face and arms from flying glass, and I do have some neck pain that I feel damn lucky to have gotten away with as my only problem. I have never had nightmares or worries about the incident. I do, however, appreciate the value of seatbelts... and all that I could have lost that day.

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one time I descended a "4th class" gully per Becky's CAG. [Eek!] When we got down we kissed the ground and ran around screamin "I'm alive!"

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Fresh out of Hellgate High School in Missoula Montana, I headed for Alaska to make my fortune fishing. Never mind the thai stick in the MG and the sharp curves on the Fraser river gorge or the pit bull with a mission-getting my ass out of his White Horse, nor the feds at the Alaska border who were certain they could find a roach somewhere on me (there was one place they didn't look). I'm talkin fishin the high seas the first time I was on the ocean. My first warning should have been the fact that the skipper was willing to hire me. I was big, muscular, and pretty hairy so I blended into Homer pretty well. The rest was mostly lies, beer and a lot of persistence on the docks. The boat was a sixty-four foot steel hull hulk with hardly anything on it that worked. We stalled so many times on the way out it was tomorrow night when we started fishing-so to speak. The previous crew up n quit. No notice or nuthin. Go figr. We were me, 18, and green- Pukin my guts out the whole time, John the writer who had "been commercial fishin once before several years ago", and the deck foreman who use to be the new guy. The skipper was a young guy about 30 or so and didn't much care for gettin to know us. He steered and did mechanics on the deisel. We ate the food he provided, coke and snikers bars. The water in the tank was rancid.

By the time we were out to where the pots were the storm was too. Out of the whole day there were only about five hours of darkness and we timed it perfect. Only one deck light worked so there were lots of shadows mixed in amoungst the holes in the deck. The deck foreman gave us a quick lesson on how to pull a pot and we pulled around to get the beginning of a line of 26 pots. The line was diagonal across ten foot swells. As we passed the first buoy, he tossed the hook out across the line and started reeling. It was 60 fathoms so the coil got big fast. When the pot came up over the gunwail we hit the bottom of a trough and the boat lurched to the port. The pot flew into space over the deck as we topped the swell and lurched to the starboard. King crab pots are big. They weigh about 500 pounds and are constructed of two and a half inch rebar about five and a half by five and a half. This pot descended out of the darkness at about 25 MPH. It hit the deck broadside and careened into the gunwail right where I was standing. I dove to the stern as John dove to the bow. The pot bounced off the gunwail and the cabin and was still moving fast when it headed back my way. I jumped to the boom and grabbed the cold slimy steel with all the gusto of a desperate man. The pot came to a stop right under me. I puked again.

We didn't make any more mistakes that night. The boat sunk the following winter. My heart goes out to the families of the four who perished.

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My unit was jumping into the swamps of Florida on a training exercise. We'd only been in the plane for an hour or so but if you've ever ever worn all the paraphanalia of a military parachute drop you know how horribly uncomfortable it is. Main chute, reserve, rucksack, rifle, shit hanging everywhere. And it was hot. Water in the canteens so warm it tasted like tea kinda hot. We were begging for them to open the doors. When they finally started pushing people out I was sweating like a pig and dying to get out. They were shotgunning people out both doors in a staggered fashion to avoid colliding under the plane. Welll. . .lets just say I was a tad bit too eager to get out the door and the guy on the other side of the plane hit me upon exit. I was tangled in his risers and he was about ten feet below me, just under the rucksack strapped to my reserve. Training took over at this point and I started pulling myself down his risers so our chutes were side-by-side rather than one above the other. There are horror stories about both chutes failing under these circumstances. The guy below me was screaming his head off. Before we had time to think about much else we hit the ground, each of us rolling on our backs and away from each other. He had released his rucksack before impact. I had not released mine out of fear it would slam into his head. I limped away with a few cracked ribs, he walked away fine. As we were packing up our chutes our battallion commander came running by "you guys like doing things the hard way! Hoooah!"

 

We looked at each other and smiled.

 

Oh, you wanted climbing related:

 

Myself and two friends headed up to climb the Eliot Headwall on Hood. It was late summer and conditions were not so good. Our not-so-alpine start put us at the bergschrund at around 3. Looking down into it we knew if we went for it we'd be descending by moonlight so we decided to turn around. We were roped up together with me at the end and our least-experienced member in the middle. We were doing running belays using screws since the ice was too bulletproof to take pickets. About halfway down snowdome I hooked a crampon point on the leg of my bibs and I was off to the races. There was no pro between me and the middle guy so I went screaming on by him. He tried to arrest the fall but was ripped off too and we both went screaming past the leader who dropped to arrest position. When I came to a stop I was on the opposite side of a crevasse, my feet just barely reaching snow. The thing that held our fall? One single screw.

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A climbing (sort of) near-death epic

 

About 4 or 5 Februarys ago a couple buddies and I decided to go ski the White Salmon Glacier on Mount Shuksan. Temperatures were very cold and it hadn't snowed since a major storm about a week before. Most shady aspects were covered in a beautiful, deep layer of hoary powder.

 

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, slog, slog, slog. After much suffering we finally turned around not far below Winnies Slide as the day was passing and conditions had changed to wind crust.

 

Taking the lead I headed down. The best snow seemed to be right up next to the Northwest Rib, so we tracked down along this eventually ending up in a very exposed spot directly below the Hanging Glacier. I cliffed out above a nasty looking shrund while my friends were far enough back that I managed to point out the neccesary traverse to bypass the mess I was in. They disappeared while I popped my skis off to hike back up to the traverse.

 

The absence of fresh debris in the basin below the Hanging Glacier indicated that nothing had come off in the previous week. Of course at this point there was a thunderous CRACK! I looked up to see an enormous avalanche pouring off the lip of the hanging glacier.

 

This is all taking place about 2000' directly above me. It's growing bigger and BIGGER getting louder and LOUDER. There's a little outcrop above me so I slam my skis into the snow and try and get REAL small. Last thing I see is this powder cloud the size of GOD baring down across the slopes above me. I close my eyes and bury my face in the snow. The rumbling grows louder and louder, suddenly it grows very dark even with my eyes closed. I'm getting slammed into the snow by vicous blasts of wind.

 

This goes on for 20 seconds that felt like 20 minutes. As quick as it started, suddenly the rumble diminishs and the winds stop trying to tear me from the hillside. Looking around, all that is left is a quickly diminshing cloud of powder and a HUGE debris trail maybe 75 feet to my left.

 

Later that day I remember standing in the forest, looking at hoar frost crystals and feeling really, REALLY, REALLY! alive.

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On a nice day in May of 1980, we set out on the Triple Couloir on Dragontail. We had just exited the Hidden Couloir and were doing the little ice bulge to the 2nd when there was a avalanche on the North Face off to our left. When we topped out, we looked into the dust cloud from the eruption of Mt St Helens. When we got back down we realized that the entire face had avied into the Hidden Couloir, altho we didn't feel any tremors.

 

My partner had a religious conversion that day and no longer climbs (I, however, remain a heathen).

 

A coincidence? Maybe....

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I think the closest I've been to death over the longest amount of time was on an attempted BASE jump from a cliff in WA that shares a name with a famous Philly noisemaker (it's in NP land so BASE is very much verboten, hence the pervarication).

 

Sure that there was a killer exit point up there somewhere, myself and my intrepid jumping partner wandered about the top third of the face for hours, with a rack consisting of a few tri-cams and some decade-old RPs - and a 30m rope that ended up being more like 24m. Lead several pitches of "harder than 5.10," chossy slabs until finally dead-ending at a crappy, sloping exit. Rope was too short to rap over the edge - blind exit. We let go of the rope soloed a few more dozen feet of horribly ratty 5.10+ exfoliating slabs, and put our rigs on.

 

My buddy jumped first. Reviewing the helmet camera footage (now famous around the world), he missed a nose after about 80 feet of freefall by less than 8 feet. Deployed early, fell into a dihedral during deployment, end cells of canopy scraped rock on two sides during deployment. Opening surge carried him past a ledge system with less than 5 feet to spare.

 

I was stranded alone at the "exit" with a barely-working 2-way radio. Heard my friend radio back "don't jump. . . certain death." Watched the sun sink over the horizon as it started to get dark. Comtemplated jumping anyway, just to end it quicker.

 

Spent a few hours back-soloing out the horrible, exfoliating, death-friction pitches across which we had approached. Used every Zen trick I know to keep moving; kept my rig on, figuring I'd at least get a pilot chute out while bouncing down the face in case of a slip from the rotting granite.

 

Somehow made it back up to the summit. Found another party, used their rope to rap down (still eternally grateful to them). Hiked 5+ miles out in the dark, no headlamp. Got back to the car at midnight, my partner having spent the evening searcing for my body in the talus below the face. Saw a look of total, complete, utter surprise on his face when I materialzed out of the night, limping from an ankle I'd broken three weeks earlier on another jump. Slept in a hotel for 16 hours straight. . . jumped again the next day, but didn't climb anything technical for months. . .

 

I swore I'd never do blind exit BASE again, then this summer in Engleberg, Switzerland I opened an exit called Blank Check on Mt. Titlis (3239m). The full story is posted here.

 

To this day, I can't tell you while I am still alive.

 

Peace,

 

D-d0g

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try to be brief on some death defying epics.

 

Fall thru thin ice into Lake Michigan (thanks, Dad, for saving my life!!) in with skates on

 

hypothermic in woods twice as kid, serious enough to have been dead if wasn't found... fun wandering around in woods, wet, and delirous, curling up under pine tree to sleep the big sleep

 

swimming half mile in Lake Superior to rock island, both me and friend hypothermic in swim, sluirring words, friends swimming in circles... we get to rock, thunderstorms roll in.

 

Peel off cliff, 40 foot to deck, luckily slabby, brush at bottom

 

falls out of tree, wake up with concussion

fall off 3rd floor roof, go back into party, thinking i crashed bike, missed rake/cement hazards by inches

 

and lots of less scary events

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