A woman survived an 800-foot fall from the peak of Mount Stuart in Washington. Viviane Debros, age 29, was descending from the summit when she lost her footing and fell 800 feet. Although she was seriously injured, Viviane survived the dangerous fall.
Viviane’s friend, Jake Oram, witnessed the frightening incident. He said his friend eventually landed on a ledge, but she was obviously hurt. While descending to her location, Oram also called 911.
Although authorities knew Viviane’s location, she was difficult to reach. On the day of her fall, two helicopters attempted the rescue. Unfortunately, they were forced to turn around when they were struck with strong winds.
Viviane and Jake were forced to spend the night on the ledge because she could not be moved. As reported by MSN, Jake said he “built a little wind wall… on the side of a gully.” However, sleep was difficult as the ledge “was absolutely tiny.”
Although the ledge was small and the winds were rough, the climbers survived the night without further injury.
The next day, a third helicopter responded to the scene. After the winds had dissipated, the team eventually rescued both climbers from the ledge. Following her harrowing the 800-foot fall, Viviane spent nearly 21 hours on the side of the mountain.
As reported by ABC News, Viviane suffered a broken arm, a broken, rib, and a broken cheek bone. Although she was initially hospitalized, she is now recovering at home. Viviane said she is thankful, but during the fall, she was unsure she would survive:
“The next thing I knew I was tumbling… I know I thought a couple of times, ‘Oh, is this how it ends?'”
Mount Stuart is one of seven named glaciers in the Stuart Range. With a maximum elevation of 6500 feet, Mount Stuart is the highest non-volcanic peak in the cascades region.
The mountain’s upper North Ridge is included in the Fifty Classic Climbs in North America. Although the climb to the summit is considered “moderately difficult,” the granite face can present some unique challenges.
As the region is often plagued with precipitation, the rock can be slick. Although hikers often spend three to four days on the mountain, a round trip to the peak and back can be completed in fewer than 24 hours.
Viviane said falling down the 800-foot mountain was frightening. However, she is unsure what she could have done differently “other than not go.”
[Image via Mountain Project]