Free-Soloing Ice Climber Captures His Own Fall

Spoil­er alert: Thir­ty sec­onds into this video is a sick­en­ing moment. You see the per­spec­tive of life­long climber and safe­ty con­sul­tant, Mark Roberts, look up at the ice cliff above him to see a foot­ball-sized ice chunk hurtling down the slope at his head.

He deflects the ice chunk with his arm, but it knocks his ice tools and cram­pons free from their hold. What hap­pens next is every free soloists night­mare. Roberts falls over 300 feet down the snow­bound Pars­ley Fern Left­hand Gul­ly on Wales’ high­est peak, Snow­don.

Sur­pris­ing­ly, Roberts lives. And amaz­ing­ly, he only breaks his ankle. But the footage is enough to remind us that no mat­ter our skill, expe­ri­ence, or prepa­ra­tion, we can do our best to min­i­mize risk, but there is no way we can avoid it.