Climber who survived 70-foot fall into crevasse recalls "terror"

In Nepal, there was no sign Friday night of an Indian climber and two Sherpa guides after an avalanche on Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third tallest mountain.

Just April, 16 Sherpas were killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest.

And a few hundred miles to the west, American John All is recovering after falling into an ice crevasse on Mount Himlung.

The Western Kentucky University associate professor of geography rescued himself and shot video while he did it.

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John All broke an arm and four ribs in his fall
CBS News

"I fell through that hole," he says on the video. "Thankfully I didn't keep falling."

This is where 44-year-old All found himself on Monday, alone, on a narrow ledge, in a deep 70-foot crevasse, seriously injured.

"I got trapped instead on this ledge," he says. "My arm I can't use."

Below him, a further drop of several hundred feet. Above him, nothing but packed snow and ice and, in the distance, a tiny patch of sky.

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All he could see above him was packed snow and ice and a tiny patch of sky
CBS News

"I hurt bad, but I got to get out," he says. "I'm going to somehow climb out that way."

He had a broken arm and four broken ribs. Using his ice axe he tried to climb out of the crevasse.

"Climbed all the way - over, up, over," he says.

All said it took him six hours to reach the surface and another three to stagger to his tent. Poor weather delayed a rescue helicopter's arrival until the next day.

"At that point I was so close to death they just literally had to drag me out of the tent and drag me on to the helicopter," he said.

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John All recovered in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Kathmandu
CBS News

He was taken to the intensive care unit of a Kathmandu hospital.

"I remember the utterly suppressed terror of being in that hole, and it's not something I'll easily forget for sure," he said.

But incredibly, All is already planning another climbing trip for next month - a mountain in Peru.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News

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