"My climbing partner died in my arms - at least I thought he had for 20 years – I came back to Scotland and I only found out recently that he’s alive and well...
There was 3 of us ice climbing in Canada, and an ice fall collapsed, we were trapped for 8 hours... I knew it was going to be the next day until we would be rescued, so I had to keep him alive. It was 3 hours of CPR, his heart stopped 3 times. It was down to what I thought was basic first aid, but it made all the difference, that’s why he’s still here. But all these years I thought that he had died from brain injury. When he was in the hospital, his condition was so critical that they didn’t think he was going to survive. And his family were all lawyers and doctors, and I realised that they were starting to blame me for what had happened, and told me to stay away.
I found out that he was alive and well and I realised that there was a happy ending to a story that basically took my career away. What I did is I looked him up on Facebook – I found him and contacted him. He suffered so much brain injury that he doesn’t remember what happened, and that other climber, I have no contact with – he had just tagged along really – he was opening a climbing shop and wanted to show off his gear. So he didn’t want to have any connection to the accident.
I have gradually come to realise that it wasn't luck that saved my life but my training and experience and most of all, my will to survive.
I returned home to Scotland as I was extremely traumatised, I had a hard time coping with the accident. I wanted to stay away from climbing. I did go again but the fear stopped me enjoying it. I kept thinking about what could happen and the thought of having to deal with an other body was haunting me. Since then, I’ve taught many people the fundamentals of climbing, without actually having to pass that point of fear, because it seems to me a shame not to pass that on. But when it comes to ice, no, I would probably never climb that stuff ever again."