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Los Angeles man survives 40-foot fall in Glacier National Park

September 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Los Angeles man nearly died after a 40-foot fall while hiking in Montana's Glacier National Park.

Ted Porter lied in a Montana hospital bed for days as he recovered from the frightening ordeal. The 36-year-old fell into a crevasse, breaking vertebrae in his back. Somehow he managed to climb out and hike three to four miles to find help.

Right after the fall, Porter took dramatic video on his cellphone thinking it would be a final message to his parents.

"Mom and Dad, I fell in a crevasse," Porter said in the video.

The fall happened on Sept. 3. Porter had been hiking in Glacier National Park for about a week with his parents, when he decided to set out on a solo hike across the park's seventh largest glacier. That day, conditions were treacherous, even for this seasoned mountaineer.

"I just knew that I was by myself, it was raining, it was slick and it was about 4:30 in the afternoon. I didn't have time to finish, so I decided to head back," Porter said in a Skype interview.

Porter decided to make his way down, making a serious mistake.

"I had my crampons and my ice sacks in my backpack. For some reason, I chose not to put them on, which was a terrible decision," he said. "I started sliding out of control. I was seriously hauling down this glacier for probably 30 yards. That's when I looked in front of me, and also just like out of a movie I saw this really wide crevasse just open up in front of me, and I flew right in it. My first thought was I'm going to die here."

Thinking that he would never be able to get out, Porter recorded what he thought was his final message.

"You guys if I don't make it out, I love you. I'm not kidding. This is no joke," Porter said in the cellphone video.

"After I said that, I just had this urge. I was not going to die down there," Porter later told Eyewitness News.

Equipped with an ice ax and crampons on his boots, Porter clawed his way out. His biggest obstacle was the excruciating pain.

"I'm right outside of the crevasse, and I look down. I'm just peering down into the crevasse that I just climbed out of, and it's all fantastic," said Porter.

A three- to four-mile hike followed, until Porter reached a group of campers who nursed him through the night and called for help.

"I appreciate it so much to everybody involved," said Porter. "Not me, I just crawled out of a crevasse. It's not a big deal."

Porter was rescued by helicopter. Doctors say he came just a few millimeters from being paralyzed. He's undergone three surgeries and physical therapy.

Porter has been released from the hospital and continues to recover. His friends and family have set up a fund to help pay for his medical bills.


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