A Quebec man is lucky to be alive and be on his way home after a dramatic rescue from the side of a Colorado mountain.
Samuel Frappier, 19, was rescued Wednesday from Broadway Ledge on Longs Peak, the highest mountain in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
Frappier was on a climb Tuesday with a friend when they got separated during their descent.
That’s when Frappier tried a shortcut and ended up stranded on a small ledge — at an elevation of 4,000 metres.
"I spent all night shivering on a small rock," Frappier said. “If I slipped just one foot more, then I would have fallen to my death."
He called park rangers with his cellphone on Tuesday night and directed them to his location, about 120 kilometres northwest of Denver.
However, the 28 rescue workers it took to save Frappier were only able to reach him on Wednesday, and so he spent the night in a T-shirt and tennis shoes, with just a few granola bars to eat.
Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said the spot where Frappier was is exceptionally dangerous.
“It’s quite amazing that he was able to come down in that terrain because it’s sheer rock wall,” Patterson said.
Father believed he'd see son again
Frappier said he knew a helicopter was on its way to rescue him, but there were moments when he lost hope.
“It was terrible because at first I thought that it was just turning around and around and never coming back,” he said.
Frappier’s father, Denis Frappier, said he was taken aback when he saw a photo of his son clinging to the ledge.
“First I didn’t realize how bad the situation was until I saw the picture of the mountain where he was, when i saw how steep the mountain,” the father said. “It was quite difficult.”
Denis Frappier said his son called their home several times from the side of the mountain, until he told him to stop calling to preserve his cellphone battery.
He said he never believed those would be the last times he spoke to his son.
“I have a lot of faith in him, and trust, because he’s so strong mentally that I thought he would get through [it],” he said.
Frappier said his son in good enough condition to make the 30-hour drive back home from Colorado.