Argentine climber survived 4 days on Mount Logan with thoughts of love and family
Natalia Martinez says waiting 4 days for rescue was physical and mental challenge
"Come on, you can do it. You can do it."
Holed up in her tent, that was how Natalia Martinez urged herself to survive. For four days, the Argentine climber had been trapped in her camp on Yukon's Mount Logan at 3,700 metres.
A pair of earthquakes had hit the area, triggering avalanches on the mountain and making it too dangerous to leave on her own.
But she wasn't giving up. She knew someone was coming for her. It was a physical challenge, but also a mental one.
"The last day before the rescue, my mind was eating me," she said. "I was more sensitive to every sound. I felt alert to every danger...You have to keep focused on something and it was Camilo."
Rescuers found a break in the weather Thursday night, bringing Martinez down and reuniting her with her partner Camilo Rada. She spoke to CBC News a day later, at Kluane National Park, at the base of the mountain.
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Martinez is an experienced climber and adventurer. The 37-year-old mountaineering guide is from the seismically active Mendoza region of Argentina. Officials who led the rescue operation said she'd done everything right in planning her trip and had the right equipment to stay safe.
Wind, snow prove challenging
As the days dragged on, things became difficult. Wind and snow rocked the tent. A zipper broke and she had to brace the tent to hold it against the wind. She struggled to keep herself warm. Even getting a few hours sleep was a battle.
"It was thinking of Camilo, I was thinking of my family. I was thinking I had a lot of things to do," she said. "I had to keep drinking, eating, changing my tent, making a wall for the wind and keep busy."
Waiting for her rescuers became a personal challenge, Martinez needed to prove to herself she could survive.
"I said, 'Come on, you can do it. You can do it. Just a few more days.' It was a little bit crazy, but I'm here," she said. "Now I know I can do it. It doesn't matter if I didn't take the summit."
Martinez ate a warm meal Thursday night, took a hot shower, and slept in Friday. Once she reunited with Rada, she said she realized she was safe.
"It was beautiful," she said. "Now I'm safe. Now I'm home."
With files from Steve Hossack