Slide of Death
My name is Don Hansen and I have a story that I think fits right in with the theme of your show. Thank you in advance for reading.
I was living in Kingman AZ. in 1994. Had a job I hated and a girl friend that... well we were on the out. Gona break up.
One day me and my buddy Mike decided to got for a hike. The place, The Haulapai (Walla pie) Mountain, just above Kingman. I knew the trail well and as we were walking, I thought that we might go off trail and hit the summit from another location. You really couldn’t get lost because the trail went all around the mountain and after some discussion we decided that we could do it. Get in a little free climbing, get a new prospective / view of the mountain etc.
So, off the trail we went. Headed towards the top and all was great. We hit the summit around noon so we had lunch, sandwich, apple, water. Good lunch. We sat around and admired the view. Excellent !! Time to head back. Down we went, off trail. What happened next is really messed up. We are hiking along and I notice that we are coming up to a ledge. It was slightly angled down not to bad I guessed. So I went first. The ledge was granite and sandstone so there were lots of sandy spots and little rocks all over this thing. As I start to inch my way down I start to slide !!! The edge of the ledge is about 30 or so feet away. I stop sliding. My heart is in my troth !! I try and go back up but every time I try my footing hits that sand and I just cant get a grip. Mike is on solid ground and is saying come back, come back. I yell, Dude I am gona slide off this Fucking thing. Look for a long branch or some thing. Nothing could be found and I am starting to get really worried.
I made a small adjustment in my footing and that’s when I started sliding again !! Slow at first then faster and faster. Mike is screaming !! I don’t know what he is saying… I am gona die !! As I approach the end of the ledge I see a branch that has grown long enough that it’s touching the ledge. I have one chance to live, GRAB THAT BRANCH !!! Snap Judgment... I did. The thing was about 2 inches around and as I went off the ledge it bent, I held on to that thing like you would not believe. Off the ledge I went and dropped down about 6 or 7 feet and was swung back agents the rock face wall hard.
The branch held my weight. I was just hanging there, holding onto this branch. My boots were knocking agents the rock wall. I tried to feel around. What is this?? I lip on the wall. I got 1 boot on. It was right were my feet were. UNREAL !! I got my other boot on. Now I am standing on a lip I look down. It’s about 40 feet down on to rocks. DEATH if I fall !! I manage to turn my body to the wall and look for hand holds. I find them. I relies that I am crying. I get a hand hold, then the other. Letting go of that branch was one of the hardest things I have ever done. As I let go, it shoots right back up to were it was, now out of reach. I look left then right. To the left I see what looks to be a crack or craves so left it is. As I inch my way the crack is getting bigger. At the crack. It opens up to a climbable channel. I make it to the top and there is Mike standing there saying Dude, were you crying?? I said. Fuck you man. I almost died.
After I settled down and got my head on straight, we went back the way we came and found the trail. I did not say a word till we gat back to the car. Then I told Mike what had happened. What he could not see. He kinda laughed and said sorry man. Glad your alive !! Me to I said and next we stay on the dam trail !!