Tell me the most scared for your life you've ever been.


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Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Feb 9, 2013 - 11:15am PT
Took a header at the top of Hangmans in Mammoth and had plenty of time to think I was gunna die as I watched the rocks in the dog leg coming at my head fast. I was screaming F*#K NO as loudly as I could and somehow that momentum got me spun around enough to hit the rocks with my ass, well not really, just below the hip joint really, just barley missed smashing that up.

2 guys watching me said I kinda flipped over the rocks at the last minute. They were a little afraid I wasn't going to make it, but a lot of people fall down that thing.
Helped me pick up my yard sale, which was huge since it stretched a few hundred feet up hill. (I slid all the way to St. Anton)

Ended up un-hurt, but the blow to my confidence has never healed.
Degree-phobia, much over 40 and I can't do it unless it's deep.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Feb 9, 2013 - 11:48am PT
Close proximity to several B-52 strikes at night

I cannot think of anything that could or would be more terrifying than this. I think this one wins by a long shot.

Trad climber
Orange CA
Feb 9, 2013 - 11:50am PT
1. Watching Steven Kings "IT" when I was ten.

2. Getting busted for shoplifting.

3. Not being able to down climb and thinking I was for sure going fall in the "no fall zone" on The Lion in Eldo.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 9, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
Yes, scared is something you realize after the fact.

I'm familiar enough with that concept. During the intensity of the moment the fear does not sink in, but after...

On the other hand there was the time when I stood face to face with three Puerto Ricans in a parking lot in NYC, one had a knife, one a bat and one a gun under his jacket. They had taken everything I had including my clothing. It was a good haul for them, a nice case with three trumpets, a sizable bag of weed and several hundred dollars cash. Now they were to decide my fate, and time came to a standstill as the ringleader, the one with the knife, stood face to face with me and stabbed me, kind of gently in a weird way, in the right side of my groin. He was poking around with the knife looking for my femoral artery (he missed, but I still have the scars.)

In my mind I left the scene. I was standing there but I was gone, staring into space. Finally they just walked away and left me standing there. I am certain to this day that had I flinched or begged or shown any sign of fear I would have been cut up. I never knew if the gun was real, he kept his distance and it did not matter anyway. I wrapped myself in some cardboard which was handy and walked the three blocks home.

It was St. Patrick's day, 1977.

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 9, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
Those drone strikes are the worst.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Feb 9, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
I've had quite a few, but nothing comes close to working in Entebbe, Uganda in 1983. Idi Amin had been kicked out a few years earlier and the new guy, Obote, was doing equally bad things, just not bragging about it. Every day we had to drive through a stretch of road (the one between Entebbe and Kampala) where there would be numerous bandits setting up "roadblocks" to rob people.

Almost twice a day, for a month, we would get pulled over by guys in fatigues and carrying AK-47s. They'd make us get out, hands on the top of the car, guns to our heads and look at our papers. They were not official, just locals, but who was going question them? The only thing that saved us was that we had official papers stating that we were working for the government. Those guys WERE afraid of the government and wanted no part of having to deal with Obote's men.

The day we left Entebbe, a public bus was pulled over at one of these roadblocks and someone on the bus got into an argument with one of the bandits. They sprayed the bus with gunfire and set it on fire, more than a dozen dead.

Reno, NV
Feb 9, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
December 2000. Soloing Spaceshot in Zion. I had fixed to the top of the second aid pitch. Left the rack at the highpoint (bad idea), rapped to the ledge to spend the night. It rained most of the night. The next morning I decided to wait a few days to give the rock a chance to dry out, but wanted to retrieve my rack off the high point. I started jugging the ~180' to the highpoint anchor, which consisted of two drilled angles, and two TCUs in the crack to the right of the drilled angles. I get about halfway and the rope drops me a few inches. WTF? At this point the rain starts again. I'm trying to determine if it's a slipping rope sheath, or what. I continue jugging, several feet up again the rope drops me several inches. And it starts hailing. I'm trying to see through the rain and hail past the slight bulge that prevents me from seeing the upper section of the rope. Had the wind the previous night abraded the rope against the rock? I had tied it fairly loose at the bottom in hopes of avoiding that. Could the anchor be a problem? Four bomber pieces, two of which are drilled angles. At this point I'm just trying to convince myself that it will all be okay, and I'm being a pussy. Time to sack-up and go get that gear. I continued up, and after a few more gut-wrenching drops I reached the anchor. The two TCUS in the crack had been dragging down through the softened rock, and the master-point of the anchor had been equalizing, swinging over to weight the drilled angles. It was still hailing, so I went ahead and cleaned the anchor and rapped all the way to the ground. By the time I got to the ground I had shaken it off, and went back a few days later to complete the route.
Jebus H Bomz

Feb 9, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
I nearly drowned and decided to live. But that was a surprisingly calm process.

I sank down into the American River, sunlight receding, the whole life flashing before me deal going on, and I decided to make one last push I didn't know would work or not. Finally, weakly swimming to shore, I had to muster my last energy to crawl and claw up a slippery clay bank to flop down, gasping for breath.

I was probably around 10 years old, my buddy and I had been swimming laps across the American on a dam release day. I've never told my parents that one, I wasn't even supposed to be of earshot of home, much less miles away and nearly drowning in one of the Sacramento area's man eaters (I've seen a body pulled right by where I nearly drowned).

Social climber
Feb 9, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
Doing a boat rescue in Alaska in 40-foot seas (another boat was adrift, and we were the only operable boat even remotely close) - lashed to the rail and seeing a rouge wave: a wall of 45-degree green water over the top of the wheelhouse in front of me, coming straight for us.

Here we go.

Feb 9, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
snow cave on McGinnis Peak, Alaska Range, February, two days up the NE Ridge- we're pinned down for days with no food and little fuel- the wind is dumping enormous loads of snow directly on top of the snow cave- the grains of snow in the cave walls are compressing and the cave is emitting these hideous squeaking sounds- i'm in my bag staring at the ceiling inches from my nose, waiting to be squished- now, you structural physicists, how does this work? is it possible for this cave, this little bubble deep inside the snowpack, to simply go "pwwth!" due to the weight of snow above, and cease to be a bubble, cease to be a cave? or does the force from the increased weight distribute into the walls of the cave, leaving the bubble intact? i convinced myself that according to physics, we would not be squished...

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Feb 9, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
jeeperfukincreepers people. That's some sh#t.

The one that comes to mind for me is the one with GOMZ on El Cap. Had not had that much rock fall come that close to me. It's a visceral reaction.

The rock dust blowing back up the wall.


Trad climber
Feb 9, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
3. Not being able to down climb and thinking I was for sure going fall in the "no fall zone" on The Lion in Eldo.

Did you not clip the fixed mastercam? Is that on or off? Seems like it is 3 ft to the left below the crux. It might not be there anymore but it was prob 6 months ago. Only TR's this bad boy it is going to be a long term project for me.
Sir Donald

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Feb 9, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
Newbie paraglider pilot - I thought I was immortal. Freshman year at University of Utah - I paid my money at the point of the mountain - got my lessons - bought an old NorthSail glider I was to light for and away I went. I launched off anything and everything I could. Landed in school ball fields and back yards - many twisted ankles. No Brains :(
Then I moved to Jackson, WY for river guiding and launched off everything I could out Hoback Canyon - UNTIL - the day I quit. I was 1000 fett over canyon launch all on strong thermals and a low thunderhead came over the ridge and I was in it - cloud suck all the way - screaming up up up bashing around - no idea what to do - I was broke and flew without a reserve. I had to full stall the glider and fall out I knew, but I could'nt get the guts up to do it - but I was frozen, wet, and terrified. So the strom helped me out, and I wnt into a negative spin and then stall and dropped out the bottom of the clouds and saw the ground coming fast and I pumped my A lines to inflate the gider and spun into the ground at max speed with only half a chute - broken ankle, broken wrist, broken clavicle, 2 broken teeth, half bit off tongue, concussion. I haven't flown since. Terrified of it actually. Now the time squirt boating on the Snake and almost drowning is another story.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 9, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
I don't get scared on the fast near death experiences. My brain just clears out and zones in. You know, that hyper-aware time dialation experience. I might notice a trembling finger or something after it is over, kind of like a fired up race horse.

I get scared shitless when things happen slower. We all have our strenghts and weaknesses.

Do any of you catch yourself wondering why you are even still alive? It is weird when you get old and look back. The older you get, the more dead guys you know. I know a whole bunch of dead guys.

Then when you get up around 50 here, you start seeing friends die from natural causes more often. That sucks. That is awful.
steve shea

Feb 9, 2013 - 06:04pm PT
Was in Vegas for the old SIA ski show. One night coming back from dinner walking through the hotel lobby some guy comes out of the elevator with two guns drawn. He fires off two shots into the lobby and started to run down the hall toward the front door. I was directly across from the elevator when he came out. After soiling my britches I ran as fast as I could and dove head first into the news stand door and cleared a magazine rack before landing on a number of people already hiding. Hotel security finally tackled him and got the weapons. All this right in front of us. We're talking scared! Meth crazed Vegas citizen out for a night on the town. I'll never forget it, I thought I was toast.

Hebrews 1:3
Feb 9, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
I woke up this morning at 8, and could smell something was wrong. I got downstairs and found the wife face down on the kitchen floor, not breathing! I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. Then I remembered McDonald’s serves breakfast until 11:30.

Feb 9, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
When I was 15 I had a gun pulled on me at VERY close range. That's by far scariest thing that's ever happened to me. Makes car wrecks and being way run out on lead seem like a vacation. One day I'll tell the rest of the story.

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Feb 9, 2013 - 06:23pm PT
My own life? I don't think I have ever been oddly enough.
Afraid of getting hurt maybe, but death, I can't remember even one time.

Holding my 3yr old asthmatic son in my arms while he gasped for air is the most frightened I have ever been, without exception.

paul roehl

Boulder climber
Feb 9, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
Have to agree with the child in danger/sick... had a similar experience with my son turning blue in my arms suffering from a seizure. He was only a year and a half and had a really high temp. Can't describe the feeling, beyond fear... He was fine but life never had quite the same ease/quality for me after that.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Feb 9, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
Base 104! Re your mention:
I don't get scared on the fast near death experiences. My brain just clears out and zones in. You know, that hyper-aware time dialation experience. I might notice a trembling finger or something after it is over, kind of like a fired up race horse.

I get scared shitless when things happen slower. We all have our strenghts and weaknesses.

Do any of you catch yourself wondering why you are even still alive?

Yep! I'm with you all the way!
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