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Trapped For 13 Days Inside a Frozen Ice Cave

Trapped For 13 Days Inside a Frozen Ice Cave


The weather was tens of degrees below freezing,
and galeforce winds buffeted the two mountain climbers. Both members of a mountain search and rescue
team, the men were now attempting to summit New Zealand’s tallest peak, Mt. Cook. Yet their many years of experience rescuing
others off dangerous peaks told them that it would now be them who needed rescue. With nightfall coming, the men knew there
was only one chance for survival- they had to dig themselves a shelter and ride out the
worst of the weather. With climbing picks and survival axes in hand,
the two men began to hack away at the snow and ice, digging through increasingly worsening
weather, knowing that their lives were on the line. The next day and at the foot of the mountain,
the two climbers had failed to check in. Don Bogie, one of New Zealand’s senior most
mountaineers and search and rescue professional, wasn’t worried. He knew the two men, Mark Inglis and Phil
Doole, and he knew that they were capable and experienced climbers. Besides, he himself had had to spend the night
on the mountain before, snowed in by bad weather. As long as they could find shelter, they could
ride out even the worst of sudden storms. Back up the mountain, Inglis and Doole had
both dug several feet into the snow and ice, digging out an ice cave in which to shelter
in. Because snow is such a good insulator, the
cave helped trap their body heat- but the men had no wood or other material with which
to start a fire. Their only source of heat was their sleeping
bags and own body heat. With the temperatures steadily dropping and
the storm not seeming to let up, worry began to gnaw at the back of the men’s minds. Already an icy chill gripped them, and even
laying in their sleeping bags fully clothed wasn’t enough to keep the cold at bay. To make matters worse, the men had only brought
enough food supplies for a few days’ trek. They decided that they should start to ration,
having no idea when the storm could let up. The men knew that storms on Mt. Cook could
be unpredictable, and the storm may break tomorrow or not let up for a week or more. Stretching out what food supplies they had
would be vital. On such reduced rations though, their body
struggled to generate heat, which only worsened a situation very quickly taking a turn for
the disastrous. A few days later, Bogie was now extremely
concerned. The storm blasting Mt. Cook had not abated
at all. Gale force winds blasted the peaks and sides
of the various approaches up Mt. Cook, and anyone caught out in the open up there would
not last long at all. Bogie held out hope that the men had found
shelter, but he knew that the situation was very quickly turning grim. If the weather didn’t break soon, they might
have to send a search and rescue party out looking for corpses, not survivors. Thankfully though, the next day the weather
cleared enough for a helicopter to start the search attempt. Bogie immediately volunteered to lead the
search and rescue effort, and with good reason. Of New Zealand’s search and rescue personnel,
he was the most experienced at strop rescues- when the rescuer is flown in a harness by
a long tether at the bottom of the helicopter. The technique is incredibly dangerous, and
requires careful communication between the rescuer and the pilot, as well as nerves of
steel from both. Unable to see below his aircraft, the pilot
had to rely on verbal instructions from the rescuer on where to descend and how fast,
or else the pilot may accidentally smash the rescuer into the side of a mountain. Yet with no hope of landing the helicopter
anywhere on the steep sides of Mt. Cook, Bogie knew that this was the only way of rescuing
the trapped men. Until the men’s location was found though,
Bogie would ride inside the chopper, eyes glued to his binoculars as he and the pilot
scoured the slopes for the missing men. In their gusto to find the climbers though,
they were forced to take unsafe risks, once nearly crashing into a ridge when gusts of
wind blew their chopper off course. The weather was still ferocious, and the helicopter
was struggling to retain control. It was unsafe for the rescuers, and yet Bogie
and the pilot accepted the risk, knowing that they were the only chance that Inglis and
Doole had for survival. Ignoring the many close calls and the danger,
the chopper scoured the slopes, working by process of elimination and checking out huts
and other places the men may be sheltering. Back in the ice cave, Inglis and Doole knew
that they were in trouble. Severe frostbite had already affected them
in their extremities, and both knew that they were going to be losing toes to amputation
if they managed to return to civilization. Day by day though the chill grew ever higher
up their legs. The extreme cold was limiting blood flow to
their legs, and slowly, from the feet up, their legs were freezing and dying. Eventually, the chill would reach their torso,
where it would be fatal. Food supplies were down to very meager rations,
and with such low energy, their bodies struggled to generate enough heat to survive. Yet, from time to time, the men could hear
the sound of the helicopter, unfortunately distant, but gradually working its way towards
their location. The sound of possible rescue kept the men’s
spirits up, a fact that more than anything likely led to their ultimate survival. As any survival expert will tell you, when
hope dies the body is quick to follow. For days now Bogie had been scouring the mountain
by helicopter, looking for the two stranded men. Then suddenly the weather broke enough to
allow the helicopter to ascend to an area known as the middle peak. Taking the opportunity, the helicopter battled
fierce winds and made the ascent, and as soon as they cleared the low clouds, Bogie was
surprised to see the two men right there, waving up at him from below. The helicopter could not land however, and
Bogie would have to be strapped into his rescue harness dangling below the helicopter back
down at base, then be flown all the way back. The weather was still far too dangerous for
this, and thus rescue would have to wait. Instead Bogie dropped the men down food, medical
supplies, and a working radio so they could keep in contact. Grateful for the food, the men tore at the
emergency rations, boosting their rapidly plummeting internal temperatures. The radio helped the men bolster their fading
spirits as well, and jokingly the men told their rescuers that they had settled into
an ice cave they’d dubbed the “Middle Peak Hotel”. Spirits and humor were clearly still up, giving
hope to the rescuers that the men could be reached before they succumbed to the cold. Unfortunately though, the weather refused
to cooperate, and storms once more battered the area. The radio battery quickly died, cutting off
contact between the men and the rest of the world. Days passed, and at last the weather cleared
enough for an Air Force helicopter to make the ascent up the peak. On its way up though the helicopter hit dangerous
turbulence, spinning it out of control and crashing it upside down onto an ice shelf
a few hours climb away from the men. Inside the upside down chopper, four rescuers
and three Air Force personnel pulled themselves out of the wreck, having received only minor
wounds. Incredibly, the tail of the chopper hung right
off a precipitous fall, and the occupants of the helicopter had avoided a several-thousand
foot fall to their deaths by mere inches. A rescue for the trapped crew was immediately
launched, but this tied up the only other remaining chopper, and the weather window
to rescue the climbers closed. The next day the weather remained relatively
calm, and Don Bogie made up his mind- today was it. They couldn’t afford to wait another day or
he feared the men would die, and there was no telling if the weather would give them
another opportunity. Despite conditions being less than optimal,
bogie strapped himself into his harness and the helicopter slowly began its climb up the
mountain, with Bogie hanging a hundred feet below it on a tether. A disaster like with the Air Force helicopter
would mean his certain death. Unknown to Bogie, it’s very likely that Inglis
and Doole would have in fact not lasted another day. Inglis’ frostbite was so bad that he could
no longer stand, and Doole was having trouble staying on his feet. Luckily for the duo though after a few hours
battling the winds and weather, the helicopter reached them, and slowly Bogie was lowered
to the small ice shelf where the men were sheltering. Doole happily greeted Bogie, but informed
him that Inglis could no longer walk. With great trepidation, Bogie told the pilot
over the radio to give him several meters of slack on the tether, allowing Bogie to
crawl into the ice cave and pull out Inglis who was still wrapped up in his sleeping bag. This was incredibly dangerous, as if the chopper
needed to quickly rise or move due to winds, it would rip Bogie out of the cave and likely
kill him in the process. Bogie however managed to drag Inglis out and
hook him up to a bag-like stretcher. Doole would have to wait for his rescue, and
Bogie and Inglis were both lifted up into the air and then lowered down the mountain. With Doole’s position fixed, bogie and the
chopper quickly returned and successfully rescued him as well. (use pictures from https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/eyewitness/audio/201858373/rescue-from-middle-peak-hotel) The two men would survive their ordeal, though
they would require amputations of both their legs due to severe frostbite. The men received prosthetic limbs, and incredibly,
would continue climbing. Mark Inglis would later become the first double
amputee to summit Mt. Everest. For his heroics, Don Bogie would be awarded
membership to the New Zealand Order of Merit, in honor of his heroic accomplishment and
determination in saving the two mountaineer’s lives. Think you would ever climb a mountain? How would you survive for two weeks on the
side of a mountain? What would you do to pass the time? Let us know in the comments! And as always if you enjoyed this video don’t
forget to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

100 thoughts on “Trapped For 13 Days Inside a Frozen Ice Cave”

  1. Does the us have a conplan if Yellowstone blows? only places like the middle East will be ok
    This one has a low chance of being classified due to it not being the action of another nation

  2. "Today on The Infographics Show, we asked our least favourite staff writer to spend 13 days trapped inside a frozen ice cave."

  3. "Trapped for 13 days inside an ice cave"
    Me : Trapped in the comments saying : Trapped inside [insert something]

  4. I wonder if strapping a go pro at the chopper's underside would work? The pilot should have a small screen to see what's directly below the chopper.

  5. Selfless, our society has no idea what that means anymore. Now it's full of socialists and communists that want everything given to them

  6. They should have had just one huge sleeping bag! 🤔 I would imagine that im a puppy in a warm sock to keep myself warm if i was in a same situation.

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