YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

L.A. man describes harrowing fall from glacier, will to survive

September 16, 2013|By Jason Wells and Hailey Branson-Potts

After falling 40 feet into a crevasse in Glacier National Park, Ted Porter prepared for the worst. Alone with his back broken, he turned on a video camera and recorded a goodbye message.

“You guys, if I don’t make it out, I love you,” he said. “I’m not kidding; this is no joke.”

The footage of what the Los Angeles resident thought would be his final moments was aired on “Good Morning America” on Monday, roughly two weeks after his fall from a glacier at the park in Montana.

"My first thought when I fell was 'I'm going to die,’” Porter, 36, said in an interview with ABC. “It’s tough, because I really didn’t think I was going to get out, and so I said goodbye to my parents.”

But he did make it. After climbing 40 feet out of the crevasse with a crushed vertebrae in his lower back and other injuries, Porter used an ice pick to prop himself up and walk three miles for help.

“I had people I wanted to see again, for real,” Porter told ABC. “I wanted to see my family.”

He eventually came across a group of hikers who rendered aid by immobilizing him and keeping watch through the night before contacting rangers, who flew him out of the area.

“I’d never met them before, and, you know, it’s pretty cool when people decide to help you like that,” Porter said.

Porter and his parents had been hiking in the park for about a week before he started a solo hike to Jackson Glacier and Mount Jackson on Sept. 3, the AP reported. He and his parents frequently visited the park, and Porter, an experienced backcountry hiker who had hiked in the park alone many times, had worked in the region and attended the University of Montana.

Porter slipped into the crevasse after descending Mount Jackson after it began raining, according to the AP. He told the Daily Inter Lake the pain in his back was “unbelievable” and that he knew he had to climb out fast if he wanted to live.

He was flown to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. The injury to his back was just 2 millimeters from causing “permanent lower body paralysis,” according to a post on a fundraising website for his medical expenses.

Now, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

His girlfriend, Jessica Reynolds, told KTLA that he plans to return to hiking.

"He'll hike again, but definitely not alone. He's in love with the mountains, that's his life," she said.


Miss America pageant: Always a few steps behind

As Rim fire rages, more than 400 square miles have burned

UCLA's Nick Pasquale remembered; funeral a 'great tribute'

Twitter: @jasonbretwells / Facebook / Google+

Los Angeles Times Articles