On a cool summer day I went with friends on what we knew would be a rigorous mountain hike. But rigorous soon turned to life-threatening. At the first viewpoint, we came upon a group of hikers screaming for help: a member of their party had fallen off the cliff.
As I peered over the cliff, I saw that the fallen hiker had landed on a small ledge that overlooked yet another cliff. He was using his own strength to keep himself on the ledge; he had most likely broken his foot in the fall, and the search and rescue team wouldn’t be there for over an hour. So I took action.
I rigged a harness and lowered myself down to the injured man. After making sure he was okay, I held him on the ledge for two hours, allowing him to relax until search and rescue arrived.
I will always remember what he said as the ambulance doors were shutting: “Thank you for saving my life; I would have died up there without you.” As the ambulance screamed away, I felt lucky to have been the one to help the fallen hiker.
—Kristopher R Lange
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