“An Avalanche Saved My Life!” 53 Year-Old Scottish Mountaineer and Ministry Leader Thanks God to be Able to Tell This Survival Story.

Chad Walker | ClimbingClimbing | AvalancheAvalanche


53-year-old Richard Tiplady fell nearly 600ft down Mt. Pillar’s West Waterfall slide path. Photo: Time and Star

After sliding and pin-balling 600 feet, 53-year-old Richard Tiplady avoided falling to his almost certain death with the help of a previous avalanche that stopped him from careening over a 200-foot cliff. Tiplady was trying to summit Mt. Pillar with a friend late Thursday, March 5.

Tipaldy, and experienced Mountaineer and Lecturer in the Scottish Episcopal Church, slipped and fell on a patch of ice only 20 feet from the summit of the 2,927-foot peak of the mountain.  Richard and his friend were prepared for the conditions they would face on their attempt to summit that day. They carried ice axes, crampons, first-aid supplies, and even emergency blankets and communication devices such as cell phones and rescue whistles.

53-year-old Richard Photo: Daily Mail

In his recent account given to Time and Star, Richard recalls, “It all happened in a fraction of a second. In a situation like that, you know you are not going to stop; you’re going to be stopped.”

It’s hard to imagine what Richard felt in that split second where he realized that his survival would be up to his reactions and the God that he has devoted his life to. 

Richard knew that he must remain as calm as possible, and try his best to self-arrest.

“As you fall, there are only two things you can do: firstly, you have to try to keep your feet first; and the second thing is that you must try to slow yourself down – by pressing your arms down.”

He tried his best but was spun around and swept violently down a natural slide path known as the West Waterfall Gully.  He lost his grip on his ice axe and prayed for mother nature and the God of his choosing to watch over him.  Richard said he remembers “feeling protected.”

After coming to a stop, he was battered, and bloody, but after tending to his injuries as well as he possibly could, he went into survival mode.  Tiplady wrapped up in his survival blanket, summoned his partner to scramble down to his location with the use of a whistle, and contacted rescuers via a phone app he had downloaded prior to the expedition.

Surprisingly, rescuers were able to reach him in under an hour.

Cockermouth’s Rescue Team, The Coast Guard, and Great North Air Ambulance Evacuate Richard. Photo: Time and Star  

Richard is expected to make a full recovery while nursing his wounds of a broken neck, deep lacerations to his face and head, and a chipped “funny” bone.

There is obviously nothing “funny” about this otherwise remarkable story, and Tiplady is more than grateful for his rescuers.  

Speaking of his harrowing experience with Time and Star, Richard said this.

“They were so professional and caring. They were also non-judgemental. As they treated me, one said the reason he joined the team was he was once rescued.”

Pending a full recovery, Richard may also one day pursue working in the mountains with rescue personnel himself.

I can’t ever recall an avalanche being a savior to one’s life in the mountains.  What a remarkable story with a great ending.

Wishing you a speedy recovery Mr. Tiplady!  We hope to see you back in the mountains shortly.






Ouch!!!! Photo: Time and Star

Hey ladies!  If you’re into scars from “Cats” doing rad Sh*t, Richard Tiplady is going to have a handful of markings to help tell this story for a long time to come.

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