A lesson in a horrible situation

Lees in het Nederlands

Recently one of my biggest fears came true. I’m just going to tell you straight. My climbing buddy and I found a dead body in a forest as we were trying to find the crag that we were planning to climb at. We obviously took completely the wrong route and found ourselves in a very steep sloped forest. We sort of kept seeing trails, probably by animals, so we pushed on. We were hoping to find the crag with the GPS info that we had while scrambling through the forest. Instead we found something completely different.

Before I tell you what happened I’d like to tell you why I’m writing a post about this.

First of all it’s a way for me to process what happened, but I don’t need to do that publicly. The other reason is because I noticed the practice of the last few years has been paying out. As I tell the story I hope that I can inspire at least one other person.

Okay, let’s get into the story.

As we were scrambling through the forest my buddy noticed a backpack lying in the forest. So our first thought is that we should be getting close to the crag. Then I noticed this pile of clothes a bit higher up and I said to him; “I hope this isn’t anything sinister”. We approach the clothes and I realise that the clothes lie in a way that looks like somebody’s wearing it. I say this and in my mind a picture of something like a scarecrow comes up. My climbing partner then says; “I see hair”. Straight away I turn around to not have to look at it anymore.

We talk a bit back and forth and quickly conclude this is a person that has died a long time ago. We take a pin of the location but soon realize we need to call this in. We call 112 and try to explain the situation to the operator. Since we don’t speak Slovak and the operator doesn’t speak English very well we struggle to get our story and location to him. The operator gets mountain rescue on the phone, and are then told that they’re on their way.

We have to wait.

As we’re standing there a half thought forms in my head. Something like, that’s quite shitty that we are now waiting in a forest instead of having fun climbing. But even before it fully has formed another thought kicks in. We have probably made someone’s day today. A family hopefully now has some closure as they at least know what happened to their loved one and have their remains to properly say goodbye. I share this thought with my climbing partner and this helps us to see our situation in a more positive way.

This is what I really wanted to share with everyone. If I would have been in this situation years ago there’s a big chance that my thoughts didn’t go that way. For years I’ve been trying to see the positive in difficult situations I find myself in. That paid off on this day.

Once we knew that rescuers were on their way to us we found ourselves a place to sit and wait. Pretty soon we heard them below us and after some shouting back and forth the first rescuer reached us. My friend was so kind to show the rescuer the remains. I could see it wasn’t easy for him but as I found it horrific myself I couldn’t take it upon myself.

I’ve always struggled with death. Even roadkill while driving or the remains of something like a goat while hiking has left me feeling very uncomfortable.

To finish the story. We were led out of the place to the climbing crag that we were close to, but way too low on the hill. Police came to do an investigation and in the end we didn’t have to make a statement, which kind of surprised us.

That was the end of our strange day. It left me quite unsatisfied because I don’t know who the person was. I don’t know what happened to them and will probably never know who their family is and how they will react to the news. This might sound a bit selfish and I understand that I’m just a small part in this story. But it’s hard for me to now close the story for myself. I’ll try to focus on the positive part that I’ve been able to play in this story and be satisfied with that.

4 Replies to “A lesson in a horrible situation”

  1. What a story, and thanks for sharing this uncomfortable situation with us.

    Actually, I can imagine that this situation can be very tricky, because, out of nothing you might have issues with the local authorities. Fortunately for you, the local authorities were very professional and they assisted you in a good way.

    All the best and climb safe.

    Liked by 1 person

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