“If you can’t do it the first time, you have to do it countless times.” This sentence was firmly stamped in his mind. This truth could not be simpler, but Larry was saved by it.
Larry Lich, 35, lives in Portland, Oregon. On November 25, 1992, he piled his luggage on a small truck and set off from home to Hood in the Cascade Mountains, more than 100 kilometers to the east. Foothills. In order to adjust the depression after unemployment, he wants to go mountain climbing alone. Before setting off, he drew a map of the climbing route and gave it to his friend Budick and his wife. He also jokingly said: “If I don’t come back at 5pm on Tuesday evening, you will call the police.”
On Thursday night, after driving the truck off the national highway, he stopped and sat in the back seat and slept all night. After daybreak, he evacuated back about 11 kilometers by car. According to the plan, he will wear non-slip boots from the national highway to the bottom of the mountain, walk along the lake, cross the White Lieber Canyon, turn to another mountain and board the national highway, and return to his small truck on Monday afternoon.
For the first two days, the weather was very unstable, it snowed for a while, and the sun appeared for a while. Despite this, Larry felt very comfortable. Loose trousers, wool trousers and shirt, rompers, rubber-soled leather boots, long gloves-these items are more than enough to protect against the cold, and he feels very satisfied.
Fall into the cave
At noon on Sunday, when Larry walked to White Lieber Canyon, dark clouds suddenly rolled from the north. He quickened his pace, but because of the ice-cold water stream and huge rocks, he could not move fast, some rocks were as big as houses. It started to snow at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and soon the wind caught heavy snow, blocking his vision. He had to fumble step by step with a ski stick to move forward.
“Don’t panic, see the surrounding situation clearly.” He told himself. He knew that the ground was tilting to the right. He walked carefully across the slope. The leather ropes of non-slip boots are frozen by the snow and it is difficult to walk. He had to use a cane to lift one foot, then lift the boot on the other foot, and then take a step forward after the snow fell.
Suddenly, Larry fell upside down and fell straight into the dark cracks in the canyon. His forehead hit the snow wall, and he backed out due to the rebound force. Water splashed, his back was hit, and for a moment he fainted. The cold water penetrated his clothes, and his body suddenly became cold. He staggered to his feet, not relieved until he felt he hadn’t hurt his bones. Because the rucksack on the back acts as a cushion and eases the impact of falling.
Larry felt his hand in his rucksack, and pulled out one of the five large candles placed inside. Fortunately, the matches placed in the damp-proof pocket of the pocket were not damp. He looked around by the light of the candle and found himself in a huge cave about three meters wide and four meters high, with a stream flowing under his feet, and above his head, there was a zenith made of ice, snow and rocks, and it was about one wide. A rectangular opening with a length of two meters. He fell from there. He wanted to climb the surrounding rock wall to the entrance of the cave, but he couldn’t find a place to grab his feet.
Around the cave, a brook about 30 centimeters deep was swirling. Downstream of the cave, water seemed to seep out through porous rocks. Heigulongdong upstream couldn’t see what was happening. Larry took the candle and walked to watch there. He thought to himself: If you walk along the upper stream of this stream, it should lead to that slope.
He felt that every step he took forward increased the danger. Suddenly, a stone fell from the top of the sky, and the stone hit the rocks in the river and smashed. In a blink of an eye, another stone fell, and then another fell, and then the mud with sand made a pattering sound and fell straight down.
After walking about 60 meters in the darkness, Larry stopped. He held his breath and looked at the candle flame, which was bright and stable. He thought to himself: “Why doesn’t the flame shake?” The reason is simple, because there is no wind blowing into the cave. Therefore, there is no exit here.
Larry returned to where he was, the light that had penetrated through the hole in the sky had disappeared at some point, and it was dark. His clothes were soaked, and the cold kept in his heart. If this continues, the body temperature will gradually disappear. If you eat some hot food, you can be saved, but the portable gas stove was squashed just now when it fell. He had to soak the beef jerky in water to soften it and swallow it hard. He is 1.78 meters tall and weighs 68 kilograms. Such a physique consumes a lot of energy to resist the cold. He stuffed several pieces of beef jerky in his mouth, drank the slightly flavored water with tea leaves, and then blew out the candles.
Hard to survive
In the dark darkness, he leaned on the rock, his feet soaked in the water, and suddenly remembered that there was a climbing rope about 9 meters long in his backpack. If you tie a stone to one end of the rope and throw it out of the hole, it may catch something. Although there is snow, the ground must be covered with big rocks. If you are lucky, a stone falls between the cracks and it will hang it. In that case, climb outside along the ropes, and maybe you can get out.
As soon as there was a haze in the sky, Larry immediately picked up a rock the size of a 32-open book, tied it to one end of a nylon rope, and started to throw it toward the hole with all his strength.
He threw more than 20 times on one side of the hole, and then another 20 times on the other side of the hole. When the hand is tightened, sometimes you can feel something hanging on the rope. However, most of the rocks came back from the snow, and they didn’t feel anything on their hands.
When he was tired and took a break, an idea suddenly appeared in Larry’s mind. Throwing stones blindly in this way is futile, perhaps only two or three centimeters away from the target without getting caught. So he decided to throw stones at a fixed place on the edge of the cave, and then rotated 360 degrees clockwise to throw them one after another. Throw a rock, then slightly change the angle, then throw again, and then slightly change the angle, then throw again.
The sun began to sink when it rotated halfway around the circle. So he prepared to not let his feet soak in the water in order to sleep at night, and spared no effort to pile up the rocks in the water. But the pile of rocks was very slippery, and finally piled up, and the body collapsed immediately after a little pressure.
That night, he still leaned on the rock and dozed a little. The next day, Tuesday morning, he started throwing rocks at the cave entrance again. The rock tied with the rope deviated from the hole on the zenith, hit some place on the wall of the cave, and made a dull sound. He glanced attentively, it was a root of a tree. The roots of the tree stretched out about one meter from the rock wall near the entrance of the cave, the thickness of Larry’s arm, because it was too far from the entrance of the cave, and people still could not escape. However, if the rope can be hung, it can be hung against it to prevent people from being immersed in water. Larry thought to himself that if the rope cannot smoothly hang anything outside the hole at night, he can hang the rope from the root of the tree to sleep.
Throw the stones tied to the rope, change the angle to the right and then throw again. The same action was repeated hundreds of times. Sometimes the stones came off the rope and flew away, so he looked for other stones and continued to throw them. He threw them tirelessly.
When he was in his 20s, Larry Lich worked as a salesman. At that time, he insisted on visiting customers again and again. So, there will always be people among them who pay for his things. “As long as you keep throwing rocks like this, the rocks will catch something sooner or later.”
It was late that afternoon, and the stone was finally caught by something. Larry drew the rope close to his side and tried it. The feeling in his hand was very strong. He tied the non-slip boots, ski poles and rucksack left by his feet when he fell into the cave on the rope, and firmly grasped the rope with his gloved hands, facing the sun penetrating into the cave. Start climbing little by little. He just felt that the boots were out of the water, hanging in the air, and suddenly his body fell into the cave again. The ropes and stones fell into the water and splashed. Larry clenched his fists, closed his eyes, and leaned his head weakly against the rock wall. He was trembling, disheartened and sad.
Soon, as soon as he recovered his composure, he immediately threw stones at an angle where he might succeed. However, all efforts were wasted. Finally, he focused his attention on the roots of the trees protruding from the sky, and this time, with only one shot, the stones passed through the roots accurately.
He picked up one end of the rope, fastened a belt, and wrapped the belt from his shoulder to his crotch, tightened, and his body was lifted about one meter from the water. After he fixed the knot, the person was hanging like a rock. Although it cannot be said to be a very comfortable posture, at least it can no longer be soaked in water. He listened to the disturbing sound of water, and soon fell asleep after getting tired.
I finally woke up, but felt the pain in both feet like needles. It was already Thursday, and he actually slept for 24 hours. Although too tired to move, he untied his body from the rope. His feet were cramping and his body felt cold. “Energy, energy must be added!” He took out a few pieces of raw bacon from his rucksack and chewed, and then ate all the remaining dry food.
It was dangerous to eat all the food, but he was already confident. There is only one way to be saved, and that is to continue throwing stones. And for this, he must maintain sufficient physical strength.
“Come on! Hung it up again!” The rope suddenly tightened, with a strong feel. The rope hung tight all at once. However, the moment he hung up all the weight, the rope loosened again, and his body bent down again from the cave. “Be calm! Be calm!”
Maybe not to live tonight! Uneasiness passed through Larry’s mind. His body was trembling constantly and his steps were vacant. He wanted to say something aloud, but he couldn’t speak. There is something more terrifying than this, which is water. Unknowingly, the water had already reached his calf and was rising towards his knees. “It’s rain! The amount of water is increasing. If you don’t escape from here, it will be over!”
A stone was tied to one end of the rope. Larry threw it into the night sky desperately, no longer knowing how many times he threw it. Soon the rope tightened again. “Please, please bless me this time.” He prayed, hung on the rope, and the rope didn’t move.
He tensed the rope, fastened a belt, and hung something like a rucksack on the rope, then tried again. But the hand cannot use strength. Because the gloves were slipping, he took off the gloves and stuffed them into his pocket.
Larry climbed up with his bare hands a little bit, his arms were so sore that he couldn’t use his strength, he bit the rope with his teeth to rest, and then climbed again. He used his hands and teeth little by little, shortening the distance from the cave entrance of the zenith. The raindrops hit his face, and the cold wind hit his cheeks.
When approaching the ground, he bent his upper body as much as possible and pushed his right foot upwards as far as possible. The foot reached into the snow. He twisted his upper body and extended his head out of the cave. With all his strength, he suddenly turned over. On the snow outside the cave.
An indescribable sense of relief immediately enveloped his whole body, but the cold raindrops were still stinging his skin, and his body was still suffering from heavy fatigue like lead. There is a dry pine tree one and a half meters away from the entrance of the cave, with ropes firmly surrounding the trunk. “The rocks hit this tree several times.” Larry thought. He staggered and picked up the rucksack. He wants to rest, but he must encourage himself to walk around.
In the downpour, he dragged heavy steps for 15 kilometers, and finally heard the sound of trucks coming from a distance. There was a ground-like place covered with snow not far in front of me. He crawled up there on his hands and knees. It turned out to have climbed onto the national highway. He saw the headlights of the car and raised his hands. The “Volkswagen” car stopped immediately. Larry leaned on the warm seat.
It turned out that during Larry’s interruption of news, search activities were also actively carried out. However, because the sound of running water at the bottom of the cave was very loud, the sound of people shouting could not be heard outside.
On Tuesday evening, the Badiks called the county police station to report that Larry had not returned by the scheduled time. On Wednesday the next day, Borlandia formed a search team and began to search in the mountains, then followed Larry’s path to search, and over the canyon. However, he was not found. The Air Force also dispatched two helicopters to search, but due to the influence of clouds and bad weather, they had to stop soon. By Thursday, the search was still going on. But everything ended in vain.
Later, when Larry talked about that difficult experience to others, he would always say with emotion: “If you can’t do it the first time, you have to do it countless times.” This sentence has been firmly printed on him. In his mind. This principle can be said to be simple, but Larry was saved by it.