WKU Professor Recovering In Bowling Green After Brush With Death

By Jake Boswell | 

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- "Ribs, you have to suck it up."

Dr. John All has been climbing all his life.

"Three in the upper back. Vertebrae are fractured."

One fall nearly ended that life of adventure.

"Right now there's just sort of muscle dangling loose. I knew I was going to die. You don't fall in crevasses and come out," said Dr. John All as his body filled with pain.

But that's exactly what the WKU professor did after falling into a 70 foot crack in the Earth at a 20,000 foot altitude in Nepal.

After using his pick axe to stop his initial fall, through all of the pain, it was time for a plan.

"I looked to the left, there's just absolutely no way to climb out. Even fully whole I wouldn't have been able to climb out. Straight up, there's no way. Then I look over to the right, we'll maybe I can rig something up."

After five long harsh hours All made his way to daylight, but it didn't take long for him to realize his energy was all but gone.

"I staggered my feet and immediately collapsed. Again, I'm bleeding internally, I haven't eaten or drunken anything in a long time, there's no oxygen. So I start staggering down the hill."

After using a satellite phone to upload a message to Facebook, he got ahold of a helicopter rescue team that said they wouldn't be available until the next morning, meaning a long night for All.

"Waiting for that helicopter, it becomes daylight, then it becomes 7:00, then 8:00, then 9:00. Where is this helicopter!"

It took two men to pull All out of his tent and into a waiting helicopter where he was then taken to a local hospital.

While he recovers at home... he can't help but think of his students, and the advice the experience will allow him to give.

"What I try and tell people is don't be afraid of going out and doing stuff. Think this might happen, and that might happen. The worst happened and you're probably going to live through it. Especially, if you have the right attitude."

All is currently awaiting surgery scheduled for later this week. Believe it or not, in just three weeks, he plans to travel to Peru for yet another climbing expedition.

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