Safety in numbers in not just some lame old adage. Lawrence Bishop, 64, a retired hazardous-waste specialist from Santa Barbara, Calif., learned that the hard way. After climbing a peak in the Sierra Nevada National Forest near Fresno, Bishop found himself in a life-and-death situation after he took a tumble on his way back down the mountain. For 52 hours, the experienced climber clung to a dangerously smooth, sheer granite mountain face. (See Bishop's interview with ABC News below.) Rescuers managed to save the dehydrated, hungry, hallucinating husband and father before it was too late. Here, a guide to the miraculous save:
How did Bishop get stuck?
The experienced hiker had just summited Dog Tooth Peak, 45 miles northeast of Fresno, Calif., in the Sierra Nevada National Forest. On his way back, Bishop, who had left his group to embark alone on this climb, took "what turned out to be a hazardous route down," says Tracie Cone at the Associated Press. Bishop fell three times, cutting and bruising himself, but eventually managed to find a six- to seven-inch ledge to wedge himself into. He stayed there, squashed against the sheer rock face, 10,000 feet up, for 52 hours.
What did he do to while he was trapped?
Still equipped with his camera and notepad, Bishop took pictures of the steep drop and of himself as he grew dehydrated and hallucinatory. He also kept a log of how he was feeling throughout the harrowing ideal. At one point, he began writing a goodbye note to his wife and daughter.
How was Bishop rescued?
The party that Bishop had been with before he ventured off on his own reported him missing. Finally, David Rippe, a search and rescue officer from the Fresno County Sheriff's offce, spotted Bishop and scrambled 300 feet up a 70-degree slope of granite — with no rope. "He looked like he was going to fall at any moment, and I was just hoping I could get there before he did," Rippe said. When he reached the nearly lifeless Bishop, Rippe used a 20-foot piece of nylon webbing that he just happened to have in his pocket to secure the stranded climber.
How did they get off the cliff?
A sheriff's helicopter overhead was able to swoop them both to safety. Rippe was eager to use his newfound fame to remind hikers and climbers to stick together, telling The Los Angeles Times: "When you're out there [alone], you're just a tiny speck against things that are so much bigger."
Take a look at Bishop's astonishing rescue: