Colin O’Brady Falls Into Crevasse, Barely Survives

A shaken Colin O’Brady admits, “I almost died today.” The American fell into a crevasse just six kilometers from his starting point, on the first day of his expedition.

In an emotional Instagram post, O’Brady recounted how he broke through a snow bridge into a meter-wide hole. Somehow he managed to jam himself between the narrow walls of ice to avoid falling too deeply. Feeling himself slipping deeper, he tried to control his panic.

He managed to remove a ski and let it drop into the bowels of the crevasse.

crevasse opening

Photo: Colin O’Brady


“It felt like it fell forever,” he said.

With a surge of adrenaline, he managed to clamber out. “I lay there on the ice, all alone.”

It was nice weather, and he put up his tent and sat inside while two Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions safety personnel snowmobiled out to him. One of them rappelled down into the crevasse and managed to extricate O’Brady’s ski and pole from 25 to 30m down.

A rescue worker extracts O'Brady's ski and pole from rhe crevasse

A rescue worker extracts O’Brady’s ski and pole from the crevasse. Photo: Colin O’Brady


Try again?

They then drove him back to his starting point, while he considers whether or not to try again.

The American showed up in Antarctica at the last minute, announcing that he wanted to break Christian Eide’s 2011 speed record from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.

Vincent Colliard of France is attempting the same record this year. Currently, after five days, Colliard has covered 164km. At 30km per day, he remains well behind Eide’s pace. Eide averaged over 47km per day and completed the 1,130km between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole in 24 days, 1 hour, 13 minutes.

In other Antarctic expedition news, Sam Cox was evacuated off the ice earlier this week with suspected kidney stones. He was trying to ski 2,000km from Berkner Island to the base of the Reedy Glacier via the South Pole.

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. One of Canada’s premier arctic travelers, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and has just finished a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada and in 2022, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to exploration.