No room for fear

No room for fear
Cory Richards

It's hard to define near-death.

So says Mr Cory Richards, who is known for photographing his climbing adventures in vast, high-altitude environments.

The man, whose photographs have appeared in National Geographic magazine, paused before telling The New Paper: "The last time I had that experience was at Gasherbrum II (the 13th-highest mountain on Earth). I hope I don't feel that way again."

Mr Richards, 32, and two climbers were descending from the 8,034m Pakistani mountain in February 2011 when they were hit by a Class 4 serac avalanche.

This type of avalanche involves boulder-size ice chunks tumbling down at high speeds. It can destroy a railway car, a large truck or even buildings.

He still suffers from mild post traumatic stress disorder, but said the fear in such situations is a "fascinating experience".

"You're only scared before an accident, but during an accident, there's absolutely no room for fear. It's a complete acceptance of the present, and life does pass before your eyes, but it's not this big, grand vision...

"It's like parking tickets and Grape-Nuts (a brand of breakfast cereal)... You realise it's fleeting, and you need to make the best of it," he said.

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