• Adam Rawski fell 1,000 feet down Denali in May 2021— and miraculously survived.
  • He spent seven months in the hospital, two in a coma, with broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and other injuries.
  • Rawski spoke to Insider about his road to recovery and the moments before his dangerous fall.

Mountaineer Adam Rawski fell 1,000 feet last year while climbing Denali, the centerpiece of Alaska's Denali National Park. Despite the likelihood of dying in that kind of fall, Rawski miraculously survived — but the experience has had a lasting impact.

"I think the most difficult thing was, in the past year, my whole identity was changed," Rawski said, according to a detailed account of the fall by Insider's Kelsey Vlamis.

Rawski, who was 31 at the time of his fall, set out to summit North America's tallest mountain in May 2021.

On the day Rawski intended to summit, he became ill and was showing some signs of altitude sickness. He and some of the climbers he was with decided to turn back just 0.2 miles short of the summit.

On the descent — while standing atop the Autobahn, a notoriously dangerous icy slope that descends 1,000 feet — Rawski fell. 

When rescuers arrived at the scene, they were shocked to find him alive. At least 13 deadly falls have been recorded on the Autobahn since 1980.

Rawski was in a coma for two months. He had broken ribs, collapsed lungs, fractured spinal bones, a broken talus and humerus, and nerve damage in his arm. After emerging from the coma, he spent five more months recovering in the hospital.  

Rawski said he remembered everything about that day up until about five minutes before the fall. When he awoke from his coma and learned what had happened, he said he felt like he was reading about another person. 

"You're like, 'Oh, what an amateur. They didn't know what they were doing,'" he told Insider. "'The Adam I know would never do that.'"

Rawski was finally released in December, but continued with physical therapy and is still recovering. His walking has improved substantially and he said he has worked his way up to a "very awkward jog." 

He hopes to get back to being the active, outdoorsy person he was before the fall, but he's not sure what exactly that will look like.

"The biggest thing was just sort of accepting that changed identity and trying to pretty much redefine who Adam should be."

Read the full story of Rawski's fall — and how another climber ended up criminally charged over the incident — here.

Read the original article on Business Insider