• A mountain climber who witnessed a 1,000-foot fall from Alaska's Denali in May 2021 said she struggled with guilt. 
  • Sarah Maynard told Insider that the nearly fatal fall deeply affected her: 'Every day I relive it.'
  • Adam Rawski fell down an icy slope near the summit and spent months in the hospital — but survived.

Sarah Maynard, a mountain climber who witnessed another mountaineer fall from Alaska's Denali, said she grappled with guilt after the harrowing disaster. 

Maynard set out to climb North America's highest peak in May 2021, according to a detailed account of the fall by Insider's Kelsey Vlamis.

On the descent, another climber named Adam Rawski fell 1,000 feet down a dangerous slope. He was critically injured but miraculously survived after a helicopter rescue.

Maynard and the other climbers present didn't see or hear his fall. She described the scene as quiet without any wind.

"That's what was so spooky and haunting," she told Vlamis. "I didn't hear his ice axe hit the ground. I didn't hear his body tumble. I didn't hear a yelp from him."

The four climbers involved had tried to summit the mountain that day, but Rawski was showing signs of altitude sickness, prompting them to turn back just over 1,000 feet short of the summit.

On the descent, they approached the Autobahn: an icy slope at 18,200 feet elevation that's notorious for being deceptively dangerous and deadly. Despite Rawski's weakness, he was not roped up with protection. One moment, Rawski was beside them; the next, he was lying still at the bottom of the Autobahn.

"Even now, every day I relive it," Maynard said. "It's the exact same moment of clipping myself into the picket at the Autobahn, and then looking over and Adam's gone."

After Rawski's fall, Maynard visited him in an Anchorage hospital, where he was unconscious in the ICU. He spent two months in a coma and seven in the hospital, recovering from broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and other injuries.  

Maynard spent months in therapy working through her guilt over not hearing Rawski fall or making sure he was roped up, even though he wasn't her original partner.

Maynard's climbing partner, Grant Wilson, said the fall has only strengthened his resolve to keep other mountaineers safe.

"I was passionate about guiding before and now, more than ever," Wilson said. "I feel called to be on the mountain… making sure that the same things don't happen that happened to Adam."

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