Late last month, Virgin founder Richard Branson took to his personal blog to regale readers with a harrowing experience. During a recent rock climbing trip on Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps, Branson and his team experienced a near disaster and worst case scenario. As Branson himself puts it:
"At the end of our first day climbing Mont Blanc for the Virgin Strive Challenge we found ourselves trapped on the side of the mountain as a huge rock fall caused boulders the size of small cars to fall on us."
Branson's son Sam and nephew Noah were also with the team when the worst almost happened, and Branson says that in all his years of tackling extreme physical challenges he's "never come so terrifyingly close to losing myself, my son and other team mates."
It happened at the very end of the first day's climb, fittingly enough at a notoriously unsafe 100-yard crossing known by some as the Gouter Couloir, and known by still others as the "Gully of Death." Despite the crossing's imposing nickname, the team's guides were reasonably certain that in late September it would indeed be safe to cross. Branson describes what happened next in detail sufficient to make most people swear off mountain climbing forever:
"Within seconds of getting across we heard the most horrible sound. A side of a cliff had broken away from the mountain further up and seconds later huge boulders the size of small cars were bouncing towards us. Rocks rained down on us from every angle."
Obviously, despite the extremely iffy interlude, Branson's team made it up and down Mont Blanc with their lives and blogging abilities intact. And no, as you've probably already guessed, Branson shows no signs of planning to quit mountain climbing because of the incident.