The UK’s Sky News reports that Sir Richard Branson, along with his son, nephew, and a handful of other climbers were “seconds away from certain death” on a charity climb of Mont Blanc
“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,” Branson told Sky.
“I am not exaggerating when I say four of our team were seconds away from certain death. I have never come so terrifyingly close to losing my son and other teammates and it all happened in a matter of seconds,” he said.
Branson’s son, Sam Branson, posted a video of the incident to his Instagram account.
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Didn’t want to mention it till we were all down safe and sound but we had a very very close call on the climb. 10 seconds earlier and @susiematropic @jamesbenamor @richardbranson our guides and I would most likely not be here to tell the tale. A tower of boulders decended down the mountain in the grand couloir upon us and one rock even hit my helmet. Some were the size of coins and others the size of fridges! You can’t see in the video but you can hear them all falling. Was a very scary time 🤯 That one section takes 20 lives a year 😬⛰ and sadly someone was hit by falling rocks only 10 mins later in the same spot. We have heard they are alive and recovering. Thoughts are with them and all the families out there who have lost loved ones on this mountain. 100 people are killed a year. More than any other mountain in Europe and due to climate change and unpredictable conditions the threat is sadly ever growing. #westrive #striveforabigchange @virgin @strivechallenge @bigchangecharity #grandecouloir #montblanc #rockfall #lucky #escape
Simon Lowe, Managing Director of the British mountain guiding company Jagged Globe, said on Twitter that his staff deemed the route too perilous to cross earlier in the week.
It appears the episode convinced Branson and his team of Lowe’s logic. They were airlifted off the mountain by helicopter rather than undertake further risk.