Jimmy McSparron

Jimmy McSparron – Silver Medal

Following torrential rain the cliff face below a mountain chapel in Peru had crumbled away leaving the building and its garden in danger of falling into the valley below. Jimmy, intent on rescuing the man, free climbed half way up the cliff face to a ledge, using a ladder to cross a bridge that had been washed away. The steps up the cliff were destroyed and the route had become a waterfall against which Jimmy struggled.

The entire cliff face was crumbling and large boulders tumbled past his head. An enormous boulder slid down towards him as the water flushed away the earth beneath it. The guardian was fearful of moving in case he slipped. Eventually he lowered some wire down so a rope could be pulled up to him. Jimmy spent hours hanging onto the cliff trying to persuade the man to climb down, when suddenly the guardian disappeared back into the crumbling chapel.

The foundations slipped and people below started screaming. Jimmy looked up and saw a metre square boulder falling towards his head and he had to lunge to one side to avoid being hit. He stayed put calling for the guardian to hurry up as it was getting too dangerous to stay any longer. The sides of the canyon were constantly eroding and a boulder the size of a bus was sliding closer and closer as its foundations were washed away.

The man reappeared with a life size crucifix, insisting he could not leave it. At first Jimmy refused as time was running out, but eventually he agreed and the man lowered it down to the ledge where it could be recovered. Jimmy told everyone to get clear below as rocks began to fall and then he climbed back up to the guardian. Together they managed to descend using the rope Jimmy had rigged up. As they reached the bottom the canyon sides started to slip and they had to run through thigh high water and mud to get away. The duration of the rescue was about three hours.