Helmetcam captures skier's plunge from a cliff-face

A skier wearing a helmet camera tumbled off a sheer cliff, recording the terrifying journey for posterity. It appears that he escaped unscathed.

This video was released by the manufacturer of the camera, who are either justifiably proud of the yeoman duty performed by their product or responsible for a viral video hoax. You decide. (Perhaps you can tell from the pixels)

Finally Released: Skier loses footing, falls off huge cliff [Captured by his own GoPro] HD


  1. I particularly liked the “Win Accident Compensation” advert that popped up over the video.

  2. That video was posted a week ago on vimeo by Stefan Ager, and later retracted. The fall is near the Stubai glacier in the Alps. Himself – or people pretending to be him – has been all over webboards claiming first descent of the north face :-)

    Oh. And – that is one sick line to drop switch.

  3. Considering the total lack of expletives as he’s falling, I’m voting for viral video.

    Oh, and because of the pixels.

      1. I believe in these kind of situations, instinct takes over. I was completely silent during my fall – no time to think, only to put your arms out to avoid going headfirst into a boulder.

      2. If you’ve ever seen a person fall you’d know they don’t say anything except maybe make some “Ahhh!” type noise. Things get primitive in a fall really fast. No one says anything except maybe “No!” at the start and even then that is uncommon. I’ve spent enough time climbing to see it myself.

        And for the person who said he stood up too fast at the end, well after a fall unless you have a head injury the first thing you do without much thinking is to assess yourself. “Sh*t! Am I ok? (try to stand up) Ok, I can stand up and I don’t feel hurt…”

        The fish eye comment was interesting because the fall distance seemed much smaller than what it looked like from the top so I’d say the view was exaggerated.

  4. Having worked mt rescue this looks very believable. Gonna need to resurface those skis though.

  5. hmm .. one thing, the fish eye lense makes everything look more dramatic … maybe it was not such a huge cliff face … and overall the video is too well edited to be ‘real’ (why a shot again of the top at the end?) no idea what went on there … but kinda fun to look at …

    Once we all have those helmet cams … youtube will just grow more and more :D

    1. Too well edited to be real?

      It’s hardly edited atall.

      Those saying it’s a viral hoax – do you mean he did this deliberately, or this is CGI or what?

      1. There are at least 8 edits / cuts that i could count (maybe more if the whole stumble is some cam trick, which I am no suggesting that it is)

        The ‘basic’ youtuber might have just posted the fall … but this is very nicely set up .. see the area .. the people that are with you .. get in your gear … and WHOOAAAAHHH fall … and then suddenly we are back on the mountain ???

        1. Fair enough, I should’ve watched closer – mabye a frame-by-frame analysis will expose an elaborate hoax.

          If so, it’s nicely done! Fooled me!

    2. “why a shot again of the top at the end?”

      because this was a just a dream sequence
      – it’s the big thing in movies these days

  6. It may be a bit of both – vireal? – I believe GoPro are the folks that are giving away a lot of hardware in the hopes that recipients post good POV stuff. Generate awareness/wild videos/etc.? Not a horrible strategy

  7. Gopro has a slick web site that seeks and presents videos made with Gopro’s neat cam kit.
    I would say marketing done right.
    An auto racer I follow on tweeter was posting some excellent dirt track pov vids I asked about his cam, his “RT Gopro”.

  8. I fell off a mountain once. There was no snow, just rocks, so it might have hurt a little more, but… This guy gets up much too soon. Also, you’d expect him to either lose his skis or break a leg.

    There are a few moments where the image goes black (which is not abnormal, though), maybe they threw down a dummy for the middle part of the fall. I can’t tell from the pixels.

    This video is not impossible, but I strongly suspect it to be fake.

    (I got lots of bad bruises but no serious damage, thank you)

  9. I really feel like the fisheye effect is making things appear more dramatic then they might be in real life. (Not that falling down the face of a mountain isn’t dramatic…)

    But at the beginning that peak he climbs up to and on looks at first to be about 2 maybe 3 feet wide. I was thinking well no shit he fell of that.

    He did do a good job of catching himself on the way down and it looks like he was half way skiing it for the last couple hundred feet or so.

  10. having done something similar recently (no rocks, just snow), I have a hard time believing he’d be able to control himself that well unless he planned it. It took about 5 minutes after cartwheeling for me to regain composure enough to stand up.

    as for the skis not coming off, he’s probably got the bindings set tight enough to keep them on no matter what… You pretty much have to do that for crazy stupid skiing or the bindings become a huge liability…

    1. I dislocated my shoulder in a skiing accident a while back. I was bruised pretty bad and bleeding, and my arm was at a very odd and painful angle. Despite this my initial reaction was to stand up and start wondering around immediately.

      This lasted for a few minutes before I realised what had happened, the pain set in, and I sat down again.

  11. I really don’t know about this one. It kinda looks like he’s poling himself backwards off the cliff right before the fall, but hard to say for sure.

  12. He only falls for about 4 seconds, so an upper bound on the height of the cliff is 260 feet. Still doesn’t look like too much fun…

  13. There are edits during the fall. But it was the sounds he made that made me suspicious–too contrived.

  14. Those questioning the lack of expletives: have you ever actually fallen? I have, the sounds I made were more like “oof” and “augh.” You don’t say, “mercy me, I seem to have taken a tumble!” Your lizard brain takes over and you make funny noises. It’s not until you’ve stopped falling that you said, “f– me!”

  15. For all the people who think this is fake, are you implying that he actually jumped and this was done on purpose, or are you implying that the video is CGI? Because really, those are the only two options here.

    The fact that GoPro has the video and has edited it nicely isn’t surprising, because this is how they do all their online advertising. They give cameras to pro or competitive amateur athletes, and then later they collect the footage and turn it into a cool promotional video.

    Here’s one they did of an informal mountain bike event after a major race:

    If this skier was one of the athletes they normally work with, why wouldn’t they have the video? And even if they wouldn’t, they’d certainly get the unedited copy from an amateur and do their own professional edit to it before releasing it as a promotional video.

    And it is a good promotional video, it certainly speaks for the durability of the camera.

  16. I have fallen a long distance along a cliff (wasn’t quite vertical, so it was sliding not free-falling, but it was about 75 feet at around 80 degrees).

    I clearly *thought* oh shit – but don’t recall vocalize anything, as engaging anything that wasn’t necessary to STAY HEAD UP during the fall. Had someone been recording I’m sure I was going “Oof” a lot, but I don’t know. I was paying attention to sliding head-up.

    I don’t know how much luck and how much mad scramble was involved, but I landed head-up-feet-down on the 6 foot wide pile of sand on the bottom, between the Large Rock and the trees which would probably have impaled me. And after a second in which I realized “I’m alive”, stood up and walked a few feet away from the cliff.

  17. I’ve climbed enough myself to know that when people actually fall they don’t say a whole lot. They don’t curse or anything, they mainly gasp (like I did once) or yell. I did a big pendulum fall on an ice climb and I was thinking “Watch where you are going to end up and the rock face next to you and get ready” and not saying anything.

    I feel this wasn’t staged. If it was staged then it was a very dangerous stunt. The thing that gets me is that he fell down rock which is going to break bones, open wounds, etc.

    I don’t know why anyone would risk that kind of exposure anyway without any kind of anchor. He was on a knife edge, the snow could be soft from the sun and corniced. I guess some people need their ego stroked very badly.

  18. Is it fake? Apparently, we genuinely don’t know. That’s kind of cool in its own right, or anyway it seems Significant Somehow. Especially since no one’s suggesting that it took ten million dollars and six weeks’ worth of contract time at Industrial Light and Magic to pull off the “fake.”

  19. It’s obvious what has been done here. He fell UP the cliff, and the video is just playing backwards.

  20. I watched it a couple more times and just don’t think it’s fake. I also don’t see any obvious edits. The screen going dark isn’t necessarily an edit. I believe it’s genuine, and the guy did not intend to fall. But that’s just my opinion, perhaps I’m too credulous.

  21. Annon wrote “Oh. And – that is one sick line to drop switch.”

    I soooo did not expect full on lingo that my brain took a couple of seconds to process that. I am very, very lucky that I didn’t have a mouth full of pop, or I would have nose-nosled it all over my computer.

    (To “drop (in) switch” means to intentionally drop into a half-pipe or start a run going backwards.)

    I’m with opmaroon and dculbertson. I think the more that you’ve done things like steep skiing/riding the more realistic this appears. (Watching a bunch of Teton Gravity Research video will also desensitize you to big falls while skiing.) The fall wasn’t that far. I think the fish-eye makes it look higher – I’d be surprised if the distance from the ridge to the base of the rocks was more than 400’/120m, which isn’t a lot of vertical in skiing/riding terms, particularly for people to ride really steep stuff. Remember – the steeper the rock face, the less hard he was hitting it until he got to the snow at the bottom.

    My bet is that this guy had a lot of experience falling on steep stuff, including some rocks, and while this might have been the biggest/worst rocky fall he’d taken, recovering the way he did towards the bottom wasn’t as alien an experience for him as it would be for non-skiers watching this. One thing this video doesn’t show you is how he got out of where he landed. Descending down the wrong side of a ridge without a way back up can put you miles away from where you want to be….

  22. Reasons to believe it’s real….

    He’s apparently acting in adrenaline mode, making quick decisions to minimize the negativity of the situation. Predominantly, jumping over the rock outcrops and trying to land in the snow below. A thrown dummy would not have done that.

    Another, Mt. Superior has the Serenity ski area, they have (or had in the ’80s) a so called trail named “Avalance”, which was basically a cliff, and if enough snow had blown against it, it had a slope to it. I attest that when landing on near vertical wind pack snow you can survive several jumps of 30 to 50 feet descent. (To get down the “trail”, you jump about a foot out from the cliff, and fall. Then knock the wall of snow that’s now trapping you, and jump out another foot, and fall. Repeat ten times. It’s not quite skiing.)

    To recap: the object “falling” is reacting to conditions, the landings are survivable.

    1. Yes, all of those reasons — and also note that as he goes off the edge right at the start of the fall, his hand opens, dropping his pole and clutching uselessly for the edge. Very natural human response; not something a dummy would do.

  23. It doesn’t have to not be a real human to be staged.

    It has all the setup, suspense, and delivery of something planned to be a commercial from the outset, though.

    Show the scene, cut to pictures of the people’s faces, show the product being slipped onto the guy’s head, then have him sliding down a slope on his ass to show how awesome the camera is.

  24. The fisheye lens makes the slopes of surfaces in this video really hard to interpret, I can’t tell if he actually fell of a “sheer cliff” at all or if he was just quickly sliding down a very steep slope…all the noise as he goes down makes me think he wasn’t in freefall, but maybe that was just the microphone being shaken by the wind, I dunno. My guess is that it wasn’t staged, but that the description that goes with the video (which apparently wasn’t posted by the guy himself) may be sensationalized…I’d like to hear his own account of what happened that day.

  25. >For all the people who think this is fake, are you implying that he actually jumped and this was done on purpose, or are you implying that the video is CGI? Because really, those are the only two options here.

    My first reaction was that the body you see falling is a mannequin.

  26. It’s real. Looks real. Sounds real.
    They even used real pixels.

    There’s no reason to assume it isn’t.
    People will use cool cameras even in awesome places with awesome weather attempting to do something awesome with their awesome friends.

    I wish I had had a helmet cam for some of my “stunts”. Or at least a helmet.

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