Months of recovery expected for man who survived Mt. Adams ordeal

Months of recovery expected for man who survived Mt. Adams ordeal »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - A Philomath man who miraculously survived five days on Washington's Mount Adams while injured will likely spend three months off his feet while recovering, his father told KATU News Saturday.

Derek Mamoyac, 27, suffered a broken ankle and other lower leg injuries as well as frostbite on his rear end and toes, said his father, Steve Mamoyac. However, his son, who underwent surgery Saturday at Portland's Legacy Emanuel Hospital, was expected to make a full recovery.

"As tough as he is, he's going to be off his feet for awhile," his father said. "That's going to be tough for him."

Mamoyac summited the 12,277-foot mountain Sunday but apparently lost his footing on the descent and broke his right ankle while tumbling down the mountain. His family reported him missing Monday when he failed to show up for work, and search crews tried for days to find any sign of him.

The climber spent nearly four days trying to drag himself off the mountain, drinking from creeks and eating centipedes and other bugs after running out of food. His mother said Saturday he also drank his own urine when he ran out of water.

A dog from a search and rescue team located him just below the 6,000-foot level at about 2 p.m. Friday.

His family was driving toward the mountain when they got a cell phone call from a search official.

"Steve, we found your son, and he's alive," Steve Mamoyac recalled the incident commander telling them, setting off pandemonium in the car.

"It was the call that we’d been waiting for and expecting and hoping and praying for all week," his father said. "Going from the worst low to the highest high just instantaneously. It was unbelievable."

The family has not pressed the 27-year-old for details of the ordeal, wanting to let him rest and recover.

"He knew what he was doing," his father said. "He had some wits about him, obviously, and just the toughness and the fortitude to withstand those conditions. It’s incredible."