A SCOTS climber who survived a bear attack has finally revealed how he fought the animal off – by “booting it in the face”.
Last November, Greg Boswell was climbing in the Canadian rockies with a friend when a grizzly bear launched a terrifying attack.
The 25-year-old, from Fife, fell while trying to run from the animal and had no option but to try and fight for his life.
His climbing friend, Nick Bullock, wrote a blog after the incident describing the event which took place in sub-zero temperatures on Mount Wilson.
But now Greg himself has opened up about the attack, and described how he decided he was “not ready to die” as the animal sank its teeth into his leg.
In an interview with a magazine, he said: “It was dark when we finished climbing. Part way down the descent I took off my snowshoes, so I was wearing just my walking boots, and stopped to fill up my water bottle.
“I saw Nick trotting off into the distance, but something made me turn around. What I saw will stay with me for the rest of my life.
“There, bounding full pace towards me, was a grizzly bear. It was about five yards away – and getting closer.
“I tried to run, but in my panic I forgot I was no longer wearing the snowshoes. The moment I stepped off the trail, I went up to my waist in powder snow.
“The bear made one last leap, but before it could land on me, I lifted my right leg and booted it in the face.”
He continued: “It grabbed my boot in its mouth and spat it aside like a pip from an apple. In an instant it had my lower leg in its mouth and was writhing around, pulling. I felt it lift me up into the air.
“A million things were going through my head, but the strongest thought was ‘I’m not going to die’.
“The bear let my body drop onto the snow, but my leg was still firmly in its mouth. I slapped at its face with my hand and, as I was doing so, my thumb went into its mouth.
“I must have jabbed it in the roof of its mouth, because all of a sudden it grunted and let go.”
The bear then backed away, after possibly being blinded by Greg’s head torch, and headed off towards the trees.
It took the pair five hours to get back to their car, with Greg losing blood from deep punctures in his leg the whole time.
They eventually got to a hospital in Banff, Alberta, where Greg was given x-rays, stitches and countless injections.
Greg said: “Thankfully, the damage wasn’t too serious and I was discharged the next day. After a follow-up appointment and rabies jabs I was allowed to fly home.
“I’m still recuperating – but it won’t be long before I’m out in the Scottish hills, making the most of what’s left of the winter season.”