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10 Sticky Situations

Gary Shannon . . . Comments

There have been many shocking, sticky situations, but these are the very definition of sticky situations, as their stories are as shocking as they were amazing. There have been many heroic or inspiring tales of survival, as well as tragic and saddening cases of what might have been. Whether or not a story would fall into either of those, they are all truly sticky situations.


Ernest Shackleton


Sticky Situation: Wait on Elephant Island for help, or open ocean sailing?

A tragic 1914 expedition went bad after getting crushed by a large section of ice. This led to Ernest Shackleton’s fight for survival. Shackleton, over the course of two years, safely led a boat crew through the nightmarish Antarctic waters, until he found an island. It was called Elephant Island, and was an ice covered mountain island off the coast of Antarctica. These islands were in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands, in the Southern Ocean. This island got its name for the large elephant seals that inhabit it, which was lucky for Ernest Shackleton and his crew, as they were able to survive off this food for a while. It left for a sticky situation in which Shackleton went open-boat journeying in the hopes of finding a whaling station. This was called “The Voyage of James Caird”. Luckily for the group, through a stormy and perilous ocean, they were able to find an unclaimed southern island, and as they crossed the landscape they found a whaling station helping the island crew.


Sophie Tucker

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Sticky Situation: Swimming perilous lengths in open shark infested water.

A truly amazing story, indeed, as it was no human who had survived this event. During a family yachting trip in Australia, in 2008, a cattle dog named Sophie, who was four years-old, had fallen overboard on the yacht. The yacht was close to the harbor, but instead the dog swam 6 miles in a different direction. To make this story even more amazing, Sophie had traveled over open shark-infested waters! Truly a heroic story; the dog traveled to a small island that happened to be in its direction. This island contained lots of vegetation and plenty of wild goats, which Sophie would hunt and eat. This was soon reported by the locals, and when the family heard, they headed towards St. Bees island and found her safe. Today, Sophie lives with her family.


Paul Templer

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Sticky Situation: In the mouth of a giant hippo.

River guide Paul Templer had once fought for the British Army, but afterwards decided to become a guide in the rivers of his home, Zimbabwe. With this type of job comes many hazards, and one of the most common attacks come from a hippo. On one occasion, this happened to Paul Templer. A hippo mauled Paul and tried to eat him, when the canoe he was on was being attacked. His head was now in the mouth of a hippo, and as he tried to escape he lost his arm and after that a foot. This attack became famous, and Paul is currently a coach and a public speaker for a children’s charity.


Tami Ashcraft


Sticky Situation: Sailing through unknown open waters.

Tami Ashcraft was sailing, with her boyfriend, to sell the sailboat they were currently on. Disaster struck as Hurricane Raymond brought waves up to 50 feet, leading to Tami being knocked unconscious. She awoke to the sight of a broken sail boat and found that her boyfriend wasn’t on the boat. He was assumed to have drowned. She was now clueless as to her position but managed to fix the boat’s makeshift mast and sail on. For forty days she lived off what was supposed to last her only a couple days, and finally she was able to find Hilo Harbor, in shock, but alive.


Yossi Ghinsberg

Tuiche-Book-Photos 023

Sticky Situation: Trapped in the Amazon.

Yossi Ghinsberg was traveling down the Amazon River with a group that was not truly prepared for the trip, and they became lost. There were four of them, and the worst thing they could have done was split up, but two groups were created and each pair went their separate way. As the rivers became more powerful, Yossi and his friend, Kevin, were both separated. Yossi had gotten the worst of it as he was now in the unpredictable and untamed wilderness of the Amazon jungle, alone. Luckily for him, his friend Kevin had found some locals that were eventually able to find Yossi and get him back to a civilized society. The search for Yossi had taken 19 days, so Yossi had survived long, terrible circumstances. As for the other pair, they were never heard from or seen again, as if the Amazon had swallowed them up.


Joseph Kittinger


Sticky Situation: Jump with a parachute at the edge of space?

Former U.S. fighter pilot, Joseph Kittinger, tried something that had never been heard of – skydive from the edge of space. At the time, he did not know that he jumped from the edge of space, as it was 1959, but Joseph had worn a special suit with a breathing apparatus as they were well aware of the lack of oxygen. There are so many views of this on camera, but the descent itself was a very dangerous one, as his suit was ripped open, leaving room for the ice cold air to break in. This was a record-breaking free-fall jump, and it took him a very long time to fall to the earth, and he is now called the fastest person ever – when he was falling, he flew faster then the speed of sound.


Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 Crew

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Sticky Situation: Stranded in the Andes.

This flight crew of rugby players has become famous, as it is an epic story of survival. They’re remembered primarily for their resorting to cannibalism, but this was truly an amazing story as two brave young men had decided to face the Andes. The crew had survived rough storms and some lives were lost to an avalanche, so Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa traveled over the unknown terrain of these mountainous landscapes. They finally found some vegetation, and then a river, which they walked alongside. From there Nando and Roberto were able to seek help. and the remaining survivors of the plane crash were finally recovered.


Aron Ralston


Sticky Situation: Arm trapped between a boulder and a wall of rock.

Aron Ralston had traveled through an activity filled Utah landscape, only to have a giant 800 pound boulder pin him against a wall in a small canyon. This was, indeed, a sticky situation as Aron had little food to live by, and the rest of his drinking supply was back in his car. This story was made into an excellent Academy Award-nominated movie. Aron Ralston, in this small space, had envisioned his life with many regrets. This story becomes more shocking as Aaron realized that no one was going to find him, and used a small, dull, extra accessory pocket knife to free his arm. This must have been agonizing as he had to cut through tissue, then nerve stem, then his bone. This story is too much for some, but is truly a great survival story.


Tom and Eileen Lonergan

Open Water Movie

Sticky Situation: Stuck in open water infested with sharks.

Tom and Eileen Lonergan were a couple that had completed a three year tour of duty with the Peace Corps. This couple had been diving with a boat crew, when the skipper calculated wrongly and accidentally left them behind. Over the course of three days, no one had noticed their disappearance until someone on the dive boat had found their belongings untouched. One could only imagine what would have happened over these three days, as they were never found again. A large air and sea rescue had taken place, but to no avail as the couple had simply disappeared. Their equipment had washed up onto shore, and if they had drowned and been untouched, they would have, also. As this was not the case, they are assumed to have been lost to the sharks. Their story was adapted into the movie Open Water, with altered names.


Simon Yates and Joe Simpson

Siule Grande

Sticky Situations: Do both of us freeze to death on the mountainside, or do I cut the rope? Trapped in a crevasse with a broken leg, do I stay and wait for help, or crawl deeper into the abyss?

Simon Yates and his friend Joe Simpson were climbing a challenging mountain, Siula Grande. As they were climbing the mountain during a stormy night, Joe could not see Simon below and was not sure how high he was from the ground. He knew that if he did not cut the rope connecting them, both of them would be trapped on the mountainside and freeze to death. He made a life-altering decision and cut the rope. Joe Simpson fell into a crevasse but survived. He had a broken leg, and realized that climbing out of the crevasse was impossible. Instead, he crawled deeper into the abyss hoping that he would find a way out of the mountain. Miraculously, he finally emerged from the ice and was able to make it back to their camp.

  • SamuraiHP

    awesome list!

    • Winston’s Revenge

      Too American

      • This Is Me

        No matter what the list, no matter what the topic, someone will always say it’s too American.

        • 666

          Too American

          • slambert and scuttler

            too american

      • Joni

        What does that even mean?

        • The Helpful Geographer

          It means it’s too American.

  • Bethany

    Sticky situations is right. Nice list!

  • Stu Miller’s Gust

    Laura Hillebrand’s book, UNBROKEN is a harrowing account of three WWII airmen whose sticky situation was similar to just about all of the ones on this list.

    • OmegaMan

      You beat me to it!! I was going to say the same thing. Louie Zamperini’s tale is unbelievable. Also you might want to add the true story of the airmen stranded in Yugoslavia in the “The Forgotten 500” by Gregory A. Freeman and airmen whose aircraft crashed in Papua New Guinea whose story is written as the novel “Lost In Shangri – La” by Mitchell Zuckoff.

      Don’t miss the 500. But yes, Unbroken tops all three.

      • OmegaMan

        Too many “the”… Sorry..

  • Stu Miller’s Gust

    Honorable mention?

    • Kobbin


  • Guestimations

    Number 1 was made into a film touching the void to tell the story, recommend all to watch it

    • Battman

      I saw that on PBS about a year and a half ago. Harrowing and totally captivating at the same time. Well worth watching.

    • Leeann

      The name of that film always make me wince ! It sounds like someone needs to get to the toilet quickly and there isn’t one around!! Now that is a dilemma lol.

  • David Hopkins

    Sounds sort of like another dilemma list, only in real life.

  • pamma

    #3 guy was very lucky ..after he cut his arm he had lost 25 percent blood..he saw a family on a trip while walking 8 miles to his car..if he had decided to cut arm sooner or later he would have been dead..

  • NeesahD22

    “For forty days she lived off what was suppose to last her only a couple days and finally she was able to find Hilo Harbor, in shock but alive.”

    Whose Hilo harbor?

    Horrible list. Not enough detail. Poorly and hastly written. It could have been interesting and descriptive instead everything was rushed like someone had to reach a dead line. Had potential…….waste

    • BarryRiley

      I can only assume that the author does not speak English as a first language. The words are all there, but the syntax is akin to the story you would write in 4th grade detailing what you did over the summer holidays

      • Battman

        You’re right. Another paragraph or two per entry would have been good. Great idea for a list though, but I found myself wanting more.

    • JayDoom

      Hilo Harbor is a port not a person, but i do agree with you that this list seems to be written in some sort of rush as it is poorly written

      • Pat

        aw3212 on January 7, 2010 I think some ciedrt card companies know that most or certainly a lot of the debt is insolvent – just like you’re saying. My cards went from 4.99-7.99 to 24.99+ My available ciedrt was reduced to slightly more than the balance. Why? Because I was late – no. Because I was over exstended – no. The banks are destroying their customers because they know they have all the free money they need from either the gov or the fed reserve. Its not real; its created out of thin air; they dont care

    • Arsnl

      Whose Hilo harbor?
      You managed to write a sentence without using a verb. Congratz you are an idiot.

    • DGMdragunov

      Hilo Harbor is the port of the Hawaiian town of Hilo.

    • Timmy

      Don´t criticize others on their writing when you yourself obviously fall victim to simple mistakes. Whose vs. who is… which one should you have chosen?

  • JohnBornam

    Great list but there’s some strange syntax. Some of the sentences don’t really flow too well

  • JuXio

    Theres nothing really ‘sticky’ about this situations….

  • G76yy

    How old is the author of this? The writing seems to be not dissimilar to that of a school child telling a story to his friends

    • Magnumto

      Curiously, I don’t recall seeing any lists written by G76yy. But, go ahead and feel free to complain about people who actually CAN write lists.

  • MoBbin

    More info would have made this list a lot better! I for one feel as if there’s not enough detail in why some of these happened and what happened afterwards! But I guess that means I need to stop beinglazy and just look them up! :) but seriously, a very good list nonetheless!! Thank you!

  • Amrendra

    A very good idea for a list but the writing is not so clear and incomplete. Informations are not clear and too short and blunt. Anyway a good try.

  • p1t1o

    The Shackleton story is very distorted, only very slightly related to the actual story.
    Shame because those guys were badass.

    I think someone suggested that English might not be the author’s first language? That would be a mitigatin circumstance.

  • ianz09

    Met Aron Ralston and heard him speak when he came to OSU. Nice guy

    • JWynter

      I shook hands with him at a book signing. He’s a very nice guy, wasn’t at all afraid to talk about his experiences although he is apprehensive about going into canyons now. Can’t blame him.

      • ianz09

        When I went to shake his hand, I almost went in for the right handed shake out of habit. I had to remind myself to shake lefty lol would’ve been awkward for both of us if I got a handful of his prosthetic.

  • Will Trame

    Numbers four and five were the only ones that I have heard of. Not a bad list; I’m always open to learn new trivia.

  • pocket change

    Today is my Birthday, I am now twenty and have been following listverse since I was 17

    • oouchan

      Happy Birthday!

    • Amrendra

      Happy Birthday from India!!!

  • RedMan

    I was really looking forward to this list when I saw the title. I dislike putting down the work of an author because it takes hard work to become a good one. Sorry but this list lacked research and seemed like it was written in haste. Case in point is that of Aron Ralston. First off his knife was not as dull as the author made out as he was an avid outdoorsman and knew the importance of a good sharp knife in a survival situation. It should be mentioned that he also had a bottle of water which didn’t last long so he resorted to urinating in the bottle and drinking it. When he decided that removing his arm was the only option he first broke the bones in his arm which took more than oen attempt before slicing through the fleshy parts. He did NOT cut through the bone. Take the sharpest knife you can find and try slicing through a pork rib bone and see how well it works. Hell use the thigh bone of a chicken and without hacking at the bone it would be really hard let alone using a dull knife. This is just one example of how rushed and badly researched I thought this list was but I do like the idea for it. Better luck next time. Before others comment on my comment I am well aware of bad my grammar and pelling probably is but I am not a writer nor do I try towards such a thing.

    • Ness

      You have a lot of fragments and run-on’s in ur comment. Just saying…..

    • Krazz_Kat

      There may have been poor spelling and grammar, but I found it easier to read then the list itself. Just saying…….

  • Lori

    Number one was made into an awesome documentary called “Touching the Void”. The actual climbers tell their story to a re-enactment of the trip. It’s hard to believe what hell Joe went through.

  • omg lemonade

    hang on, number 5 says that he traveled faster than the speed of sound, which is 1,236kmph (768mph) yet the human terminal velocity speed (fastest speed something can go while falling) peaks at around 330kmph (210mph) how is this possible??

    • Ness

      I can make so many jokes about the tittle, but I won’t tonight.

      • Beej

        I’m still going to pick on your spelling. It’s what spell checker is for. No excuses.

        • Beej

          Sorry. Wrong comment. Stupid computer.

    • Josh

      I also thought this…
      It just doesn’t add up.

    • DanF

      I also wondered that. maybe he was a rocket man!

      Or maybe at that altitued with thinner air the Terminal Velocity is greater, might have been streamlined aswell.

      that sentence about the fastest man in the world was my biggest bugbear with this article. There is no subject for it to refer to in the sentence

      writing this comment i looked up what a bugbear actually is…FYI it is a goblin said to eat naughty children and thought to be in the form bear.

      • DanF


    • DanF

      he fell for four minutes and 36 seconds, reaching a maximum speed of 614 miles per hour (988 km/h)[3][4] before opening his parachute at 18,000 feet (5,500 m). Pressurization for his right glove malfunctioned during the ascent, and his right hand swelled up to twice its normal size.[5][6] He set historical numbers for highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, longest drogue-fall (four minutes), and fastest speed by a human being through the atmosphere

      • p1t1o

        Copied directly from wiki, nice.

        • DanF


          people were asking the question so I looked it up….

          I made no attempt to disguise the fact by editing the [#] out.

          Next time I will take a trip to my local library and find more references if you prefer…

          • p1t1o

            Sorry, I understand, I may have been a bit hasty, just I was writing for about ten mins and when I clicked “post” there was yours! You beat me to it!

    • p1t1o

      It is actually perfectly true.

      Terminal velocity and the speed of sound are not set values, they depend strongly on the conditions.

      The speed of sound veries with pressure, and as the pressure decreases with altitude, the speed of sound also drops.

      Secondly, terminal velocity also varies with pressure (or more correctly, density, but it hardly makes a difference as they are closely related) so the terminal velocity of something at very high altitude, where the density and pressure is very low, will be much, much higher than your average low-altitude skydiver.

      The air density where he jumped from was roughly 1.5% that of sea-level and he reached a speed of just over 600mph, while this is shy of mach1 at sea level, it exceeded the speed of sound at his altitude.

      The story above is again slightly misleading, his suit didn’t exactly “rip open”, the seal on his glove came lose and only his hand depressurised.

      Also, he immediately deployed a small drogue chute for stability, so his fall could have been faster – but the drogue is necessary to prevent tumbling, as in the rarified air, tumbling can easily reach speeds that can cause injury via centrifugal forces and flailing.

      • Arsnl

        “terminal velocity also varies with pressure (or more correctly, density, but it hardly makes a difference as they are closely related”

        They aren’t THAT closely related. Terminal velocity is related to viscosity and air is less viscous at high altitudes being less dense (which in this case is related to pressure and you are correct). But at the same pressure, terminal velocity in water or honey for example are completly different. (jusy sayin)

        • p1t1o

          Everything I said is accurate, I don’t even…

          You basically just agreed with everything i said (Well, everything except some arbitrary measure of how much pressure and density are “related”.), there was simply little reason to mention viscosity – all the terms are “related”, it is a complex and interesting universe after all, but pressure and density are much more fundamental qualities while viscosity is a much more derived term.

      • p1t1o

        Ah, apologies, I did get one thing wrong – apparently he didn’t break mach1, even at his high altitude, but he nearly did (about 60mph shy), and the speed of sound does decrease with altitude.

        There goes my credibility…

    • CT Mike

      This was my exact thought on this. The terminal velocity of a human being is around 120 mph give or take. I’m not sure if it is possible to go faster at higher altitudes due to lower air density, but it almost certainly is impossible for someone to fall at the speed of sound.

      • p1t1o

        Things can exceed the speed of sound in freefall, skydivers rarely do it because of the low altitude and thick air (and of course their high drag/low mass).

        For example, if you wiki the “tall boy” bombs (low drag/high mass) from world war 2 you will see that they could exceeded mach 1, even through dense low-altitude air.

        Mach 1 is not a speed limit of any kind, although passing mach 1 does cause significant drag as the formation of the shockwave takes energy.

    • porter

      if you jump at 15k feet your max speed (falling flat, belly to earth) is around 120mph. i’ve jumped at 20k feet and adopting the same position, i reached speeds around 200mph. its because the air gets thinner with altitude, and air causes drag which slows you down. at Kittinger’s altitude theres almost no drag (at first) so he would have accelerated to 768 or roundabouts, then started to slow back down to eventually reach 120mph

      • omg lemonade

        i totally get it now, thanks guys =D

    • beerclark

      Terminal velocity is based on the fastest speed a person can fall before air friction stops his/her acceleration. This is based on falling from low altitudes. But when you fall from space, there is not enough air to slow them down. So they can accelerate past the terminal velocity of sea level until they get low enough that the air pressure thickens. Hell, if his parachute was somehow deployed when he first jumped, it would have done nothing until he dropped a few thousand feet.

    • jacob

      It’s probably because there is less air resistance (because there’s less air) in high altitudes. Air resistance is the only reason there is a terminal velocity.

  • DanF

    I enjoyed reading this list, even though I had heard of many of them. I was slightly disappointed with the spelling and grammatical errors. It doesn’t normally bother me but as they appeared to be more from lack of proof reading (as the stucture itself seems well written) it was quite distracting.

    The shark one reminds me of the story of USS Indianapolis. sank in World War II by 2 torpedo hits; 900 men made it into the water where they held on to each other to stay afloat. It was 5 days before they were rescued (312 survived) some had died of thirst but the majority had been eaten by sharks. Accounts from the crew say that if you felt one brush past your legs you were safe. it was the guys who felt nothing that suddently got dragged under water and consumed.

    • Arsnl

      Dude, what’s the deal between you and run-on sentences? Do you get a bonus if you use more than 3 in a comment?

      • DanF

        its a rhetorical device. Thanks for reading my comments though and for the constructive feedback.

    • QDV

      And here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women!

  • oldirtykoala

    I tend to agree. This list had true potential and all the entries were very fitting… but the large lack of information of each example was somewhat of a let down. I watched the documentary on the guys lost in the amazon and it is a truly amazing story of survival (which i wont go into, as i type at about 3 words a minute). Either way I look forward to reading your next list.

    • oldirtykoala

      this meant to be a reply to redman further up the list…. come on listverse i do a good enough job of making myself look stupid.

    • Vuyi

      9876543219341 on July 29, 2009 its just heavy,, it has great puikcp and the handling is fine… but you have to rememvber that these things arent light so that why they dont handle like a sports car

  • missmozell

    When I saw the title I immediately thought of this

    • forsythia

      Being from Boston, this was the first thing that came to mind for me, too!!

    • Drac

      Thank you for the link, missmozell. That story actually appears here on Listverse as well and I was going to zip back to the archives and get that list link, but all the navigation logos are presently covered by a huge Adkeeper ad. Anyone else having a problem with that?

      I thought that link would be great because the entire list represents Jamie getting himself into a sticky situation. AND getting out of it.

  • karlxiv

    Aron Ralston’s the best in this list so far…

  • A Paul is a Paul is a Paul

    Please readers, don’t let this be the only source of information for these truly remarkable stories. Many of the entries here have had some awesome books and films created that document these unbelievable experiences so much better. I strongly recommend, “The Endurance” a 2000 documentary on the Ernest Shackleton story. It’s narrated by Liam Neeson. It’s one of the most suspenseful movies I’ve ever seen. Just brilliant.

  • Mira Bel

    Now that’s a list!! “they were never heard from or seen again, as if the Amazon had swallowed them up” excellent description for describing the dangers of the Amazon. #5 is just totally amazing as was #3! Very good job :), thank you.

  • Surya

    Consider this sentence in item #8:

    “With this type of job comes many hazards, and one of the most common attacks come from a hippo.”

    The author turns the grammar rules all topsy-turvy. Many hazards “comes” and one of many attacks “come”!

  • Rob

    Kittinger came nowhere near the speed of sound in his free-fall. The terminal velocity of a human in free-fall is about 120 mph.

    It took me about 5 seconds to find this:

    • Rob

      Well, considering DanF’s explanation above, I should expect to be flamed any moment. Obviously I didn’t read the comments before posting one. I would, however, like to hear from an expert, though.

      • DanF


        If you look a bit further down on the page of the link you gave it actually discussed this guy and gives various speeds that he may have achieved.

        • Rob

          Boy is my face red!

    • NameJC

      Kittinger exceeded 600 mph during his freefall. Terminal velocity depends on drag, which depends in turn on air density. In a fall from from the near-vaccum at 100,000 feet he would have accelerated until the air was dense enough to slow him down.

  • Kate

    Bad grammar and spelling mate. ‘My’ instead of ‘by’ and ‘to’ instead of ‘too’? On listverse? Downhill guys. Downhill.

  • Pulsuhundur

    You forgot to mention that in number four, the plane crash in the Andes, the group survived for 72 days (if I remember correctly) on the mountain. And although they did resort to cannibalism, they only ate people who had already died of natural causes, as disturbing as that sounds :)

    • DanF

      or so they have us believe….

  • fail list

    need more details and sources. fail list.

  • oouchan

    I found this list to be interesting even with the grammar and spelling nightmares. :) It makes me want to research more on these as some left questions or the need for more details.

    Good premise to start with, but needs a bit of work.

  • QDV

    Jesse Sharp: Turn the kayak the hell around or shoot the Horseshoe Falls and make it to Lewiston, NY in time for the dinner reservation made earlier.

  • Matt

    Good subject matter but this is possibly the worst written list I have read.

  • Jessie

    Very interesting list!!!

  • oak

    interesting list
    this story has always fascinated me
    there is an excellent werner herzog movie called “little dieter needs to fly” concerning his life, highly recommend

  • Jim

    no Donner party?

  • Name JC

    Joe Kittinger’s space suit was ripped open in freefall? Really? I’d love to see a documented reference for that whopper. Isn’t it enough that he was nearly strangled by his drogue chute during a jump from 76,000 feet, went into a 120 rpm spin and lost consciousness, lucky to be saved by his automatic parachute release? The only malfunction to his suit that I know of was a leak in a glove during the 102,000 ft jump – painful and potentially dangerous, to be sure, but hardly as melodramatic as this author makes out.
    As to the ‘fastest person ever’ – that’s another one I’d like to see a reference to. It may well have been the fastest freefall at the time (over 600 mph) but really… was Gary Shannon making this up as he went along? What’s not innacurate in the Kittinger entry seems made up on the spur of the moment. Considering the amount of accurate information available on the web, there’s no excuse for this kind of lazily-researched nonsense. This is not Listverse’s finest hour.

  • warrdogg

    I recommend reading the book by the same name. A very inspiring tale of survival.

  • Ryan

    Original idea and nicely made, list-maker type person.

  • JessyMess

    Great topic! I wish this list was easier to read though. Some of the sentences are run-ons and are difficult to understand. The grammar, spelling, and syntax errors kind of ruined it for me.

  • jkrug234

    I love your site but this entry appears to have been written either by a 3rd grader or someone with a very limited understanding of english language?

  • Cubone

    I was standing in Sherwood forest when it exploded. Branches were flying everywhere. That was sticky.

    • Drac

      I was standing on Sherwood Forrest when he exploded. Now THAT was sticky!

  • Shitverse

    Great idea for a list, but truly shocking to read! Most of the items don’t flow or make sense.
    Such as number 1, what happened to the other fella? Is it normal to cut the rope just because you can’t see your climbing partner? (I’m presuming he had reason to believe that his friend was in trouble).

  • dandude

    Good idea for a list,but horrible writing.

  • Chris

    Awesome list Jamie. Only one thing stands out to me as being bogus though. The hippo tried to eat him? I think not. Hippos are herivores through and through. They live mostly from grass like a cow and sometimes corn and other vegetation. Their energy output is minimal due to a mostly sedentary lifestyle. The reason they kill people in rivers is generally a territory thing or a protection thing. They drag people under the water and drown them. They don’t actually eat people and animals.

    • Name2

      Apparently, the hippo bit his foot off. I doubt the guy had the presence of mind to watch the hippo to see if he swallowed.

  • matt

    Awesome list!

    Too bad it was written by an illiterate fool.

    • Jonatan

      rlambair32 on June 10, 2010 @mantlemonkey30 smaller engine in the Escalade???? the Escalade comes standard with a 6.2 liter V-8 producing 403 BHP. Where do you get your “facts” from? and FYI both vehicles are made by GM

  • ames801

    Cool topic. This gives me a list of items to further search.

    • toinks

      BEST COMMENT I’VE READ SO FAR..instead of bashing the author with insults, why not take it as a challenge to do more research since most of you think it was poorly researched.

      • p1t1o


      • NameJC

        No offense, but some of us who criticized the author’s innacuracy and sloppiness did so precisely because we already HAD done the research :)

        • p1t1o

          So why even read this list then?

          Ok, yeah I thought it was a poor list, but I think he’s got the point?

  • mom424

    Great premise, good choices, sort of p*ss-poor execution though. Wondering if this one maybe squeaked by our usually awesome editor? Some of the syntax is so tortured that it’d be more of a re-write than an edit – my sympathies, it’s a pretty involved job. I’m sure that the author’s next effort will be much more polished…..and please do try again.

    A couple of questions – What happened to Simon Yates? Did he make it home ok? and did Joe Simpson punch him in the face after his leg healed?

    • DanF

      I believe he did make it back, and although Simpson understood why he had done it they never really spoke again after.

      I am only going on what a friend told me a while ago about this story. This edit seems to imply he just couldn’t see him so cut him loose, i think he was actually unconscious at the end after a slip and the other guy could not climb any more because of the ‘dead weight’ and, presuming he was dead, cut him free.

      If he couldn’t see him a the end of the rope he would have been able to just give it a tug to see if it was free or not surely.

      Actually, having re read that entry it really over simplifies the story to the extent that a jury would probably find Yates guilty of attempted murder.

      I have never seen the film so i’m sure someone who has will be able to correct me if i am wrong

      • mom424

        It certainly makes a lot more sense if he cut his buddy free after some other catastrophe. Likely had a fall and Joe, at the bottom of the rope, whacked his head and knocked himself out. So I guess it’s ok for me to NOT hate Simon Yates.

  • lenun

    somehow, i have a feeling in my gut that this post won’t let me sleep tonight….

  • bigski

    when you DIE it`s no longer a sticky situtation its a deadly situtation … i wrong ?

  • MeDan

    The Shackleton story has appeared on Listverse before. In that story the author tried to write “cabin” and ended up saying that Shackleton’s crew built a cabbage to spend the winter in. For avoiding the trap of having your hero lay down his weary body in a cruciferous vegetable, I’d like to say: WELL DONE!

  • urmom

    good idea but was written horribly. it was painful to read, this list

  • Interesting list, but I expected something totally different.

    A sticky situation meant, to me, a *sticky* situation, and my mind went immediately to the Great Molasses Flood.

    On 15 January, 1919 in Boston Mass. a commercial vat at the Purity Distilling Company, containing molasses collapsed and let lose it’s vast store of molasses. The resulting wave of truly sticky stuff, 8ft. to 15ft. high, raced through town at 35 mph. 21 people died (as did numerous horses and other other animals), and 150 were injured.

  • Arekku

    I’m certainly glad I’m not the only one who recognized the poor writing of this list as detrimental to one’s enjoyment of it. What a shame, as this list could have been fantastic.

  • Jimbo

    I saw Open Water at the pictures. I can honestly say it was the worst film I have ever seen. I felt truely robbed of the time I lost watching that film, and the money I paid to watch it.

  • Publicenema#1

    Hippos don’t eat people, they just maul the sh*t out of you.

  • ShoresLady

    Really enjoyed this other than the nitpicking comments by nerds lacking ambition to create lists of their own. Wonder whether pooch Sophie yearns for a good goat dinner now?

    • NameJC

      If being annoyed by a mix of poor writing, lazy research and out-and-out fantasy in a supposedly factual list makes a person a ‘nerd’ by your definition, then I, for one, will wear that badge with honor. Not wanting to write a list of our own doesn’t disqualify us from critiquing lists made by others, as far as I know.

  • James F

    I think they made a film based of item #1 aswell

  • Cam

    Dude number 1 was made into a film called ‘Touching the Void’ I thought you would have at least mentioned that. Shame!

  • wrake

    Good Article, but i could have used a little more detail. For instance, you mentioned three of the entries had movies made about them, but only gave the name of one, “Open Water.” I know entry 4 is Alive because I’ve seen it before, but what’s the Academy Award Nominated Movie for Entry 3? I want to watch it now but you didn’t give us a title!

    • wrake

      Actually, after re-reading #4, you didn’t even mention there was a movie made about the Rugby Team lost in the mountains. It’s called Alive as i mentioned previously. More details man, more details. Otherwise yeah, good list i haven’t heard of a lot of these.

  • Facial

    you forgot my girlfriends face

  • Sophie

    Sophie Tucker’s swim is more than I can imagine.

    I wonder, though, what it might have been like to eat a shark. A whole shark! I’ll bet I could have done that. ^–^

  • Begbie

    Read ‘touching the void’. Brilliant book, and they’re still friends

  • Begbie

    It was stated in both the film and the book that Yates would of cut the rope if he was in the same position. He held no grudge to Simpson even though the majority of the climbing community disagreed with his decision.

    If you enjoyed the film you’ll love the book

  • clara

    okay, this list is absolutely horrible and should be either removed or edited. If jfrater cares at all about the quality of the lists on here then he should really edit this or remove it. It really made my head hurt having to read this stuff because it was all very nonsensical and a lot of the information is WRONG. How was this list even approved or do they just anyone post stuff on here?

    To start off with, the name of the list sounds totally retarded. Sticky situations? who says that ? I’m sure that no one would describe any of these situations as “sticky”. They should have been called, “awesome stories of survival”, or “10 stories of bravery in the face of death”, something that actually captures what these people had gone through. I’m sorry but, making it out of antarctica, or having to cut your arm off is NOT a “sticky situation”.

    next, the last item on the list about joe simpson didn’t make any sense. I read it like 3 times and just couldn’t understand it so, I looked up the story and realized that the writer of this list not only got the names wrong of the two men involved but, they also barely mentioned what joe did to survive and just how close he came to death. The part that says “As they were climbing the mountain during a stormy night, Joe could not see Simon below and was not sure how high he was from the ground. He knew that if he did not cut the rope connecting them, both of them would be trapped on the mountainside and freeze to death. He made a life-altering decision and cut the rope. Joe Simpson fell into a crevasse but survived.” okay, SIMON was the one that was on the top, and JOE was on the bottom so, SIMON lost sight of JOE and wasn’t sure exactly where he was, if he was alive, or dead so, he made the decision to cute the rope and let JOE fall because, if he (SIMON) didn’t, he was risking his own life and didn’t want them to both die. also, JOE didn’t just fall into a crevasse and then “make his way back to camp”. JOE hiked a distace of over 5 miles with a broken leg in below freezing temperatures back to camp just a few hours before the other campers were set to leave. this is an amazing story of survival and the retarded writer of this list reduced it to some weird, dumb sounding paragraph that doesn’t even come close to capturing the enormity of what this man had gone through.

    I could go on and on about the other parts of this list like the Shakelton story that ends with Shakelton finding a whaling station. What happened after that? why does the explanation just end there? did he survive? did any of his crew survive? if so, how long did he live after, and did he ever go sailing again? Leaving he end of such an important story like that as such a weird place just brings up a ridiculous amount of questions. It only needed two more sentences if that just to conclude that story.

    seriously tho, I am actually angered and very disappointed by this because it really seems like a child put this together and I have never had to read something so shoddy and stupid on this site, EVER.


  • Blue Wolf

    As a long-time reader, but first-time commenter, I thought this list was pretty cool and interesting. Don’t be so harsh on the author guys, not everybody’s native language is English. He might be proficient in an other language that you don’t have any clue of…

  • Drac

    If you look in the Archives for the “Sun, Space and 2012” list you’ll find that the author was pilloried about 40 times for writing way too much on every item. Now this list writer is accused of not writing enough.

    I’d like to thank Gary for not wasting our time with a lot of references to movies and novels. These are true stories and we want the facts. Why send people off looking for fictional accounts?

    Yeah, Gary, the grammar and spelling, etc. was bad. Maybe you were in a hurry to get this list in before some contesst deadline or something, but you really need to take the time to edit. When I worked for a newspaper, we typically published nothing until someone else had looked it over for missing articles, misspellings, lapses in logic, bad transitions and all the other little problems that crop up in formal writing. Even with all that, we still had one editor publish a headline that said an assistant coach had been promoted by saying he got the “Head Job.”

    Right now I’m wondering why the dog, Sophie, had the last name Tucker. Was that the family’s name? I’m assuming you know Sophie Tucker was the name of vaudeville comedienne who appeared in some very risque material. Was there a joke involved that got lost in the rewrite?

  • Meh

    How is number five a sticky situation?

  • chuchu353

    #2 wasn’t so much a sticky situation (they didn’t survive) as it was an avoidable, stupid tragedy.

    • chuchu353

      Let me rephrase that….. an avoidable senseless tragedy

  • the urugay rugby thing…

    Absolutely no stickiness. In a life/death situation, survival of the fittest. No arguments. Morality do not come into the picture at all.

  • Lurky

    The writing in this article is horrible. It sounds like a person in middle school wrote it. It needs some mad editing. Good idea for a list. Garbage execution.

  • Judge Holden

    I had a couple of sticky situations this morning before I got out of bed

  • tom

    Read more. This grammar is garbage

  • xstein

    Someone needs to get this to a proofreader’s desk immediately. I usually love lists on this site, but I couldn’t even make it through this one because of how poorly/hastily it was written.

  • Amber

    Interesting list but poorly researched and written.

    Dates/years and places should be included in the list, as well as ages of people, etc.

    I think given the idea and access to Wikipedia, I could have written a much better version of this list myself.

    Also, spelling out the “sticky situation” for each item as a subheading wasn’t really necessary; I can deduce what that is for myself by reading the item.

  • Lotta

    A good list, but a little proof reading would not go amiss

  • Dw

    who wrote this list, a two year old? how can something this badly written be put up on this website?

  • Gary Shannon

    I apologize those I have offended with my writing that has seemed to go awry. I was in a rush when writing this list…

  • Sharen Qui

    Everyone who complained are babies. Write your own damned list!!!

  • kidnic

    In regards to #1-As Im sure most readers know that Simpsons leg was broken before Yates cut the rope. Simpson has said many times that he would have cut the rope as well. I would have cut the rope sooner than Yates did.

    • kidnic “…I would have cut the rope sooner than Yates did.”


      That’s easy to say with the pressure and reality of the situation not on you. I venture to say that in a similar situation, with the likelihood that your action will cause the death of your friend, you might have to consider the ramifications before you cut the rope. Life is pretty different when your action, or inaction, can be the direct result of someone else’s death.

      • kidnic

        Its actually not easy to say. If Yates doesnt cut the rope they both die. If he cuts the rope they both live. He didnt know that at the time but thats the way it worked out. Yates risked his life for hours for Simpson and when there was nothing more that he could do for Simpson he made the correct/obvious/only decision.

  • nicky d

    i think this story should be mentioned; given her age especially:

    and she’s not american, if that helps.

  • Wendelinsmith
  • urnotdelicious

    i wonder if they are still alive