Barely alive after a night in the "death zone" on Mount Everest, Australian climber Lincoln Hall told an American mountaineer who stopped to help him: "I imagine you are surprised to see me here."
Mr Hall, who on Thursday was presumed dead high on the mountain but who was found alive and rescued the next day, is on his way to safety, being carried down Everest on the back of a yak.
As the rescue continued, details emerged of Mr Hall being found alive by American climber Dan Mazur after the Australian's own team had believed he was dead, and who gave him oxygen and hot tea.
Disoriented from the effects of cerebral oedema, an acute form of altitude sickness, Mr Hall was found with his legs over a sheer drop "half undressed and without a hat", Mr Mazur told EverestNews.com website.
"Lincoln's first words were: `I imagine you are surprised to see me here'," the website reported.
"His fingers were in bad shape and much of his equipment was gone."
Mr Mazur, who abandoned his own summit attempt to help the Australian, alerted Mr Hall's expedition leader Alexander Abramov, who launched a rescue operation by eight Sherpas.
More info on Australian Climbing here.