A bar of chocolate and some snow is what kept two men alive for five days on Kebnekaise (Sweden’s highest mountain), where bad weather left them stranded and kept them from climbing down. When the men were finally rescued, the rescue team was amazed at the state they were in.

“They had done very well. We were expecting them to be comatose or that they’d experienced fainting spells, since they’d been without food and water for five days. But these guys saved themselves,” said Odd Fischer, manager of Fjällräddningen’s alpine rescue team. The men, who are in their 30’s and who come from the Swedish west coast, climbed Kebnekaise last Saturday during a day’s outing. When they’d reached the peak, the weather became difficult and they decided to seek shelter in an abandoned cottage. When the weather continued bad Sunday morning, they called SOS alarm. But because of the weather, help could not arrive via helicopter until Thursday.

“They only experienced cold from time to time,” Fischer continues. “There were two blankets in the cottage, and they filled plastic bottles with snow, that they melted by putting close to their bodies and then drank.” The two men debated whether or not to leave the cottage, but refrained from doing so. “They made the right decision,” says Fischer. After helicopter rescue and car transport to Kiruna, the men were taken to a place where they could get a shower and where they were examined by nursing personnel.