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A Kidnapee Tells His Story; Stories of Survival

Aired January 7, 2011 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Tonight, a special 9:00 p.m. edition of 360.

Incredible stories of survival with Bear Grylls, host of Discovery Channel's "Man Versus Wild." He's going to share the techniques for staying alive in the most extreme conditions and places.

You'll also meet three people who faced almost certain death but lived to tell the tale -- thanks in two of the cases of Bear's survival tips.

Dan Woolley was crushed beneath the rubble of a hotel in Port-au- Prince after last year's earthquake. For 65 hours, he battled, bleeding, shock and despair, even drinking his own urine to survive until help finally arrived.

Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" reporter David Rohde was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan, taken to Afghanistan, held for more than seven months. You're going to hear his incredible story of escape.

And 14-year-old Jake Denham lost in the mountain for nine hours in temperatures 17 below zero.

They all survived. They'll all share their stories in just a bit.

But, we begin with the man, the legend, Bear Grylls. At 23, he became the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest. He's also circumnavigated the U.K. on a jet ski, crossed the North Atlantic in an inflatable boat and paramotored over Venezuela's Angel Falls. Now, he's host of the Discovery Channel's "Man Versus Wild."

Bear strands himself in some of the world's most dangerous places using only his wits to survive.

Take a look.



I've traveled to the most dangerous parts of the planet, especially the most extreme challenges, all to show you how to survive, of being to the edge, but now I'm back.

OK. Let's go.

I'm taking on the toughest tests that nature has to offer and pushed my mind and body to the absolute limit.


COOPER: It gets my heart pumping just watching it. Bear Grylls joins me now from London. How did you get started doing this?

GRYLLS: I always kind of feel I've done (INAUDIBLE) when I was about 6 years old but never filmed before, you know? But my dad taught me to climb when I was very small, and probably 5 or 6. And then I grew up, and I joined the army. Spent three years with the British Special Forces and the job there is solely combat survival and the sky diving and the climbing and really -- so I kind of feel it's what I've always done all my life, it's just -- you know, it's what I love. To be honest, it's about the only thing I'm good at, as well.

COOPER: You broke your back in the Special Air Services, Special Forces. Is that right?

GRYLLS: I did. I had a free fall accident in southern Africa where I broke my back in three places and spent a year in rehabilitation strapped up in, you know, braces and all of that bad stuff and had to leave the army. And that for me was kind of the dark time trying to refine, you know, your movement. But also, you know, my confidence. And it took me a long time to rebuild that.

But what I found when I started to recover is to climb again. And for me, Everest had been a huge dream of mine since I was a kid climbing with my dad.

And Everest then became the focus of the recovery and, you know, we eventually took a team of four climbers, soldier climbers, to the mountain and, you know, a lot went wrong up there. You know, we had four guys killed, as well, on the mountain. And, you know, I think it shakes -- shakes your faith that everything's always going to be all right.

COOPER: Have you been on a trip for "Man Versus Wild" and doubted yourself or your abilities?

GRYLLS: Yes. I think I wouldn't be human if I didn't have kind of those moments of doubt and again, the honest thing is that every day when we're filming at times when I'm cold and scared and, you know, thinking what the hell -- you know, what the hell am I doing in this place? Those are normal emotions when you're up against it in life and I think -- you know, I think a big part of survival is acknowledging those and but then trying to smile through them and come out the other side. And the heart of survival is that never quitting. You know, that's really, you know, the meat of it.

COOPER: What would you say are if keys to surviving in a dangerous situation or in a bad situation?

GRYLLS: I think the whole thing of being cheerful in adversity is a huge one. You know, being able to smile when it's really raining and, you know, when the time is really tough. And I think that and a combination of never giving up is actually -- you know, that is survival. And, you know, I love that Winston Churchill quote of just says never, ever, ever give up. And when you're going through hell, keep going. That really is survival in a nutshell.

COOPER: You have a list of top 10 household items to save your life in the wild. I just want to read the top five and have you tell me how each one can save you. Number five is a shoe lace. What do you do with that?

GRYLLS: Well, there's so much to do with a shoe lace -- making traps, to climbing up trees, to stitching stuff, to securing yourself to something. So, you know, what I love about survival is the fact that it's not just all about the text but knowledge. It's about improvising, you know, when you're up against it. And, you know, thousand different ways you can use stuff.

And I think the one edge over the animals is this ability to really improvise and really adapt. And, you know, that's a part of survival I love. I love getting dropped on these places with very little and showing how you can use just a couple of simple things to achieve something that you'd never come to think possible, whether sitting up a tree (ph) using shoe laces, or, you know, making a raft out of kind of almost nothing. And, you know, that's a part of it I love.

COOPER: Number four is a sock. What would you use a sock for?

GRYLLS: A sock? Again, loads of things. You know, you can filter water through it. I've filtered so much water myself and even my underpants over years, you know, and got stuffed it with grass and charcoal and sand and gravel and filtered water through it. It's never going to going to taste very nice or look very pretty. But, again, you know, the heart of "Man Versus Wild" is that this might not look pretty but it could save your life.

COOPER: Number three is a wristwatch. What is that, for direction as a compass?

GRYLLS: You know, wristwatch, it's just good. You know, number one thing is to you're going to get your bearings if you're going to get yourself out of there. You need to know which way you're doing. And, you know, most people don't carry compass with them. There's a simple way of using wristwatch and pointing the hour hand of sun (INAUDIBLE) 12:00 to give you a south line and, you know, you have worked out the directions.

So, it's a simple thing. But, you know, again, it's something all of us carry that might not necessarily know that there's more ways of using your wristwatch.

COOPER: Well, wait a minute, I didn't actually know that. If you point the 12:00 to the sun and what is it?

GRYLLS: Yes. So in the Northern Hemisphere, 12:00 at the sun, split the line between your hour hand and the 12:00 and that will give you a southerly direction.

COOPER: So, that's the direction of south. Oh, that's interesting. OK. Number two on the list was a paper clip.

GRYLLS: Anderson, you should know that. Even my kids know that one.

COOPER: What? It's a compass or it's magnetized? Is that right?

GRYLLS: A paper clip. Yes. Again, so many things -- you can thread with it. You can use it as triggers for traps. Again, you could use it for a compass. You magnetize it on and put it a leaf and some water and it will show you a magnetic north direction.

So, again, it's about taking every day items and thinking a bit left field and, you know, they always say necessity is the mother of invention and that is survival to kind of think all I've got is a paper clip. I got to work out a direction, you'd eventually come out with a way of finding it.

COOPER: And final thing was a battery. Is that for what, starting a fire or something?

GRYLLS: Yes. Again, you know, battery -- so many things, again, that, you know, you might be, you know, you need a signal out. You can use a radio, a cell phone, and rig it up to work again. You can use it for fire and I've started loads of fires over the years with car batteries just to get a bit of tinder going. So, yes, useful thing.

COOPER: Stay with us. Up next: we'll talk to Bear about his choice of bizarre cuisine.


GRYLLS: One thing you can do if you're stuck out here with no water source at all is that actually drink the fluid from a fresh elephant dung. Not one of the better drinks I've had. I'm not going to need to eat for a week after this one. Ugh.

It's actually ranks as one of the worst things I have ever, ever eaten.



COOPER: Right before the break, we showed you eating what looked like sort of grub, or what was that? You said it was among the worst things you've ever eaten.

GRYLLS: There's been a long list of bad things I've eaten. But, you know, survival food is never going to be prissy. But, you know, if you're going to get out somewhere, you need to energy and if you're going to get energy, you got to eat.

So, you do need to kind of leave your prejudices behind and definitely find, and get that zone a little bit, once I'm out of that helicopter or plane and you kind of get on to do it. But that was -- that was particularly. It was a huge grub. And I shall remember filming this and I show you often in the dead bark of trees, you got these grubs feeding off the wood.

And I found this one. It was kind of big and I thought, it wasn't big and I ate it. And I was walking up, I just lift on the side a little bit. I lift it up and I saw this guy's mother in there.

And I kind of have one of those light moments of Jesus lived this, I've done this, we're moving on that to get going or, no, we got to this. And it was, yes, you know, that survival for you.

COOPER: You recently had the top 25 list of your favorite "Man Versus Wild" moments. We put together a montage of a few of them. Take a look.


GRYLLS: Bingo. Look at the size of that. When you begin to eat it.

Inside it. Pull it over. And I'll be 100 percent protected.

I'm all for cocktails but snake innards and pee is not high on my list.

And the only way they manage to stay hydrated is by using that fetid water and giving themselves an enema and then once it's in -- ugh. I guess all you can do is lie back and think of England!

A gentle reminder that survival is rarely pretty.


COOPER: Dude. I mean, come on. Is it -- is there ever something where you're like, you know what? I'm not going to do this. I mean --

GRYLLS: Well, you know, that was a great story of a British family whose -- their ship got hauled by a whale and ended up in the life raft for about 35 days and then ran out of water, ran out of food, and they lived off turtle and turtle blood and all the blood and water and it gathered in the bottom in the life raft, that it, you know, gone off and as they drank it, making them sick and more dehydrated. And the mother was a nurse and she knew she could get, you know, this fetid water into their kids plural enema, it would hydrate them and but it wouldn't make them sick and actually saved their lives.

So, I kind of knew this story. I thought it would be great to try to show it, but, you know, again, it comes amongst those moments and not a lot of fun. I have learned over the years of what viewers like is not what I like. They like it when it's a terrible food and hanging off a rock face by a finger and doing yourself enemas.

I like it when it's nice, classic, gentle environment with no snakes and crocodiles. But we don't get many of those sadly.

COOPER: Have you ever come back from a mission and, you know, your family's seen the TV show, you have three kids and your wife said to you like, did you really have to do that?

GRYLLS: Well, I work on the principle of not telling them so much. You know? I've learned that over the years. Otherwise, I'll never get kissed at home. So, you know, I kind of get back and just dump the bags and back into life. In occasion, she glimpses at the stuff and she says, you got be joking. But we try to skirt over those, but it's funny.

My kids, never used to let them watch. I didn't want them thinking dad had this weird job, you know, and then suddenly all their friends at school wanted the chat about it and I felt a bit nasty. So, then I let them watch it and now they love it and now, they're off it now. They're into "MythBusters." Dad is now history.

COOPER: Oh, no. You got to up your game to keep them interested. We showed you a clip basically without clothes in freezing cold water and I remember actually seeing that episode and it surprised me because you get out of the water and I would have thought you would have wanted to immediately get dressed. But you actually rolled in the snow first because that actually takes the water off you?

GRYLLS: Well, the biggest killer in the cold is mix of wet and wind, you know, so if you get out of cold water and you're wet and, you know, you straight into windy environment, you just get hypothermic so fast. So, even this horrible, it's a discipline of trying to get try. But, obviously, I haven't got any towels. So, I was using powder snow that's very absorbent so you can, you know, cover yourself in powder snow, take the moisture off you and then you brush the powder snow off you and you're going to be dry.

You know, it doesn't take -- takes a few seconds but it's worth it. It's just amazing. You're putting the clothes on. You're not getting wet straightaway

COOPER: You're starting shows like "Fan Versus Wild" where fans actually come out and experience the adventures with you. I think you're going to have a special with Will Ferrell. What was it like taking Will Ferrell out?

GRYLLS: Will is brilliant, you know? And I can't tell you (INAUDIBLE), he was so far out of his comfort zone. And, you know, he rang me about a week before we went and he said, Bear, help. You know, I suddenly realize when I'm letting myself forward, I said, listen, just come on. No one tries and just trust me.

I gave him his due. He did. We picked him up in the middle of the Arctic and threw him into this thing and, you know, he was kind of a bit like shock of capture, stars eyes wide open. But his confidence grew. And by the end, he was guiding me across snow faces and ice staff and, you know, he did brilliantly. And I really kind of tip my hat off to him.

COOPER: Do you have a coupe of celebrities like contacting you and then kind of bailing out at the last minute once they realize, wait a minute, what this really means? GRYLLS: Yes, it has happened a few times. I won't name names. But, it's kind of you -- it's fun. You know, I do love these things on my fun. So, to take someone else is fun and we're going to do a couple more of them this year. So, that'd be good.

And we did this show "Fan Versus Wild" last year where we had about 30,000 people applying. We picked two.

And, you know, they're one from the Bronx. The other was, you know, Michigan and they'd never done anything out of the city really, and they kind of had a baptism by fire. But again, they threw themselves in for it and, you know, it's great in that transformation. And I think the wild brings people together in a powerful way and, you know, seeing the confidence grow for me it was an amazing thing. And you know, again, I kind of admire them.

COOPER: Coming up, more with Bear Grylls. Also, we'll talk to Dan Woolley, who is trapped for 65 hours under the rubble after the Haiti quake. He reveals how tips from Bear Grylls' "Man Versus Wild" helped him survive the ordeal.

And later, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Rohde describes his abduction and remarkable escape from the Taliban. He spent seven months in captivity. His daring story ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back to this 9:00 edition of 360.

Tonight, we're hearing amazing stories of survival with Bear Grylls, some survivors are ordinary people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, who do whatever they have to do to stay alive, to get out.

Nearly a year ago, aide worker Dan Woolley was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, making a film about poverty when the quake struck. He found himself trapped beneath the rubble of the Hotel Montana, bleeding from his head and leg. Incredibly, he also used survival tactics that he picked watching Bear Grylls' "Man Versus Wild," tactics like drinking his own urine.

Dan would wait an excruciating 65 hours in the dark before help finally arrived.

Dan, you were trapped in the rubble of the Montana Hotel when it collapsed during the earthquake in Haiti last January. You write about it in a book, "Unshaken." What was the moment like when the hotel collapsed?

DAN WOOLLEY, TRAPPED 65 HOURS IN HAITI EARTHQUAKE RUBBLE: Well, you know, it was the kind of thing that happens to you that you could never expect it and it was actually beautiful Caribbean afternoon. I'd just gotten back from filming with Compassion International, and just walking through, walking through the lobby and then, all of a sudden, explosive sounds and the lobby went from vibrant color to complete darkness. And within three seconds, the entire hotel had collapsed on top of them. COOPER: So, the hotel collapsed immediately during the -- after the quake or during, it wasn't sometime later?

WOOLLEY: Yes. Actually, I heard later that the earthquake lasted 35 seconds, but I only experienced the first couple seconds because the hotel started collapsing right in the first second.

COOPER: And did you -- were you knocked out were you conscious through the whole thing?

WOOLLEY: As far as I know I was conscious through the whole thing. When I kind of came to my senses, I was still standing. I was in a crouched position. The ceiling actually was right at my head and my left leg was pinned by some of the rubble.

COOPER: But you were -- but you were standing but your leg was pinned?

WOOLLEY: Yes, exactly.

COOPER: And how long did the ordeal -- I mean, how long did you stay like that?

WOOLLEY: You know, at first, it was just chaos. I was just trying to figure out what just happened to me and, you know, what is my situation and then --

COOPER: Sorry, we're looking at pictures that you actually took while you were stuck.

WOOLLEY: I did. While I was in complete darkness and so, I wondered at first if I was blind and, you know, Bear often talks about using the resources you have at hand and I realized I had my camera around my neck and so, in the darkness, I started flashing my camera around and when I still couldn't see enough, I actually took some pictures with my camera and look at the back of the camera to see figure out, OK, what's that that I just took a picture of.

COOPER: You reference Bear. You watched his show before?

WOOLLEY: Yes, actually. I have two boys, 7 and 4, and we're big fans of the show, so we had actually watched the show a lot. So, you know, I was inspired during my ordeal.

COOPER: Bear, when you hear that, that's got to be pretty cool starting out doing this you didn't think people whose lives will be impacted very literally and saved by stuff you've done.

GRYLLS: Yes, it is. It's really encouraging to hear. And, you know, I hear stories like Dan's and I'm just so full of, you know, admiration. And, you know, he's got the heart of a survivor.

But, you know, I spent lot of time kind of cold, wet and miserable in these jungles and think is anyone going to ever watch this stuff. So, for me, it's really encouraging. So, it's nice to hear Dan. But, your story's amazing. COOPER: Dan, you had also an iPhone with you that you used. How did you use that?

WOOLLEY: I did. After I moved to a safer place from that initial spot, I moved to an elevator car and after that, I started looking at the wounds and I had a big gash from my knee to my ankle. And it was the worst wound I'd ever seen in my life. And I felt myself starting to go into shock and I was concerned about my ability to treat my wounds.

I'd survived an earthquake. I was determined to survive as long as I could, get back to my family and I didn't want to die just because I didn't know how to treat my wounds. So, I remembered I had my iPhone. There was no signal on it, but I had a first aid app pre-downloaded and had some information how to take care of excessive bleeding and also shock.

COOPER: And how long were you trapped for?

WOOLLEY: I was trapped for 65 hours, about two and a half days.

COOPER: And how did you stay hydrated? I mean, did you have water with you?

WOOLLEY: I didn't have any water with me. Actually, one of the things specifically with Bear I remembered from one of his shows that he said you can die within three days from dehydration and, you know, in a survival situation, you just do whatever you have to do to stay alive. So, he had actually demonstrated -- I think on the Will Ferrell show, he'd demonstrated drinking your own urine.

So, I kind of did the same way that I saw in the show, and that, in my mind, helped to extend the time frame for me.

COOPER: Was there -- was there a moment you were like I'm not going to do this because it's drinking my urine, or at that point, you're just thinking, I'm thirsty and this is what I need to do?

WOOLLEY: You know what? It was easy decision because, you know, in my mind, I was going to do anything to get back to my family and so -- so, you know, I'm thinking, wow, I need liquid. I need -- I'm very dehydrated, liquid's pouring out of me. I want to -- you know, gosh, if I could use this. And I realized, gosh, I could catch it in my shirt, I could, you know, filter it a little bit. If that could extend my time frame, who cares about squeamishness? I'll do whatever I have to do to.

COOPER: Well, you know, Dan, Bear talks about trying to remain calm. Was that an issue for you immediately after the earthquake? I mean, were you able to -- were you panicked?

WOOLLEY: You know what? I never experienced panic. In the initial seconds of chaos, I probably had a little bit of that feeling but I found a calm kind of come over me and that's where I think my faith, I think God intervened and gave me a sense of calm in those moments. And so, I really appreciate that because my mind kicked in to gear and said, all right, what do I do with this situation? And I was able to get myself to the elevator before seven minutes after the initial earthquake, 6.0 aftershock hit and would have killed me.

COOPER: And certainly, a lot of people lost their lives in the Montana. I was at the scene many times and it's -- it's amazing that you were able to survive from that because it's -- when you actually see how it collapsed just stunning.

Bear, is there anything in the situation like that that you would recommend?

GRYLLS: Well, it's really interesting hearing Dan speak and, you know, I have heard a few key words from him. One is faith and, you know, survival is so much of what's going on inside your heart and your mind, and, you know, faith is such an important part of driving us on and wanting to get back to your family, as well.

You know, motivation is so key. You know, he talked about resources and thinking left field. That's why he used the camera to take pictures and give him an idea of what was around him. He used his iPhone.

You know, if people think, what use is an iPhone? But it's all about what's around you. I have an app out that's just launched, Bear Essentials with all the first aid and that and everything. Actually, it's more than just an app. He had a first aid one on his phone. He used that. It could help him.

And then you hear him talk about prioritizing. And, you know, again, you have to conserve water. Put your squeamishness aside. If he has to drink pee and he's hydrating enough and it can help him, he can do that. You know, he had a wound.

Again, if you don't look after that prioritize that, you're going to bleed to death. So, you know, I hear that and I think what a great kind of example of getting it right and, you know, all of our survival in life is about the decisions: do we go this way or do we that? And, you know, he just made a series of good decisions and those good decisions why he is with us today and amazing story.

COOPER: Yes. Dan, truly amazing. It's good to talk to you, Dan. Dan Woolley, thanks very much.

WOOLLEY: Thanks.

COOPER: Ahead, more survival stories. We're going to talk to "New York Times" reporter David Rohde who was working on a book in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped by the Taliban. He shares with us how he survived more than seven months in captivity and made a daring escape.

You'll also meet the teen who got lost an Oregon mountain during a ski trip in sub-zero temperatures. Jake Denham is his name and he used skills he learned from Bear Grylls' "Man Versus Wild" to make it out alive from his nine-hour ordeal.


COOPER: Welcome back to the special 9:00 360, "Survivor Stories with Bear Grylls."

Our next story takes us to a war zone. We take you back to November 2008 and a veteran "New York Times" reporter named David Rode (ph) was researching a book when he and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban. They were taken to Pakistan, to North Waziristan and held captive less than a half mile from a Pakistani military base.

Seven months and ten days after their ordeal began, in June of 2009, David Rhode made a daring escape in the dark of night. He and another captive used a rope to lower themselves down a wall, and made a run for the nearby military base. They almost got killed on their way.

David and his wife write about what they faced in those seven months in the book "A Rope and A Prayer, A Kidnapping From Two Sides."

David, your circumstances are definitely unique. Not every day someone survived a kidnapping by the Taliban. I got to say, kidnapping is probably my greatest fear in the work that I do and you do the same for -- you were working for "New York Times."

What was the key to getting through for you? I mean, obviously, there were things going on beyond your control. But in your own head, in your own circumstances, what was the key to surviving kidnapping?

DAVID RHODE, SURVIVED KIDNAPPING BY TALIBAN: It was a concept that my wife talked about. It's surrendering but not giving up, and having the faith, you know, that you guys have been talking about earlier in the show.

You know, we waited. We were very patient. We sort of played along with our captors and waited for the right opportunity to come. And it did come. And then when we, you know, made a decision to try to escape, it worked. And it is sort of a combination of things.

You know, you can't be too sort of willful and impatient. You have to be sort of humble and wait for the moment when you're lucky. And it came for us.

COOPER: How did you not let your mind run away with you? I mean, because I think about, you know, journalists who have been kidnapped for seven years. Terry Anderson in Beirut chained to a radiator for years. Or you hear about contractors in Iraq who were, you know, literally buried alive in shallow graves and kind of stored there and occasionally checked on. How do you not allow your mind to kind of imagine the worse?

RHODE: I think part of it is my family. My family is -- we're all from New England. They're sort of these stoic New Englanders who said you just kind of wait and hope things will turn out for the best. I had a couple of communications with my wife. She sort of told me you must be strong because I'm strong. And that -- those were sort of the key things. And in the end, frankly, for us, we sort of when it came to escaping decided that, you know, death was a possibility. And we were ready for that.

We kind of accepted it. It's inevitable. We all are going to face it at some point and we essentially, you know, wanted our captors to get nothing. So we took that risk and it paid off.

COOPER: I know you sang songs also at times. I think "Born to Run" was one of them. What -- that was, what, at the urging of your captors?

RHODE: Yeah. They -- the Taliban -- they were bored, as well. The months and months went by. So we would sing songs first in Pashtun, the local language. They had a Taliban song they had me sing in the local language called "You Have Atomic Bombs, But We Have Suicide Bombers."

And then they wanted to hear some American tunes. So I sang "Born to Run." I was trying to convince them that Americans weren't all rich, as they thought they were. And then there was a love song, actually that they -- excuse me, there was a love song that they loved the most. It was a Beatles song "She Loves You," and that had popped into my head after I got a letter from my wife.

So I would sit around and, you know, I would sing the lyrics to the "She Loves You," the Beatles' song, and they would sing the chorus, my guards, as we had these Kalishnikov assault rifles laying on the floor around us.

COOPER: Were you wanting to humanize yourself in their eyes? You hear that a lot about a strategy.

RHODE: Yeah. That was definitely part of it. I had been married two months before. I enacted my -- reenacted my wedding for them. You know, I did try to get them to humanize me. And we talked about faith. And it was funny and sad in a way, because I am sort of a skeptic of organized religion. I have seen it -- religious extremes do terrible things. And their religious extreme made them see me as kind of subhuman.

But I also see religion as a sort of positive thing. Any kind of tradition that makes you feel more humble towards whatever power you believe in, and anything that makes you sort of have empathy towards other human beings, you know. And that helped me.

I did say prayers every day. They were prayers about humility, about forgiveness and that -- that kept me going, as well.

COOPER: Bear, obviously, a kidnapping is a situation you haven't been part of. Any advice to folks out there or thoughts about it?

GRYLLS: Well, it is interesting. You know, it is just a different playing field. You know, survival comes in lots of different guises, whether it's Haiti, you know, or the Taliban kidnapping. But it's interesting hearing this thing about faith again.

And for me, my Christian faith has helped me so much, in so many difficult times, through the military, through my accident, high up on mountains. You know, it is about for me finding a quiet strength in the big moments. And my Christian faith has definitely helped me so much like that.

But, you know, it's interesting again hearing from David the thing of surrender, but don't give up. And it's just that humility, but also having the iron will underneath it. Again, you know, it is what carried him through.

COOPER: David, in terms of not giving up, how often were you thinking about escaping? And how did you plan your escape?

RHODE: We thought of it constantly. The question was -- and we almost tried several times earlier in the seven months.

COOPER: I'm sorry. You were being held with what? One other person?

RHODE: Yes, I was with two other people, Afghan colleagues, an Afghan journalists and an Afghan driver working with me. And, again, you know, creativity. I found a car two rope. And I realized that we could use it to lower ourselves down this wall. My Afghan colleague had sort of scouted out the town. He had gotten the guards to take him outside on shopping trips.

And we realized there was a Pakistani military base nearby. So while the guards were asleep, the electricity just come back on that day. There was a ceiling fan and a cooler that covered the noise of us creeping out of the room. We used the rope to lower ourselves down a wall. And then my Afghan colleague guided me to this base.

We were nearly shot at the base, again, staying calm. We didn't move. We did exactly what the guards told us. They thought we were suicide bombers. I had a beard down to about here and was dressed in local clothes. So, again, staying calm, being patient paid off. We were allowed on that base. And I'm very lucky to be home today.

COOPER: But you were prepared to die? I mean, escape was that important to you at that point? You felt like staying here is no longer an option?

RHODE: I was furious at my captors. I really had come to hate them, particularly for what they were doing to my family. Kidnapping is a really personal crime. They essentially were making my wife -- they were calling her and making her feel like she held my life in her hands, and if she could just raise the millions of dollars they wanted, then I would be free.

I mean, they said they were part of the pious religious movement, but they were really very greedy to me. So it was a risk. I didn't want to die. I was very sad at the concept of dying and not having the life I had hoped with my wife. But I really wanted the thing to end. I wanted my wife to not go through the suffering, my family. And we had our opportunity and we took it. COOPER: When you were escaping, I mean, were you solely focused on the mission at hand?

RHODE: Before I escaped, to be honest, I had -- one of the Taliban had told me that they had this tradition where you say forgive me God a thousand times each day. He told me this months earlier. He said if you say forgive me God a thousand times, your captivity will end.

I said it, frankly, as a way to pass the time. The prayers were something I could do that the guards couldn't take away from me. Before I escaped, I literally laid there in the darkness and said forgive me God 2,000 times.

And then as the kind of escape -- we went through it, I think all people -- look, people -- everyone survives. People get diagnosed with cancer every day in this country. They don't know what is going to happen. They face mortality. The human brain kind of goes into this survival mode. And it all seemed kind of surreal. And we just sort of stayed calm and, you know, it unfolded.

And I kept thinking we would be recaptured. I kept thinking something would go wrong. And it worked. It was an ending I never thought would occur in our captivity.

COOPER: It's an incredible story. The book, again, is "A Rope and A Prayer." David Rhode, I appreciate your time.

RHODE: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, lost and found, a teenager stuck on a mountain in temperatures dropping 17 degrees below zero. How he used tips he learned from watching Bear Grylls on TV to stay alive.


COOPER: If you were lost on a mountain just as the sun was going down, with temperatures plummeting to 17 below zero, would you know how to survive? Jake Denham knows how. He escaped those grim conditions in Oregon on a ski trip last winter. The teenager credits Bear Grylls for giving him the skills to get out alive.

Jake, how did you get your separated from your mom on the ski trip?

JAKE DENHAM, SURVIVED ON FREEZING MOUNTAIN: Well, I had just finished lunch at the top of the hill -- I mean, like the top of the mountain, where there was -- like, the ski lift went up to a place where you could have lunch. And we were skiing down from the mountain on -- I forget which lift but -- I mean, which slope.

And I got lost because my skis were too long and I kept tripping over myself. And they kept going in the X. And then I got more tired and more tired. And I kept trying to get up and I couldn't.

COOPER: So when you -- when you first realized you were lost, what went through your mind? DENHAM: I might never see my family again. But the thing that went through my mind was if you try, you can accomplish. And I wanted to see my family and friends, my teachers, cat and dogs, and kind of collect rare coins and see my big brother.

COOPER: And then what happened?

DENHAM: And then I got down into the trees more and more. And I knew I was going kind of downwards. But the trick was I found some ski and snowboard trails and I followed those. But -- and I followed those and then when it started getting dark, I built like a half -- like a half tube. That's like this big. And I built it like from like -- like it was this big and then cut it in half and this long so then --

COOPER: And you built that out of snow?


COOPER: How did you know how to do that?

DENHAM: I just thought of it because I knew -- I know how to make houses ever since I was little. And I love building stuff and nailing nails with wood. So I learned it from some from Bear Grylls. So --

COOPER: You watched -- what, you watched his show? You had seen him do stuff like that?

DENHAM: For over five years.

COOPER: Oh, wow. You have been watching his show over five years?


COOPER: So you build basically like a small snow cave, like a little tunnel, right?

DENHAM: Uh-huh.

COOPER: What was that -- how much time did you spend in there? All night in there?

DENHAM: I spent about seven hours.

COOPER: What was that like?

DENHAM: And then -- very cold. I got frostbite first degree. And most of all was that if you stay in motion, then you can -- when you're cold, then you won't get frostbite. And another thing that is the most thing most thing -- most best thing to tell people is never eat snow, because it will lower your body temperature very fast.

COOPER: Really? I didn't know that.


COOPER: So let me bring in Bear. Bear, you clearly have an avid fan here. He's been watching you for many years and actually used some of your snow building techniques or cave building techniques.

GRYLLS: Jake, it is amazing to -- amazing to hear your story. And I'm so pleased to hear that you're alive and well. And you've shown such heart, such courage.

But you're right. You know, a snow cave will get you out of the weather. And it's the weather and the wind that will kill very quickly. But then it just becomes this endurance exercise of seeing the night through. And Jake's right when he says movement what keeps you warm. And it's that horrible, horrible thing of knowing that if you stop and you fall asleep, you're just going to get horrific frostbite.

You have to keep this discipline, keeping your fingers and your toes moving. And it becomes such hard work. But it's that that will keep the blood in the extremities and will keep the feeling and keep the limbs in one piece.

And it really is -- Jake, as you know, it becomes a battle in your mind, isn't it? That's really where the battle of survival is won or lost, in your heart and in your mind, whether you can keep that discipline, keep the fingers and toes wiggling until dawn arrives, and then get moving again.

Word on you, buddy. You joined an amazing club of people who have had to dig very deep. And I really admire you.

DENHAM: Thank you very much.

COOPER: When you finally got home, when you saw that you were going to be OK, once the morning came and you were able to walk out the rest of the way, what was that feeling like?

DENHAM: Actually, you might be mistaken, but it wasn't in the morning. It was -- when I walked out it was about 11:50.


DENHAM: And it was totally dark. I couldn't see. But the trick I knew was that I followed the skis and snowboard trails. So I followed them to snowmobile tracks and I knew that was packed down so much that I could walk on it. And I walked on that.

But the trick was how I knew it -- I know because I had a friend that has a snowmobile. And you can see the ridges. And I felt the ridges with my hands. And that's how I knew. So I walked on that. And then when I kept getting in the deeper snow, I'd get back down on my hands and knees and feel again.

And that's how I found out how to get down.

COOPER: And Jake you would like -- you'd like one day, Jake, to go on an adventure with Bear, right?

DENHAM: Definitely.

COOPER: Definitely.

GRYLLS: Let's do it, but we'll make sure we're safe.


COOPER: That's cool. Jake Denham, Bear Grylls, guys, thank you.

Up next, Piers Morgan unplugged. His dislike of casual Fridays and why he has a gripe with my fashion sense.


COOPER: In ten days, on January 17th, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT premieres right here on CNN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. His first interview is Oprah.

I recently sat down with Piers. And we talked about all sorts of things, including how he got a big newspaper job in England at the age 28, but he also took exception to my choice of clothing. Take a look.


COOPER: I understand, though, you don't like casual Fridays.


COOPER: You feel like --

MORGAN: Look at you, for goodness sake. You're wearing an immaculate suit. And then you've got jeans and white socks. White socks and black shoes?

COOPER: I thought we were shooting at a desk, so I didn't think we were going to be seen, which is why I don't like being on the three shot right now, which we were just on.

MORGAN: I think we should be on a three shot to embarrass you. My grandmother had three sayings. Right? She's got three important things in life. Never trust anyone who can't pronounce the letter R, who has a large number of keys jangling from his hip pocket, or who wears white socks and black shoes.

COOPER: Yes, well, the white socks, I will tell you, honestly, because I'm at the end of a laundry cycle and I --

MORGAN: Anderson, this sounds pathetic. This is pathetic.

GRYLLS: It's true. I normally wear black sock.

MORGAN: This is humiliating and pathetic. You try to dig yourself out of an ever bigger hole.

COOPER: Which is why I don't think we should be doing these three shot.

MORGAN: I think we should. The public should see this sartorial fashion icon as he really is.

COOPER: You're wearing European pointy shoes.

MORGAN: I'm wearing Prada, Italian leather. At least I'm wearing black socks.

COOPER: They're little French Louie XIV pointy shoes. That's what they always remind me of. But I digress. You're only like two years older than me. You seem a lot more adult than me.

MORGAN: I know.


MORGAN: I think I had to grow up very early. When I was 28 years old, Rupert Murdoch made me editor of "the News of the World," his biggest selling newspaper in the world.

COOPER: I understand the job offer came after you guys were walking down the beach together?

MORGAN: It's completely surreal.

COOPER: For a couple hours? What's that like to just stroll down the beach with Rupert Murdoch?

MORGAN: I'll tell you. I was editing the pop column, the show biz column in "The Sun," his big selling London tabloid. I got a call, Rupert Murdoch wants to see you tomorrow. OK, great. Where? Miami. You're on a plane now.

So I go to the airport, road, fly to Miami. And I meet Rupert Murdoch. He says, let goes to the beach. Miami Beach. So we go to the beach, and I'm with the world's most powerful media tycoon. We take our shoes and socks off. And we walked up and down Miami Beach in the surf for a couple of hours.

We talk about life and the universe. At several stages, I'm thinking, what the hell is happening here? Why am I here? Why is he doing this? And it was a surreal moment when somebody came up -- and I used to have my picture in the paper a few times doing the pop column of various pop stars, and actually said, "all right, Piers, mate, how are you? Who are you with?"

Who am I with?

COOPER: He paid somebody to do that.

MORGAN: It looked like it. I think Murdoch's got a rat. Family members? What's going on here. But it was surreal. At the end of it, we went to a party for -- it was when he bought the NFL for Fox. And they were just having a big party for the affiliates of Fox. And he introduced me to a guy called Dave Hill on Fox Sports, very legendary TV guy, with the immortal words, "this is Piers Morgan, my friend from London, and he's the new editor of 'the News of the World.'" That was the first time I knew what this was all about, was when he introduced me by my new title that I didn't know I'd had. It was surreal.

COOPER: You've written eight books.


COOPER: A number of them best sellers.

MORGAN: Some are pretty awful. Got to be honest.


MORGAN: Some are great. "The Insider" is a great book. And the last one, "God Bless America," is pretty good too.

COOPER: But your last book was about experiences in the United States.

MORGAN: Yes, it was a diary of my two years here during the process of your election, with the election of Barack Obama, which I -- as a Brit coming here for a few months of the year, watching his assent to power was quite an extraordinary story. And I wanted to record it, and to record my genuine feelings it all unfolds.

COOPER: What do you think the biggest differences between America and the UK are?

MORGAN: I think that it's interesting. What I was saying earlier about the humor difference plays a different way as well. We might mock the Americans for not having the irony and sarcasm that we pride ourselves on. But you don't have the cynicism as a country, either.

I find Americans, they're just more positive. And they're more accepting and encouraging of success. Now your class system is not based around where you were born or what school you went to. Your class system is based around achievement, hard work and success.

COOPER: And in England, that class system is still very prevalent, what family you were born into?

MORGAN: Very prevalent. And also, there's a real cynicism which to a certain degree is quite healthy towards success. If you're successful in Britain and you buy a nice car -- you know, if I drive a nice car around London, you'll get people who will genuinely want to scratch it. And they'll want to spit on you. And they'll want to feel envious and resentful.

If you drive, as I did in the summer, an Aston Martin around Beverly Hills for three months, I had about four or five people on different occasions literally saying to me, hey, nice wheels.

COOPER: You rented an Aston Martin for three months?

MORGAN: They gave me one, actually. COOPER: That's nice. Wow. I hope that wasn't CNN who gave you that.

MORGAN: It wasn't CNN. No, definitely not. Don't worry. Relax.

Currently most of the money goes your way. But we can soon change that, can't we? I think Aston Martin saw me as the James Bond figure they've been looking for since the end of Sean Connery.

COOPER: I'm lucky if I get one of those navigator things in my rental cars.

MORGAN: Of course you are. What's this car you've just bought in manhattan?

COOPER: Firehouse. Firehouse.

MORGAN: They're always small, aren't they? You got a giant pole in there.

COOPER: I have a pole on every floor, as a matter of fact. Actually, I have four poles on every floor, but I'm reducing it to one.

MORGAN: I've heard the rumors, yes. It's OK. Move on.

COOPER: I'm no Milton Burle, but I do OK.


COOPER: Piers grilled me about a lot more when he took over the interview and started asking me questions. If you want, you can watch it at Again, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" in ten days. His first interview, Oprah, January 17th, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, right here on CNN. Don't miss it.