I've never fully understood how anything can actually fall into a black hole without the black hole evaporating first. Since time dilates exponentially as I fall into a black hole, a point will come where a few seconds for me will be millions of years in the outside world...trillions in fact. Perhaps long enough for the black hole to evaporate? Let me set up an experiment as precisely as a I can to clarify my question. Assumptions: 1) I am indestructible. Nothing short of the utter dismantling of space itself can destroy me 2) I have an almost infinitely powerful rocket capable of generating insane amounts of thrust and with a practically unlimited energy supply. Here's the scenario: I first set up a clock at a safe distance away from the black hole. I engineer it so that it has just one hand and each complete circle of the hand measures what I experience as one year. For each rotation, a counter increases and there is no limit to the number this counter can reach as long as the clock keeps working. And the clock has an inexhaustible energy supply. Now, I turn around and start heading towards the black hole. I go closer...closer...closer. The gravitational pull keeps increasing. But because of (1), I don't die. I come closer to the event horizon never actually crossing it. In fact, I come as close to it as theoretically possible. Because of (2), my rocket is capable of counteracting the gravitational force since it's still finite no matter how great. I hold my position for 5 years of my local time. After 5 years have expired (for me), I give my rocket an extra boost and escape the clutches of the black hole (technically I suppose I was never "in" it) at all. I now go back to my clock which is still ticking away happily at a safe distance. Question: Does the clock counter show that millions of years have passed? Or billions? Or is the above experiment moot because the black hole itself would have evaporated out from under me but I still survive because of (1)? Note: I'm not proposing any explanation or putting forward a theory. I freely admit that my knowledge of general relativity has a lot to be desired. I'm merely asking the question - what does the counter on my clock show that I set up before my trip. Of course, this is dependent on the size of the black hole etc, but I want to know whether the counter can be in the millions or billions.