A shocking new video shows what it’s like to be enveloped by a massive avalanche. In the below clip, hiker Harry Shimmin captures an avalanche barreling down on him and then eventually covering him in the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
Shimmin survived the horrifying event by finding shelter beneath a rock just as the avalanche crashed over his head.
“I was on a cliff edge, so I could only run away from the shelter (hence why I don’t move),” Shimmin wrote on Instagram. “Yes I left it to the last second to move, and yes I know it would have been safer moving to the shelter straight away. I’m very aware that I took a big risk. I felt in control, but regardless, when the snow started coming over and it got dark / harder to breath, I was bricking it and thought I might die.”
Shimmin was on a guided tour of the Tian Shan mounts with nine British hikers and one American. They had just reached the highest point in the trek when he separated from the group to take pictures on top of the cliff. While shooting photos, Shimmin heard “the sound of deep ice cracking” behind him, which is where the video starts.
“Behind the rock it was like being inside a blizzard,” he writes. “Once it was over the adrenaline rush hit me hard. I was only covered in a small layer of snow, without a scratch. I felt giddy. I knew the rest of the group was further away from the avalanche so should be okay. When I re-joined them I could see they were all safe, although one had cut her knee quite badly (she rode one of the horses to the nearest medical facility). Another had fallen off a horse and sustained some light bruising.”
While Shimmin reports that “the whole group was laughing and crying” and “happy to be alive,” after the incident, it was only later that they discovered how lucky they had been.
“If we had walked 5 minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead. If you look carefully in the video, you can see the faint grey trail winding through the grass. That was the path. We traversed it afterwards, walking among massive ice boulders and rocks that had been thrown much further than we could have run, even if we acted immediately.”
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