When hiking among the snow peak mountains, you might not think about the dangers above. But at any moment, the snow could come crashing down in a catastrophic avalanche. This was the case for a group of about 10 people on a guided tour of the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan. After reaching the highest point in the trek, the group heard the sound of ice cracking; all of a sudden, an avalanche was headed their way. In less than a minute, it had passed them and, miraculously, no one was hurt.
Harry Shimmin, one of the hikers, captured a terrifying video of the entire event. After separating from the group to take pictures, he realized there was an avalanche about to begin and started to take a video. “I’d been there for a few minutes already so I knew there was a spot for shelter right next to me,” Shimmin writes in an Instagram caption. “I was on a cliff edge, so I could only run away from the shelter (hence why I don’t move). 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,” he acknowledges. “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 breathe, I was bricking it and thought I might die.”
Shimmin then goes on to describe the experience and the aftermath. He fared well and was only covered in light powder and had no scratches. “I knew the rest of the group was further away from the avalanche so [they] should be okay,” he shares. “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.”
Overall, the group was laughing and crying—each person was happy to be alive. It was only later they realized exactly how lucky they had been. “If we had walked five minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead,” Shimmin explains. “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 afterward, walking among massive ice boulders and rocks that had been thrown much further than we could have run, even if we acted immediately. To make it worse, the path runs alongside a low ridge, hiding the mountain from view, so we would have only heard the roar before lights out.”
Harry Shimmin caught this terrifying video of an avalanche on the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
He was with a group of about 10 people on a guided tour. Everyone was safe from the avalanche but realized how lucky they were.
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