A tourist on the trip of a lifetime has filmed the terrifying moment he and a group of hikers were swallowed by a freak avalanche. The remarkable footage was taken by a daring 27-year-old, who escaped with just a few cuts and bruises.
Harry Shimmin was one of nine Brits and an American, part of a guided tour in the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. They’d reached the highest part of the trek when Harry said he went away, separated from the group, to take photos. He then heard a deep cracking of ice. He turned around, started recording and this is what he was he was seeing.
I suppose there was nowhere to run to, but still! 😳pic.twitter.com/3GE4M4YOxa
— James Withers (@scotfoodjames) July 10, 2022
The British Army officer is also a ski instructor. He said he’s had training for situations like this, but never in a million years thought the bulk of the avalanche was actually going to reach him. By the time he realized it, he really didn’t have that many option. He decided to keep the camera rolling.
A member of the trekking expedition, Harry Shimmin, captured the event on camera and posted it to Instagram. The group was forced to seek cover as the snow swept over them as it broke down a mountain in the distance.
According to an account he provided with the video, Shimmin had left the guided tour to snap pictures when he heard “the sound of deep ice shattering behind me.”
After spending a few minutes there, he continued, “I knew there was a location for refuge right next to me.
Harry Shimmin says, “Probably quite sad, I suppose. All throughout I was thinking I hate it when avalanche videos end too soon. I’m going to show how it’s done to get a good one.”
“I left it to the last second to move, and yes I know it would have been safer moving to the shelter right 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 breathe, I was bricking it and I thought I might die.”
Harry wasn’t hurt neither was any other member of the tour group. Although he does admit that when that snow was coming over, when it went dark, he was “bricking it”, and he did think he was going to die.
They certainly know it would have been a very different story had they been about five minutes further into the trek.
The Tian Shan mountains mostly border China’s northeastern border with Kyrgyzstan and its south-eastern border. They were a part of the Silk Road, a historic trade route that connected the Middle East and Asia with the West.
Shimmin stated that he felt “giddy” when he realized he was only covered in light powder and “without a scratch,” and that he knew the rest of his group was farther away and would be safe.
They were scheduled to follow the avalanche’s path shortly. Only before lights out would we have heard the roar, he claimed.
Shimmin claims that a few of the group members had minor wounds, and an American woman who was traveling with them sliced her knee to the bone and had to be sent by horse to a hospital three hours away. She was attended to by a doctor, spent time in the emergency room, and then took a flight home.
Just last week, at Italy’s Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites, 11 people were killed when part of a glacier broke off there. Following that incident, experts predicted that as the world warms, similar occurrences would likely increase in frequency.
The United Nations has labeled Kyrgyzstan’s melting glaciers as an urgent issue. Sadyr Zhaparov, the president of Kyrgyzstan, issued a warning regarding the threat the climate catastrophe poses to mountainous nations like his own.
Global climate change is a problem that the world is now dealing with, according to Zhaparov. This is especially true for mountainous nations like mine because our issues are more particular and dynamic—glaciers melting and shrinking water supplies might spell impending tragedy.