avalanche tumbles down Kyrgyzstan Mountain
Harry Shimmin

American Hiker Captures Avalanche Charging Down The Tian Shan Mountains

Out of all the natural phenomena, avalanches are simultaneously terrifying and breathtaking. Unfortunately, not many people get to observe them close up (except for this skier who jumped over the snow as it broke off and began its descent).

One American adventurer caught the footage of a lifetime while hiking in the Kyrgyzstan Mountains. Harry Shimmin captured footage of an avalanche charging down the mountain and flowing over the top of him. He shared the terrifyingly amazing video on his Instagram account, @harryshimmin.


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Viewers can see that Shimmin and the other hikers with him were directly in the path of the snow as it barrels down. The footage alone is enough to get your heart racing. But the video led to a lot of questions from viewers for Shimmin. Thankfully, he added clarification in the caption. The biggest question on everyone's mind was, "WHY DIDN'T YOU RUN?"

Shimmin had a few reasons why he didn't give in to the basic human instinct to get out of dodge.

"Out of ten of us, only one person actually tried to run. She was the only one that was injured. She was knocked over by the debris/powder after making it maybe 10 metres further back, the avalanche traveled further anyone could have run," he explained in the post.

But, not running wasn't only about how fast and how far the avalanche spread. Shimmin said, "Even if I wanted to run, I couldn't. There was a cliff right behind me. There was, however, cover right next to me, which I'd seen earlier."

This is a great reminder to always pay attention to your surroundings and not to rely on instinct. Also, noting places where you can take cover "just in case" can come in handy. Shimmin's final reason for not running is a pretty practical one that is all about perspective.

"It's easy watch this video with perfect clarity of thought and comment what I should have done. However, even now, I don't think I'd do anything differently if I was there again. I was left without a scratch. If I'd followed the advice of half the comments criticizing my 'survival instincts,' I'd have been knocked off a cliff trying to run away."

Shimmin's second most asked question was, "Why just standing there filming/ not move earlier." He responded like a true adventurer, "I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was determined to make the most of it and film to the last second. Even when I was jumping for cover, I had my arm outstretched, trying to keep a good shot. As a bonus, this video of a glacier collapsing has now been seen across the world, helping to bring awareness to climate change."

The third and final most common question Shimmin received was, "What happened to the rest of the group?"

There were 10 people total hiking on the mountain. Shimmin said, "I had separated from the group and was the closest to the avalanche. The person who ran got knocked off a rock and cut her knee. She was taken to the nearest medical facility, then flown back to the US for surgery. Another person got knocked off a horse and sustained some light bruising."