11 months on, determined owner finds proof that dog he lost in an avalanche is still alive

Jake Dalbey and his dog Ullr before the avalanche split them up
Jake Dalbey and his dog Ullr before the avalanche split them up (Image credit: Jacob Dalbey / GoFundMe)

A skier who lost his dog 11 months ago in an avalanche in Colorado, but who never gave up looking for him, may be on the verge of a reunion with his pet pal, thanks to photographic evidence that the dog is still alive.

Jake Dalbey and his dog Ullr were separated when they were caught in an avalanche at Chair Mountain, near Marble, Colorado, on March 17, 2023. 

Dalbey had been skiing with his friends and Ullr when the avalanche caught them by surprise. One of Dalbey’s friends, Joel Chute, was killed and Dalbey was rolled more than 2,500 feet and left almost buried in snow except for his arm. It took three hours for him to dig himself out even with a broken hand and frostbite. 

During the rescue, the search and rescue crew noticed dog tracks heading away from the avalanche area and Dalbey has since been convinced that Ullr survived. A GoFundMe account was set up to hire a professional dog tracker. Stations with food and cameras triggered by motion sensors. But while there have been some blurry, inconclusive photos of a dog taken in the area since – and a few false alarms – there was no actual proof. Until now.

Jake Dalbey's dog Ullr

Dalbey confirms that the dog in these photos – taken by a motion-triggered camera – is Ullr (Image credit: Jacob Dalbey / GoFundMe)

On February 17 and 18, one of those motion-troggered cameras snapped images of a dog that Jake has confirmed is definitely Ullr, reports Snow Brains.

“First of just want to thank everyone for their continued support,” says Dalbey on the GoFundMe page (on which donations are currently closed but Dalbey hopes to get swiftly reopened – or start a new one – thanks to this new development). “This has been an extremely difficult situation to navigate for the past 11 months but I have not stopped looking for or believing in Ullr for one second here is the official update.

“After 341 days nearly 11 months to the day of setting up trail, cameras / food and moving them around in hopes of luring Ullr into one to finally get confirmation of what I have known all along – it has happened.

Jake Dalbey's dog Ullr

Now they need to actually track Ullr down (Image credit: Jacob Dalbey / GoFundMe)

“To all of you friends and supportive of Ullr and me I want to thank you so much knowing you believe in us really means a lot

“[Ullr] looks great, healthy, and more majestic than ever… especially for surviving an avalanche and for being on his own for almost a year.”

Now comes the tricky task of actually finding Ullr, and not frightening him away. We wish Dalbey the best of luck – he’s already spent thousands of dollars of his own money on the search, and hiring a professional dog tracker can’t come cheap, so hopefully that GoFundMe is up and running again soon.