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Watch sudden avalanche engulf group of hikers in mountains

Avalanche flowing down mountain
(Image credit: Getty)

A hiker has captured the moment he and nine others were engulfed by a sudden avalanche while walking in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. British hiker Harry Shimmin captured the torrent of snow, ice and rocks on video as it surged towards him and nine American companions.

Shimmin had become separated from the rest of the group when he realized what was happening. “While I was taking pictures I heard the sound of deep ice cracking behind me, he said. "This is where the video starts."

In the video, the avalanche can be seen approaching rapidly down the mountainside, but Shimmin remains in place filming. He later explained that he was sheltering on a cliff face, and had nowhere else safe to run. As the avalanche reaches him, he ducks behind a rock formation as the snow rushes overhead.

You can watch the video of the avalanche below:

A post shared by Harry Shimmin (@harryshimmin) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

As News.com.au reports, Shimmin only received a light dusting of snow. Two of his fellow explorers received minor injuries, including a cut to the knee that required hospital treatment, and bruises from falling off a horse.

Avalanche safety

Most avalanches occur during or just after a snowstorm, and they can be triggered by sudden changes in temperature, earthquakes, or people walking and skiing on areas of unstable snowpack. This type of snow is made up of layers with varying consistencies, which can slide over one another if disturbed.

As Shimmin says, one of the first signs of an approaching avalanche is often the noise, but you might also notice cracks appearing in the snow under your feet or skis if you're standing in a place where the ice is beginning to shift.

Always pay attention to avalanche alerts if you're visiting a mountainous area, and consider adapting your plans if there's a high risk. 

An avalanche safety class will teach you how to recognize signs of unstable snow and use a shovel to extract yourself in an emergency. For more advice, see our guide to avalanche safety.

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).