There’s nothing quite as humbling as witnessing first-hand the majesty and might of Mother Nature at her most fearful. No one knows this more than a group of ten tourists – nine British and one American – who managed to survive after a huge avalanche swept right over them during a guided trek in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains on Friday.
The Tian Shan mountains – A UNESCO World Heritage Site – mainly straddle south-eastern Kyrgyzstan and its north-east border with China. They formed part of the ancient Silk Road trading route from the Middle East and Asia to the west.
As shared by @EverestToday on Twitter, 27-year-old Briton Harry Shimmin, one of the trekkers, was able to capture on video the moment snow chipped off a mountain top in the distance, before smothering the slope with a force never to be reckoned with and threatening to engulf the group.
In addition to the ten tourists, the group consisted of three guides and two horsemen.
Upon reaching the highest point of the trek, Shimmin broke away to the top of a cliff edge to take footage of the incredible landscape before him when he heard the sudden rumblings of snow breaking down and sweeping towards them. “This is where the video starts,” he wrote in the caption of the video he posted on Instagram.
At the last moment, he takes shelter behind a rock and is consumed with adrenaline in the face of this near-death experience.
— Everest Today (@EverestToday) July 10, 2022
“I felt in control, but regardless, when the snow started coming over and it got darker/harder to breathe, I was bricking it and I thought I might die,” added Shimmin in his caption.
According to an interview with CNN travel, Shimmin conveyed that while a few members received light injuries, and the American trekker had cut her knee badly and was taken to the nearest medical facility by horse, the group was safe and ecstatic to be alive; he himself felt a sense of giddiness at being covered in only a light layer of snow.