View this post on Instagram
A video caught by a backcountry snowmobiler captures the moment a huge avalanche in the Utah backcountry barreled down on him and his group, burying them under feet of snow on Saturday.
The same day, a huge avalanche in Utah caught and buried eight people, killing four.
Here’s his recollection:
“PLEASE SHARE!!!! Today we were riding in the Uintah, the snow was great up high and it was finally feeling like we had some base. I have been riding sleds in this particular area since I was 8 years old. I am very familiar with the area. My brother and I were playing on the side of a hill in a tree area where we have ridden 30-40 times in years past… (Right side of the video). We had 3 other friends and one younger below in the flats. As I finished recording my brother playing in the pow, the mountain shook.
My original thought was… earthquake. Then it hit me, avalanche. As I turned and looked up I could see the snow wave coming. My brother’s back was turned and I screamed avalanche as loud as I could. Now here comes my mistake #1. I pulled my Klim avalanche backpack and boom, nothing happened. I hadn’t turned it on. A second later the snow hit and the swimming started. Somehow I only moved about 20-yards and stayed on top of the snow (MIRACLE). Only being buried to my lower chest I dug myself out. My little brother’s sled was running and I could hear the yelling on the radio. I could hear someone in the trees, but I couldn’t figure out where. I ran to my brother’s sled and turned it off. I now could hear him screaming my name. Mistake #2 had I not been able to hear his voice I would have been lost.
My beacon, probe, and shovel were all in my backpack but I would have had no clue what to do first. Let me tell you There is no worse feeling than having your little brother buried. I followed his voice and saw the top of his black helmet and his voice and started digging. About 60 seconds later I had his face uncovered. He was okay. Then came the radio chatter, where is everyone at? Was everyone okay? We didn’t realize it but the avalanche had also triggered even bigger on the other side of the trees where we were.
My youngest brother was able to outrun it so was one of our other friends. Our two other friends both got hit with the wave on the FLATS. Craig and his sled were both buried. Craig got his shoot off in time, which ultimately probably saved his life. The person filming (Nate) was buried to about his face and somehow was able to hold on to his phone. Nate was able to free himself after a short time and go to work on getting Craig out. (Nate could see the top of Craig’s helmet).
I believe that today, someone should have died. The big man upstairs was watching closely, and WE ALL GOT LUCKY! The magnitude of what happened off of a remote trigger avalanche was greater than I could have ever expected or thought was possible.
Please be safe out there guys, the conditions are unpredictable this year. We got lucky, flat out. Take the avalanche courses, and have the right gear on you. We are beyond blessed to have 6 people back home tonight.”