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  • Jeff Baierlein

Trekking Group in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan Mountains Survives Avalanche

Survivor Shares Remarkable Footage of Being Overtaken By Avalanche

Credit: Harry Shimmin

On Friday July 8 2022, a group of nine British and one American hikers on a guided trek, along with their three guides and two horsemen, survived a harrowing avalanche incident in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains.

Twenty-seven year old British trekker Harry Shimmin shared footage of the avalanche.

Credit: Harry Shimmin

“Initially, I was focusing on trying to get a good video. I wasn’t really expecting it to get as close as it did,” Shimmin said.

Harry was on a cliff edge so was unable to move far. Harry, who holds the world’s record for most backward somersaults in a skydive (19), and who identifies as someone passionate for extreme travel experiences, says he knows that not moving to a sheltered spot right away was a big risk. But he says that he “felt in control”—at least until the snow started coming over and it got dark and harder to breathe.

Harry describes sheltering behind the rock as the avalanche overcame him as being “like in a blizzard.” He ended up only being covered in a small layer of snow, without a scratch.

The group improvising a river crossing. Credit: Harry Shimmin

The other members of his group were all further away from the avalanche. They were all safe, although one fell off a horse and got some light bruising, and another trip member cut her knee and evacuated by three-hour horseback ride to a medical facility to get stitches, and then was evacuated to the USA for further treatment.

The incident follows an avalanche on an Alpine glacier in Italy that sent a torrent of ice, snow and rocks down the mountain, killing 11 people. Scientists say the global climate crisis is making these incidents more likely to occur, as a warming planet warms and melts glaciers.

The avalanche thundering down on the Kyrgyzstan group. Credit: Harry Shimmin


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