Watch: Massive avalanche strikes photographer while camera rolls
"If we had walked 5 minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead," photographer Harry Shimmin said.
JUKKU PASS, Krygyzstan -- A group of 10 climbers taking in the sights of the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan on a warm, summer Friday got an unwanted blast of winter as a massive avalanche raced down the mountainside and crashed into their party.
Harry Shimmin had his camera rolling as the wall of snow first rolled down a distant mountainside, only to keep heading toward his position.
"We’d just reached the highest point in the trek and I separated from the group to take pictures on top of a hill/cliff edge," Shimmin told ViralHog. "While I was taking pictures I heard the sound of deep ice cracking behind me."
That's when he turned around and started filming, only to see the snow keep coming. Shimmin said there was a shelter nearby but being on a cliff edge, there were no options to escape. He hid behind a rock as the avalanche forged overhead.
"When the snow started coming over and it got dark/harder to breathe, I was bricking it and thought I might die," he said, adding being behind the rock was like "being inside a blizzard."
When the avalanche passed, Shimmin said he was relieved to find he was unscathed, just covered in a light powder. The rest of his party survived with just one minor injury.
"It was only later we realized just how lucky we’d been," he said. "If we had walked 5 minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead."