Helmet Cam Avalanche Survival Video

Helmet-cam video of being buried in an avalanche.

This is one of the scariest things I've ever seen. Especially the weird choking noises that the audio turns in to just after burial. Apparently David Lynch does foley in hell.

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13 Responses:

  1. merovingian says:


    I was watching the video and I was really relieved to notice the word "Survival" in the title, because this looked like it could have been even scarier.

  2. prog says:

    I've seen this linked to a few times over the last couple of weeks, and I still haven't worked up the nerve to click "play", even though I know it has a happy ending. This is one of the most personally terrifying things I can imagine happening.

  3. Uh. Before I try to watch that....is it anywhere NEAR as terrifying as The Descent was?

    • jwz says:

      Well, it's only a few minutes long. Other than that, yes, it's worse.

      • I bet you I could brew myself a fine ol' little panic attack by just *thinking* about some of the sequences in that movie for a few minutes. S

        (Though, as the Amazon says, "What kind of a bunch of dumbasses go drawling around in underground CAVES?")

        We can now begin to put our dollar bets down on whether I choose to torment myself with this offering or not. So curious.

  4. antabakalj says:

    In it's scariness it is a bit like that video about the skydiver whose parachute didn't open. Only in reverse or something.

  5. dasht says:

    It first quite a bit of it is pretty painful to watch. It has a pretty uplifting ending, though.


  6. mouseworks says:

    I don't know all that much about extreme skiing, but that slope looked avalanche-prone to me. He was lucky he didn't end up down further and deeper. At least they all didn't decided to go down together at the same time. Snow that's somewhat consolidated on a slope that steep tends to cut lose when the weight of a skier fractures the slab -- see all those nice little cracks just before the snow starts to shift and the the guy goes under.

    Also, the advice is to cover your face, get some breathing space, and thrust a hand or ski pole up before the snow sets around you.

    I suspect they all were wearing radio locators -- otherwise he was one lucky guy or enough of him was visible above the snow (not too deep or the camera wouldn't have shown light like that.

    Playing with avalanches -- oh, well. My climber friends said that if I knew many people who did ice climbing, eventually I'd know someone who died. Same for extreme skiing. Unless they were morons, they knew it was a risk and were prepared for it.

    • Victim quoted from the link: "While I was buried, I tried to be as calm as possible-I knew my hand was exposed so my crew would be digging me out shortly."

      I also heard some sort of beeping on the video, don't know if it was from a locator or what.

      • When off piste and in the back country you wear an Avalance Beacon which is a small box you strap round yourself that transmits on a known frequency.

        If anybody gets buried you switch your Beacon to search and use a standard pattern to try and locate them.

        (userpic is me practicing with one at Kirkwood)

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Tr-Jg_fis

        In this full version of the video, minus advertising, you can see a locator hanging from a line on one of the team mates / rescuers toward the end, 7:50 or so. But they may not have needed it. They saw him go down, and if he had a gloved hand above the surface they'd maybe see that from the kind of distance that the beacon is useful anyway.

        The avalanche beacons use an internationally agreed radio frequency, the one you see for a few seconds in the video is a digital one. Push a button, LEDs show direction and range to target. Not hard, but you're supposed to practice along with other rescue / survival stuff. I originally thought this was a PLB (satellite beacon) but those are useless for these scenarios. Best case in 5-10 minutes they decide it's a genuine emergency, a rescue helicopter is dispatched and they arrive in maybe 40 minutes to an hour, your dead body is found and sent home. To survive you need your team mates to know how to find you and dig you out fast, which means yeah, they carry beacons, plastic shovels, etc. Somebody who won't carry that gear isn't risking his own life, he's risking yours.

  7. Interesting - the "weird choking noises" were from his using an Avalung - very low tech, it apparently just has a big intake area (to get as much air as possible through loosely packed snow) and a flap valve that exhausts exhaled air away from the face to minimize CO2 re-intake and melting/refreezing snow over the airway.

    Sports where you need to wear special gear to allow for the chance that you might be buried and suffocate are non-appealing to me for some reason.

  8. nelc says:

    Oh, ye gods, that is scary. And it's not so much choking as whimpering, and the way it changes from terrified to hopeful as he hears his mates' voices, then to relieved as he gets uncovered. Damn, but I don't want to experience anything like that.