Swiss Avalanche: Complete Burial and Incredibly Lucky Rescue

Les Crosets Avalanche
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This avalanche occurred in the Swiss Alps on 1/30/2015 within the resort boundary of Les Crosets on a slope not known for slides.

"It is important to learn from the mistakes of others as well as yourself. I have uploaded this video to act as a learning tool to demonstrate what ill preparedness looks like in an avalanche rescue situation. As the buried skier, I am incredibly lucky to be alive." - James Mort

The last thing I managed to do before I was completely buried was to reach as high as I could above the snow with my left arm and ski pole. This may have ultimately saved my life. 

I had a shovel and probe in my backpack and I was wearing a transceiver, however, the others were only carrying a shovel and probe. I was convinced that they would not find me in time. Unable to move I focused on slowing my breathing, relaxing and conserving oxygen. I felt bizarrely emotionless and wondered for a moment what death would be like. Then I remembered that I was reaching upwards with my left arm, ski pole still attached. I tried to wiggle my hand and I felt a ‘pop’ as the top 5cm of the pole broke the surface of the snow. Suddenly emotion flooded through me as I realised that Andrew, Dan and Leonard would be able to locate me under the snow if they saw the tip of the pole. However I still forced myself to remain calm as I sat in wait.

A full write up of the incident is available here: http://avalanchesurvival.tumblr.com

"Please be careful and never take safety for granted. Decision making is paramount whenever off piste and always carry a beacon, probe and shovel. Most importantly get educated. Stay safe."

 


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