Featured Image

Watch: Ice Climber Withstands Avalanche While Dangling 600 Feet Off the Ground  

Last February, Leland Nisky, a professional climbing guide, was nearing the top of The Ribbon, a 600-foot ice climb in Ouray, Colorado. As he swung an ax into the ice near the top of the climb, a massive slough avalanche came surging out of nowhere, swamping him in a deluge of snow. One minute he was cruising his way up solid ice. The next, he was submerged in a cascade so powerful it looked like the waterfall had broken open over his head.

Because Nisky was soloing—i.e, climbing without a rope or a partner—he did the only thing he could do: hold on for dear life. If he fell, there would be nothing to stop him from hitting the ground hundreds of feet below. 

“Took absolutely every ounce of strength I could muster to keep holding onto my [ice axes],” Nisky posted on social media. “Grateful for years of experience and training in stressful situations to keep me calm and allow me to make it through this freak situation and get back home safe.”

It should be noted that Nisky is a professional who has trained specifically to handle situations like these. A number of classic winter climbs are situated in or beneath avalanche terrain, which means it’s not uncommon for ice climbers to get knocked off-route by a snow slide.

Nisky noted that this was “one of the most terrifying experiences,” he’s ever had while climbing, and that he was initially hesitant to post about the incident on social media. It’s hard to blame him: Many climbers are reluctant to share accidents in the mountains for fear of backlash or embarrassment. But in this situation, the video provided too valuable a learning opportunity for Nisky to just keep it to himself.

Plus, he wrote, “It seemed too insane that I had caught it on camera.” 

So, a lesson to all you ice climbers out there: Let this be your reminder to check the avalanche forecast and bring avalanche safety gear with you on your climb. (Oh, and maybe think twice before soloing.)

Featured Image

Viral Video Shows Massive Monitor Lizard ‘Shopping’ in Thailand

Featured Image

Snake Steak, Anyone? Researchers Say We Should Eat Pythons

  1. Pingback: Utah Ice Climber Sacrifices Herself to Save Her Partner’s Life – Outdoors.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top