A mother rushed to help her son after he triggered an avalanche and was carried hundreds of feet, Colorado rescuers said.
The mother and son put on skis and trekked up a mountain pass Sunday, Feb. 13, the Summit County Rescue Group said. They went up Loveland Pass to retrieve rappel gear they left behind the day before on a chute called the “Butt Crack.”
“As the son traversed toward the top of the chute, he cut across a steep slope below the ridge and triggered an avalanche,” rescuers said on Facebook. “The mother stayed in a safe zone to the side of the avalanche and was not caught.”
The avalanche carried the son up to 300 feet in debris and over a 50-foot cliff, rescuers said.
The mom began to search for her son in the avalanche debris. It took her about 10 minutes to reach her son.
She found her son with minor injuries after the avalanche buried him up to his waist.
Rescuers responded but their “services were not needed in the end.” The skiers were able to leave the mountain on their own, rescuers said.
“It is incredible that the skier caught was able to walk away from this accident,” rescuers said. “Although avalanche danger has been relatively low lately there is still danger and it’s important not to get complacent.”
An avalanche can happen quickly and catch people by surprise. Avalanches can move between 60 mph and 80 mph and typically happen on slopes of 30-45 degrees, according to officials.
They can be triggered by a change in the weather or by people recreating on a slope, officials said.
Skiers, snowmobilers and hikers can set off an avalanche when a layer of snow collapses and starts to slide down the slope.
In the U.S., avalanches are most common from December to April, but they can happen at any time if the conditions are right, National Geographic reported.
At least nine people in the U.S. have died in avalanches this season as of Feb. 14, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.