THE MOMENT OF CONSEQUENCE

Words: Garrett Grove

Today I was caught in an avalanche. One moment I was skinning up, hot, sweaty and 100 feet from the top of the saddle, and the next I was 600 feet below, yelling “Fucckkk!” at the top of my lungs. With a whumpf the snow had settled and was suddenly moving all around me. I could see the crown 100 feet above my head. Shit. It had me, and I started getting pulled down, still grabbing at the bed surface. No luck, no, no, no, no…. I am 100% at the will of this beast.

All was white, and I had no idea when or how it would end. My poles were gone, my ears plugging with snow. Keep your mouth closed. My knee bucked into my chin. Did I just bite through my tongue? Snow was filling my jacket, pants, ears, getting in my eyes; anything that could hold snow was.

I came to a stop. I could see, my head actually above the surface. Holy shit. Relief, a deep, cluttered breath. I spat out snow and blood, cleared my ears of snow. Am I ok? Nothing seemed broken or lacerated. A huge wave of emotions hit, as I thought about my wife, parents, friends, all I would have left behind.