So You're Doing Some Rock Climbing ... When an Avalanche Strikes

By Megan Garber

Say you're rock climbing. Say you're doing said rock climbing at Via Ferrata, in St-Christophe-en-Oisans, France, which looks out over a gorge filled with beautifully turquoise glacial waters. Say you're doing said rock climbing, at said place, in the springtime -- when melting snow at the tops of mountains increases the likelihood of avalanches and landslides.

And then: Say your rock climbing adventure has meant that you are quite literally hanging out on the side of a mountain, nothing between you and the glacial gorge below save for a sturdy rope ... when one of those avalanches takes place.

That's what happened to Perrine Etard -- who, fortunately, had a very good video camera along to film the scene that ensued. The video above features some of the most spectacular video I've ever seen of an avalanche (more specifically, of an avalanche-that-turns-into-a-landslide), complemented by background exclamations that suggest what it's like to be, you know, hanging from a mountain as a torrent of debris hurtles toward you. Talk about being in the wrong place -- and the right one -- at the right time.

H/t Steve Silberman

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/so-youre-doing-some-rock-climbing-when-an-avalanche-strikes/275182/