Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Avalanche

Avalanche!
 
I remember thinking exactly at that nano second I hard the sound of it starting, like a pistol shot:
 
Ah, ah, this is it…..
 
I was tossed around like a glove in a storm. Upside down. Suddenly I felt heavy snow collecting on top of me. Instant fear! Cold snow, pressure on my face. Than it stopped. Before I could think, I realized I could push my arm through the snow. Seconds later I was out. I stood up. It was slowly snowing. I couldn´t see the top of Jebel Toubkal anymore.
 
I figured I was above my skills of climbing at that moment. It had been a nightmare of a journey from Marrakesh. Weather had been hard. Strong winds, deep snow and it had taken me 17 long hours to push through the hipdeep snow to reach the basecamp. A stone hut. I was exhausted, slept for 18 hours and when I woke up, snow covered the hut. I had to dig myself out. I should have turned around already there. But after having made my way up some volcanoes on my South American journey, I figured I was a ready mountaineer. Not so. Still ain´t!
 
I met this fella on the way back. He was no mountaineer either, so he turned around and slogged back with me to the bus station. I remember he said:
 
Always remain cool in an avalanche.
 
Easy to say. This was back in 1988. A day before New Year.

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