It could have been the toasty July that melted just enough ice, in just the right place, that loosened a chunk of the Roman Wall. It could have been a small earthquake that shook the mountain just enough. Whatever it was, the American Alpine Club’s log would later call it “normal glacial movement.”
The ice cliff crumbled.
Ian, out front, turned around. Tom saw his face first, blank, before he spotted the soaring white masses behind him.
They tried to run. Kurt got all of three steps in before the ground below him gave way. While skiers can sometimes outrace an avalanche using the right combination of speed and luck, they were on foot only 60 feet below the ice. The chunks loosened the plane of snow when they hit, and all four climbers were quickly swept into the flow. Kurt was yanked by the rope attached to his harness, first sliding on his stomach and then popping above the snow and riding down in a seated position.
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