Alaska Men Save Moose from Avalanche

Risked their lives to rescue the creature

Jan 2, 2015
Outside Magazine
flickr moose poplar trees snow willows

"There was just enough of its snout sticking above the snow that it could breathe."    tuchodi/Flickr

Protocol normally dictates that you stay away from a moose in the wild, but three men in Alaska threw caution to the wind when they encountered one of the giant creatures buried beneath an avalanche on December 28.

Marty Mobley (44), Rob Uphus (30), and Avery Vucinich (27) were snowmobiling at Hatcher Pass, about 55 miles northeast of Anchorage, when they noticed an avalanche in the vicinity of ski tracks and moose tracks, reports the Alaska Dispatch News. Worried that a skier had become caught, they doubled back to check. The only thing they found: the moose’s snout sticking out of the ground.

“It looked like a guy’s arm at first, because we were expecting to see a skier,” Mobley told the Dispatch. “But it was moaning and groaning and moving, and we realized it was a moose, even though only his ears and some of its snout was sticking out of the snow.”

Despite noticing that only half of the 2,500 feet or so of mountain above them had slid down—meaning there was still a threat of sliding snow—the men decided to rescue the moose. It took them 10 minutes to dig out most of the animal. “It didn’t even fight us,” Mobley recalled. “It was like, ‘Help me. Help me.’ It was totally docile and let us touch it. It just [lay] there,” Mobley said.

So far, no humans have been found injured or killed by the avalanche.

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!