We spent weeks trawling the Web to round up brutal accidents and epic feats that made us gasp and cringe. Here are the best of the worst videos, including avalanches, 90-foot waterfall drops, and animal attacks.
Biker vs. Antelope
Mountain Biker Gets Taken Out by Buck
As told to Scott Yorko
Money Comment: “Dayum nature, you scary!”
Star: Evan van der Spuy, 18, of Port Shepstone, South Africa
I was in a mountain-bike race in Albert Falls Game Reserve, South Africa, riding 22 miles per hour down a stretch of singletrack when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a 300-pound red hartebeest—a giant antelope—charging at me. I think he was as scared as I was, because neither of us could hit the brakes. The thing T-boned me, horns to helmet. I got knocked out cold and woke up with a stiff neck, four chipped teeth, and absolutely no idea what had happened. We posted the video on YouTube the following day, and for the next 72 hours my phone rang nonstop while more than 400 media outlets hounded me for interviews.
Backcountry Ski Wipeout
Tuckerman Ravine Crash
As told to Meaghen Brown
Money Comment: “That’s me in the video! The fall was absolutely insane. I thought I was about to die.”
Cameraman: Dustin O’Brien, 25, of Marshfield, Massachusetts
My buddy and I were hiking Tuckerman Ravine, New Hampshire’s most popular backcountry ski area, on an April afternoon. About three-quarters of the way up, we were hiking up a chute when snow started sloughing down from the summit. I pulled out my camera to film it when this girl flies through the frame, sliding face-first down the hill and yelling, “Oh, my God!” She must have been going 35 mph. It’s funny, the entire day I shot 70 seconds of video, and that moment is what came of it.
Trapped by an Avalanche
Avalanche Burial With Black Diamond Avalung
As told to Madison Kahn
Money Comment: “He didn’t even use the avalung. Way to go Black Diamond.”
Opportunist: Adam Chamberlain, 38, vice president of marketing for Black Diamond, Salt Lake City
In the spring of 2008, a backcountry skier approached us with footage of one of our products in action. It started with a head-cam shot of a guy skiing epic powder in Alaska. Then the snow fractured beneath his skis. He was buried in the avalanche for almost five minutes before his friends rescued him. We’d never seen an avalanche video like it, and one of the reasons he survived was that he was wearing one of our backcountry safety devices. We paid a grand for the video, branded it, and posted it to Black Diamond’s website, where it went viral. A year later, people started posting comments disputing whether the avalung saved his life. He was wearing one. I think people just found it offensive that we had taken an organic gear testimonial and used it for marketing purposes.
Running a 90-Foot Waterfall
Noccalula Falls Full Edit
As told to Meaghen Brown
Money Comment: “That is a huge brown stout.”
Star: Pat Keller, 25, of Maggie Valley, North Carolina
There’s just something about the power of a flooded river flowing off a 90-foot waterfall—people can’t look away. I certainly couldn’t when I showed up at Gadsen, Alabama, at 2:30 in the afternoon with two other kayakers and a videographer. I went first, following a jet of current at the center of the waterfall. When I started falling, I leaned forward, dropped my paddle, and plunged into the pool at the bottom. It couldn’t have gone better. My two buddies followed, and we ended up with this footage, which looks straight down at a torrent of water falling, then chases it. Watch it and, even if you’re a nonkayaker, you’ll get how huge that drop really is. I’m hoping the big fish, like beer and energy-drink companies, see it. Maybe they’ll even give us some money.
Winter Climbing Gone Bad
Mixed Climbing Avalanche Accident
As told to Scott Yorko
Money Comment: “Potent reminder that surviving the fall is only the start of your troubles in alpine climbing. Heal fast.”
Cameraman: Ed Warren, 26, of West Lebanon, New Hampshire
After 25 minutes anchored to ice screws, I turned off my GoPro. Belaying makes boring video, even when you’re 450 feet up a 70-degree slope. My partner, Brice, was a rope length above me, chopping through snow slabs that blocked the chute we’d been climbing in Wyoming’s Snowy Range since 8 a.m. Brice triggered the avalanche and fell with it for almost 200 feet before the rope caught him. When it hit me, the snow was going 70 mph and knocked me off the wall. After it stopped, Brice was fine, but I was hanging upside down with a crampon pressed into the flesh of my shattered ankle. I was shocked to be alive. I instinctively turned my helmet cam back on as soon as I righted myself, rappelled down the cliff, and then crawled two miles back to the car, filming the whole way.
Crash-Landing in the Himalayas
Paragliding vs. Eagle
As told to Katia Bachko
Money Comment: “Angry birds!”
Star: Vladimir Tsarkov, 25, of Moscow
Last October, I went to Bir-Billing Valley in India for a month of paragliding. On my first flight, I was 850 feet above the northern Himalayas when two birds that looked like eagles popped up in front of me. Birds rarely hit paragliders, so I decided to stay my course. Big mistake. One got snagged in the lines of my glider, and the entire cupola collapsed. I fell at 23 feet per second for a minute and a half and landed in a shrub. Somehow I was totally fine, just cussing up a storm. I had to calm down before facing the bird, which was still caught in the chute. It flew off as soon as I untangled it. I sent the video from my helmet cam to a friend in Moscow, and she uploaded it to YouTube. All the Russian channels put it on their broadcasts. I was still in India and hadn’t talked to my parents yet; they freaked out when they watched the news.