moose rescue avalanche

This moose was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luckily his human friends were in the right place at the right time. Photo via Marty Mobley’s Facebook page

When three snowmobilers were recently cruising through Hatcher Pass, just 55 miles northeast of Anchorage, Alaska, they were surprised to discover moaning and groaning coming from some avalanche debris as well as the snout of a moose. As the moose was still expelling air, the crew stopped their sleds and began their rescue attempt.

“There was just enough of its snout sticking above the snow that it could breathe,” said one of the snowmobilers, Marty Mobley, to the Alaska Dispatch News.

Two men dug for about 10 minutes while the other kept an eye out for another avalanche. After clearing snow from about 75 percent of the animal, they men saw what they believed was a young cow that wasn’t moving much. They were worried the moose was injured due to the slide that traveled more than 1,500 feet.

So one of the men used his shovel to give the moose’s hindquarters a gentle nudge.

“It stood right up and towered over us, because we were in kind of a hole from the digging,” Mobley said. “It looked like the abominable snowman because its fur was so packed with snow, and it looked at us, shook the snow off it, and off it went.”

As it ran, it appeared to be uninjured, according to Mobley.

This area, known to locals as "God's Country," is notorious for unstable snow. Mobley knew this all too well. His best friend, Aaron Arthur, and five others were killed in this vicinity on March 21, 1999.


A moose in the wild; photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Mobley was happy to have been in the right place at the right time to lend a helping hand. “I am an animal lover, and I couldn't leave it there,” Mobley said. “Besides, we deal with a lot of avalanches and a lot of snow. That kind of karma is something we don't pass up.”

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