Do Survival

Miracle Dog Survives Year in Wild After Avalanche

MARBLE, COLORADO – In a story that tugs at the heartstrings of pet lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, a dog named Ullr has been spotted nearly a year after a fatal avalanche in Colorado claimed the life of a skier and separated him from his owner, Jacob Dalbey. The resilient canine was caught on a trail camera, surviving in the wild against all odds.

On March 17th last year, Dalbey, along with two friends and his beloved dog, faced nature’s fury when a massive avalanche, spanning 2,500 feet in length, was unleashed on an east-facing slope near Chair Mountain. The calamity resulted in tragic loss and miraculous survival, as reported by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. While Dalbey and one friend emerged alive from the snow’s clutches, the other was not as fortunate, and Ullr was nowhere to be found.

Despite the passing months filled with uncertainty and despair, Dalbey never gave up hope on Ullr. The search for the missing dog was fueled by various leads, from potential sightings to the echoes of distant barks. In an effort to trace Ullr’s steps, Dalbey even enlisted the expertise of a professional tracker.

The breakthrough came when Dalbey received a photograph of Ullr, thriving in the wilderness, a testament to his survival instincts. “Ullr looks really, really good,” Dalbey shared on a GoFundMe page dedicated to funding the search efforts, showcasing the enduring bond between a man and his dog.

The search for Ullr has evolved into a community endeavor, with a dedicated team working tirelessly to secure his safe return. The strategy for Ullr’s capture is cautious and calculated, treating him akin to a stray cat to avoid spooking him further into the wilderness. Dalbey’s commitment to reuniting with Ullr is unwavering, supported by the generous donations of those moved by Ullr’s story.

The avalanche that led to Ullr’s disappearance was a stark reminder of nature’s unpredictable power, with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center highlighting the sheer luck that prevented a greater tragedy. Dalbey’s ordeal post-avalanche involved a grueling escape from the debris, battling the elements until his eventual rescue.

As the community holds its breath for Ullr’s safe recovery, this tale underscores the resilience found in both human and animal spirits when faced with the harshest of conditions.

Avalanche Awareness Tips for Readers

  • Stay Informed: Before heading into the mountains, check the local avalanche forecast to understand the current conditions.
  • Avalanche Safety Gear: Always carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe, and ensure you know how to use them.
  • Education: Take an avalanche safety course to learn about snow science, terrain analysis, and rescue techniques.
  • Travel Wisely: Avoid avalanche terrain when conditions are dangerous. Learn to recognize and navigate safely around potential avalanche paths.
  • Stay Together: When traveling in avalanche-prone areas, keep your group together and watch out for each other.
  • Plan for Pets: If you bring pets into the backcountry, keep them leashed and consider their safety in your planning.
  • Know Before You Go: Familiarize yourself with the signs of avalanche danger and be prepared to alter your plans based on conditions.


As we root for Ullr’s return, let his story serve as a reminder of the beauty and risks of the great outdoors. Being prepared and respecting nature’s power can ensure our adventures end in joy rather than tragedy.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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