Gordon Foley’s whoop had been a little too joyous for the mountains, it seemed.

Like a lumbering giant roused from a long hibernation, the icy flanks above began to give way in an avalanche let loose by the sound of Gordon’s exultation. The cleft with the lost mine was shovel-shaped, and the rushing loose snow poured into it at 200 miles per hour. 1,000,000 tons of the stuff had already barricaded the valley cleft shut by the time Gordon began to run. The mineshaft, too, was sealed by surging ice and snow.

One of the last things he saw was a skeleton nearby, half buried, wearing unmistakably polyester mountaineering clothing from the 1970s. As the snow closed around Gordon, and he realized why the mine had stayed hidden all these years, he let out another whoop, this one completely different–louder, more forlorn, and gradually tailing off into laughter before being muffled into oblivion.

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