5 Female Cyclists Battle Mountain Lion With Sticks & Rocks To Save Friend’s Life: “I Thought My Teeth Were Coming Loose”

Mountain lions attack
Cougar Survivors

Last month, a Washington State cycling team had an encounter that seemed straight out of a movie.

A group of 50 and 60-year-old women met at Tokul Creek trail north of Snoqualmie, where they would go on a leisurely ride. The friends were 19 miles in when their worst nightmare came to life.

Two mountain lions (who are typically afraid of humans) were spotted across a gravel trail, and friend Auna Tietz began shouting. Historically, with most wildlife encounters, the advice given is to make yourself loud and big, shouting to scare off the animals without having them get close to you.

“Cougar! Cougar!”

Tietz shouted, not only hoping to scare the big cats off the path but also to warn the other women. While the shouting scared off one from the pack, a smaller cougar paused before lunging at Keri Bergere, 60.

“It was just a split second, and he tackled me off my bike.”

The animal took her down, pinning her face into the dirt while sinking its teeth into the side of her jaw.

“I thought my teeth were coming loose, and I was gonna swallow my teeth. I could feel the bones crushing, and I could feel it tearing back. I felt like it was suffocating me. I could taste the blood in my mouth.”

Bergere shared during an interview with KUOW, recalling the attack, that she had just recovered from COVID, and it was her first time back on the bike since getting sick. Not the ride most dream of starting back with. While on the ground still, fearing that her life would quickly come to an end, she all of a sudden heard the woman she was with hurling rocks and sticks at the cat, badging it to leave her alone.

“These ladies are not big, and they were killing this cougar. They were not going to let it get me.”

One of the women became do determined to get the cougar off her friend she attempted to choke it.

“That was like choking a rock. It did absolutely nothing.”

She also tried to dig her hand into the cougar’s mouth to loosen its grip on Bergere’s face, but as she felt the cougar adjusting its teeth, almost getting her, she pulled her hand out. Another woman grabbed the cougar’s leg in an attempt to drag it off Bergere. With what felt like no headway being made with getting the cougar to stop gripping Bergere.

“I was swallowing so much blood. I just thought it was done. But then I got another little surge, you know, live to ride one more day.”

Fifteen minutes after the cat lunged at Bergere, it had a slight hesitation on its grip giving her enough time to wiggle free and crawl on her hands and knees away from the other women. However, just because she was free, the other women did not stop fighting, making sure the cougar was not going to make a second attempt at getting their friend. The woman grabbed their bike, putting them overtop of the animal’s body, pinning them to the ground, and calling for help.

The cougar was not done fighting yet, though, lifting the bike and the woman sitting on top of it off the ground at one point. Thankfully, an officer with Fish & Wildlife Police was nearby and arrived on the scene 30 minutes later.

The officer would shoot the animal ensuring that all of the women were safe. Many members of the group recall the moment when the cougar died as heartbreaking as they are all animal lovers, one even sitting on the board for an animal rescue. However, when it came to the life of their friend or the life of the animal, it was a no-brainer who they were going to choose.

“All these ladies came up with superhuman strength. They’re teeny ladies, and I know that the Fish & Wildlife shot the final shot to kill it. But these ladies killed that cougar with their bare hands and no weapons. I’m eternally grateful to each one of them.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock