Posted on: 2015-02-21 21:04:56 by davidof

Briançon rescue boss calls for vigilance

With the avalanche risk at ⅘ (HIGH) in parts of the Hautes-Alpes tomorrow following fresh snow the head of the Briançon PGHM (mountain rescue services), Captain Nicolas Colombani, has echoed the warnings of his colleague in the CRS.

13 people have died in the department since New Year in avalanche incidents, half the total for the whole of the French mountains. The snowpack in the region has been compared to a minefield. This week a group of skiers were lucky to escape a large avalanche near the Col du Tronchet, another skier was injured at Serre Chevalier and two snowshoers were killed near the Col de l'Izoard. Unlike other areas the border regions from the Savoy to Mercantour have seen skiable snow since November but this initial thin pack has formed an unstable base onto which fresh snow has fallen.

”We were close to a disaster at the Col du Tronchet. That avalanche is well known and has claimed lives in the past, for example in 2013”, commented Captain Colombani. ”There have already been a lot of slides in the mountains but also a many slabs that are still in place. We’ve seen a lot of ski tracks in dangerous zones. We ask yet again for care. You need to inform yourself before setting out and listen to the advice of mountain professionals.”

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