Two avalanches have claimed four lives in the French Alps. At around 10h this morning an avalanche under the col du Greffier (3,086 meters) killed a group of three ski tourers. The incident was in the Albaron sector near Bonneval-sur-Arc in the Haute-Maurienne.
The group were with a mountain guide, Simon Paris climbing through cliff bands when they were hit by a small slide. Mr Paris was a specialist in steep snowboarding routes. The two other victims, friends of the guide, were ski instructors with the ESF Arc 2000 ski school.
The avalanche bulletin was not particularly alarming stating that there could be isolated slabs on north sector slopes, especially close to the border ridge above 2500 meters. The area has seen around 20cm of new snow with strong winds at the end of last week.
On Monday a 47 year old resident of the Isere department, well known in the local steep skiing community, was killed by an avalanche near to Vars in the Hautes-Alpes. The victim was ski touring with his wife in the vallon de la Selette close to the col des Houerts. It seems he was hit by a purge in one of the steep north-east couloirs. His wife had decided to wait for her husband in the valley. Taken 350 meters the victim suffered multiple injuries in the slide and died at the scene. The mayor of Vars complained that the barrier giving road access to sector had been removed, the road is officially closed. The avalanche bulletin for the sector has had warned of high altitude rain with wet snow avalanches on north sector slopes and medium size purges with the return of sunny weather.