A ski tourer has been killed, and another severely injured in an avalanche on the Chamechaude peak close to Grenoble in the Chartreuse mountain range. The route is extremely popular with ski tourers from the region and a number of other groups were on hand to assist the victims. The slab was probably triggered at around 1900 meters, somewhere between the summit ridge and the avalanche protection barriers.
A group of four ski tourers, students studying in Grenoble, were descending towards the avalanche protection a little after 11h00. Two of the group were taken by a small slide with both skiers remaining on the surface. Both skiers, a German man who was equipped with an airbag and a Canadian woman, were carried into the protection consisting of steel girders. The women received severe back injuries and the man was killed instantly by the shock. He was able to activate his ABS which had exploded due to the impact.
The weather conditions were poor, with low cloud and visibility reported as no more than 50 meters, at the time of the incident. This stopped the rescue helicopter from landing at the scene. Eyewitnesses helped the injured woman and gave heart massage to the other victim until a ground recovery could be organized. The victim was evacuated to Grenoble hospital where she underwent emergency back surgery. There have been a number of incidents in the same spot and a skier triggered a slab on a similar slope in the sector yesterday. The slope is 35 degrees and the avalanche works protect the pistes of the col de Porte ski area below. The avalanche risk was Low (2/5) at the time but there has been around half a meter of new snow with winds blowing from the North.