Today was the big picnic at the summit of the Grand Colon. On the way to the start the motorway sign flashed up a message “Life is precious, keep it”. It sent a shiver down my spine when I thought about the beauty of the mountain environment but also the cruel nature of the sport of ski mountaineering.
The Sécurité Civile passes overhead
© Luc Thollet/Bivouak.net
Around a hundred skiers met up at the summit to drink champagne, wine and even stronger liquor as well as sampling a variety of home made cakes. Descending by the north face of the Grand Colon at 13h30 we witnessed the red helicopter of the Sécurité Civile take off from its base at Versoud and pass directly over our heads in the direction of lacs de Domenon at 2,400 meters altitude. It made two rotations carrying members of the mountain police and an emergency medical team to treat a Jacques Le, a 46 year old Meylan resident.
It appears M. Le had engaged in a couloir below the Grand Lance de Domène. Realizing that he had made a route finding error he was in the process of climbing back up when he slid 100 meters and and fell nearly 30 meters over cliffs. His body was spotted by other ski tourers lying in the snow and they alerted the rescue services by mobile phone. Unfortunately it was too late to save him. A tragic footnote to the day.
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