Ecrins Incidents

Two accidents over the weekend in what was the hottest May Day weekend for 60 years. In the Couloir Davin close to Serre Chevalier a group of four skiers from Team [url=][/url] has a nasty fright when one of the group was unbalanced by his rucksack and fell in the middle of the couloir, fortunately without serious consequences: a badly sprained shoulder and knee. This still required a delicate rescue operation by helicopter.

Close to La Grave a couple of members of Camp2Camp were hit by an avalanche at 1pm while traversing the Brêche du Rateau close to la Grave on the east face. Cyrille Carré described how an enormous slide, triggered by rockfall, headed towards them from the slopes above. He escaped unhurt on the right bank but his friend was caught by the slide but by luck managed to stay on the surface. Buried up to his chest it took eye witnesses 20 minutes to free him from the avalanche debris. One of the witnesses descended to a nearby refuge and alerted the rescue services. Members of the PGHM were transported by the civil security helicopter to the scene where the man had an injured hip. He was flown to the la Tronche hospital for treatment. M. Carré commented that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Météo France are currently issuing twice weekly updates to their avalanche bulletin but it should be remembered that on average 20% of avalanche fatalities occur outside of the winter season that officially ends on the 30th of April. With the current temperatures and poor overnight refreeze backcountry travellers should be aware that there is a risk of wet snow slides later in the morning especially where snow accumulations have not already purged.

Posted by on Monday, 02 May, 2005 at 08:29 PM

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