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Fatal Avalanche on the Toule Glacier between Courmayeur and Chamonix
Posted: 02 March 2010 03:57 PM  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  35
Joined  2006-01-30

A woman of German nationality aged 47 was killed on Monday 1st March 2010 while skiing with a guide/ski instructor who works for the local Compagnie des Guides in Chamonix. The accident occurred on the Toule Glacier on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif. This glacier is often skied by Chamoniardes and Italians alike, and is accessible from the Aiguille du Midi via a ski tour, or via the lift system from Entreves, a small town above Courmayeur (Pointe Helbronner). The slide went down the front face of the Helbronner cable car line from just above the Pavillion midstation and traveled over 2000m nearly reaching the opening of the Mont Blanc tunnel. The guide survived the accident and apparently tried in vain to find the woman using his transceiver, according to the Dauphiné Liberé. Radio Mont Blanc reported there was a 3rd skier in the accident, who also escaped without injuries, and it is unclear if the group were guided clients or friends skiing together (the term ‘companion’ rather than ‘client’ is used by the Dauphiné article and by Radio Mont Blanc). Witnesses described the avalanche as ‘gigantic’.

Story here :

Avalanche risk was 4 in Courmayeur at the time of the accident, and had been preceded the night before by a large snowfall and several days of very high foehn winds. The cable car line faces South.

-- corrected date: redac

-- update - have been told by friends in town that the woman who died was of German nationality but lived locally in Vallorcine and was the wife or girlfriend of the guide, not his client. I have 2 first names but will not mention them as this is 2nd hand information. Also found the 3rd skier caught in the avalanche is someone I know, and he was buried up to his neck in the slide.

[ Edited: 03 March 2010 04:33 PM by firechick]
Posted: 03 March 2010 02:55 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2008-12-18

I was skiing in Courmayeur on Monday and thought the risk level was 4. The Youla and Arp lifts were closed as a precaution and there were several large natural avalanches off the south face of Mont Blanc in the middle of the day including a big one off the Brenva glacier.

Posted: 03 March 2010 04:33 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  35
Joined  2006-01-30

Corrected - thanks. Risk in Haute Savoie was 3 that day, but the Aosta forecasters put most of Aosta at 3, and Courmayeur at 4.

Posted: 04 March 2010 12:00 AM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2008-01-26

It strikes me that Monday was the first nice sunny full day in a long time. Georges and I took advantage to get out to do a pretty ski tour.
Too bad it came out so badly for them.


[ Edited: 04 March 2010 12:02 AM by KenR USA]