Very sad. Nine on snowshoes, two on skis.
Front-page photo in Le Dauphine said they were members of a French alpine Club section.
I guessed that but I didn’t want to speculate, the profile of a mixed skier/snowshoer adult group in that area suggests a CAS or CAF group. It might account for the initial confusion about if there was a guide or not.
There’s a fair of bit extra reporting on the RSR site http://www.rsr.ch/#/info/les-titres/suisse/3042946-une-personne-toujours-recherchee-en-valais.html it’s in French and included the RSR TV reports.
I’ll post a map of the location later.
Just seen Bernard Mudry on the French TV News. Bernard is the president of the Cluses CAF and was very shaken. He didn’t add much to the information but given that he is one of the major movers and shakers in the CAF this incident may have some wider repercussions. The group would normally have been led by someone who had gone through a training programme completing modules on snow and avalanches, orientation and group leadership. The modules are based on the guide training programme used by the ENSA.
As far as I can understand it was a natural depart from the North face du Bonhomme du Tsalevey, a relatively small slide that was channeled down the couloir the group were taken at the time. The accident reminds me of an incident in the Bauges in March 2005:
A group of 10 skiers, again from the CAF, caught in an avalanche couloir after a slide departed spontaneously from far above.
In the BSP incident we have a large group, closely spaced climbing at 12h30 which seemed fairly late on Saturday to be on such a slope. Little chance to escape the slide or space the group out AFAIKS. The avalanche risk was 3/5 but above 2400m and principally concerned natural avalanches (if anyone has the exact bulletin please post it).
I think this is the earlier incident Ian is talking about:
under the lifts at Super St Bernard.