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9 Climbers killed by Mont Maudit Avalanche
Posted: 12 July 2012 10:50 PM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Sorry Im away on holiday at the mo but just to let readers know that 9 climbers have been killed, including a British guided group and 4 are missing following an avalanche on Mont Maudit on the 3 cols route to Mont Blanc.

avalanches are common on this route, 8 climbers were killed in August 2008 on the same route. This is the most serious avalanche in France since Montroc in 1999.

9h20: The four climbers were reported missing Thursday at Mont Blanc, where an avalanche has killed nine people in the morning, are alive, two who have canceled shipment and the other two who chose a different route, the police announced

16 h 50: The police of the Chamonix PGHM put an end to searches for today, they will resume Friday morning. “The avalanche area was completely surveyed. Research will resume tomorrow (Friday) depending on the weather, “said Colonel Bertrand Francois, commander of the gendarmerie of the Haute-Savoie.

16 hours: The Interior Minister Manuel Valls went to the scene and conducted a survey of the area by helicopter. He however refused to comment on the causes of the accident: “The investigation begins, under the authority of the prosecutor. The number of victims, missing, injured because of this very special event a disaster, “he added.

2:42 p.m.: A cell for the families and friends has been established. Here’s the number: 04 50 33 61 33.

1:05 p.m.: The balance sheet is now nine climbers killed. Four are still missing. Among the nine dead were identified a Swiss, three Germans, three British and two Spaniards. The last three bodies found under the avalanche in mid-day were those of three British climbers were among the seven missing, according to preliminary results reported by the prefecture. Four other climbers still missing. Colonel François Bertrand, commander of the gendarmerie of the Haute-Savoie, hoped they managed to escape the avalanche, going faster than the rest of the group or through another route. Nine minor injuries were evacuated to the hospital Sallanches and two were recovered unharmed by rescuers. A chapel was erected at the hospital in Chamonix for the host families. At midday, the search was continuing on up to over 4000 meters, with Italian rescuers came to reinforce the means of the platoon of police mountain (PGHM) Chamonix.

12:04: Polls continue, but with very diminished chances of finding victims alive, six hours after the departure of the wind slab. It could, according to Colonel Francis of PGHM, be between 2 and 5 people still buried, if one refers to the number of parties of climbers Cosmiques this morning between 1:30 and 2:30. But that’s not counting potential climbers who preferred to bivouac tent. The gendarmes dénombrent this morning in four unoccupied tents the Aiguille du Midi, but nothing suggests that their owners were on the route of the “three mountains white.”

11:52: The six dead were two Germans, two Swiss and two Spaniards.

11:31: The Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls will travel to Chamonix at midday.

10:15: Five climbers were back down, including a free guide and a victim of ophthalmia.

10:00: The mountain rescue Italian héliportait on the avalanche area a team of first aid and a avalanche dog, to lend a hand to rescue the PGHM Chamonix.

9:00: This morning at 5 am 50, the PGHM was alerted by witnesses. An avalanche had just left the neck Cursed, taking several enterprising mountaineers roped ascent of Mont Blanc by the route of the “Three Mountains”. Six people died and several were injured. Rescuers launched two waves of survey to find the missing climbers in Avalanch

[ Edited: 16 July 2012 07:05 PM by davidof]
Posted: 13 July 2012 09:17 AM   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  543
Joined  2006-01-24

It’s well known now that the guide was Roger Payne from Leysin.

I knew Roger. Back when I decided to become an IML it was Roger who I turned to for advice about the career change. It was Roger who wrote a personal recommendation for me when I entered the IML scheme. And when we decided to move house to Leysin a large part of the reason was because I’d heard him talk about what a good place to be based it was. He was inspirational and I’m only one of many, many people whose life’s were touched by him.

He was president of the British Mountain Guides association and it always seemed to me that they’d chosen him because he represented the very best of what guides could be.

His wife, Julie-Ann Clyma is also a guide and my thoughts are with her.

[ Edited: 13 July 2012 09:26 AM by ise]
 Signature & B&B L’Epicéa, Leysin, Switzerland

Posted: 13 July 2012 05:42 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2005-07-28

It’s very sad to hear about the death of anyone on the mountains and worse when it is on such a scale. I’ve done avalanche training with Julie Ann Clyma so it starts to feel closer when you have a connection to those involved. I was reading some of the comments in the online newspapers; there are some very insensitive crass people around who seem to think they deserved it because they had the “stupidity” to venture onto the mountain. Sometimes I despair.

Posted: 16 July 2012 07:09 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Just back from vacation. I saw Yan Giezendanner from Meteo France Chamonix. He wondered if the strong south-westerlies we had in the days before the incident had created the avalanche conditions. He’d noticed a lot of cloud on the Mont Blanc massif and suspected that this may have brought some precipitation which combined with the winds formed slabs on the north facing slopes.

Mont Maudit is a bit of a lottery if there is an avalanche with so many climbers on the route and the results can be very serious, fortunately such avalanches are rare.

Posted: 17 July 2012 12:04 AM   [ # 4 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Just an extra data point, this is from the OHM website for the 10th

Beaucoup d’’accumulations avec ce vent. Tacul bien chargé mais surtout le Maudit. Sommet pas facile à atteindre avec de telles conditions de vent.... attention aux gelures.

Lots of accumulation with this wind. The Tacul is really loaded but especially the Maudit. Not easy to reach the summit with these wind conditions, watch out for frostbite.

The weather has been pretty variable this late spring and summer with lots of bad days, this may mean more climbers on good days and perhaps some climbs in not entirely perfect condtions. Certainly the climbers that got caught on the Dome du Gouter on Friday seem to have been in this group. Not well equipped, two of the group died of hypothermia after getting lost in low cloud and spending the night above 4000m.