The Gorges de Malpasset (bad passage) really do seem to be aptly named. The Dauphine Libere has reported another death. The gorges are at the top of Val d’Isere and let you ski down from the Col Pers the Pisaillas glacier to the St Charles bridge at the Fornet. The route is only skiable in the spring once it has been filled in by avalanches.
According to the DL four Germans, a father and his three children got stuck at the gorges yesterday around 3pm. Two of the group tried to climb up to reach the summer path leaving the two others to wait for help. After removing skis one of the children slid and fell over cliffs into the river. The fall proved to be fatal for him. The second climber was also in a dangerous position when he was plucked to safety by piste patrollers aboard a SAF helicopter.
Few in Val d’Isere will forget the 19th March 2008 when 26 people had to be rescued by helicopter from the gorges.
Even when the gorges are filled in you have to remember that you are effectively skiing on a 1km snow bridge. In April 2007 a female skier fell through the snow and drowned in the river below.
Please, if you are skiing in the Espace Killy check with the piste patrol at la Fornet to see if the gorges are passable, normally there are signs up on the Pisaillas too.