This is an archive of the old forum

News | Gear | Ski Areas | Hiking | Mountain Biking
Powered by Google™
Major S&R operation at Mont Saxonnex avalanche
Posted: 21 March 2010 12:25 AM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

There has been a major search and rescue operation Saturday afternoon close to the ski area of Mont-Saxonnex. A ski touring party spotted ski gear on the surface of a major avalanche in the Sotty Bowl close to the source of the Bronze river on the Grand Bargy. Fire crews, police units and the local mountain rescue searched the scene without finding any further trace of a ski tourer. The search was suspended at nightfall and is unlikely to restart tomorrow due to the weather conditions.

The Sotty bowl is part of a ski tour which leads to the col de Balafrasse(2250m) and the summit of the pointe du Midi. There have been a number of purges and large avalanches since Friday afternoon throughout the alps.

Posted: 22 March 2010 11:38 AM   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2009-03-26

any further news on this situation? I know this area well and am planning to be touring up there early next week

Posted: 22 March 2010 02:42 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2010-03-22

As the article says, the search was suspended all of Sunday due to dangerous avalanche conditions. The risk was 4/5 all yesterday, due to the weight of the rain that had got into the snowpack up to 2300m.

Posted: 22 March 2010 05:12 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Truly, a day like no other!

We were not many who left the car-park this morning. Just before leaving, I spoke with two girls and a boy who wondered what they will do: Col du Midi and me the Rasoir! ... I was soon disillusioned ...

Climbing along the Bronze the rain had ravaged everything. Avalanches from the North Slopes of the Bargy. At point 1527, I have doubts about the Sotty then resign myself to ski the Chevry ridge where it is blowing hard!

On the descent, it is sticky, the snow is super heavy because of the rain that fell a few hours before. Definitely not the best condition.

And then, this is the start of something crazy, an extraordinary experience!

Going down the same route, at the level of the de north-west combe de Balafrasse, I stumble on the two girls I had met at the parking, they tell me “we found a ski and a poll!? “
At 25 meters the one of the other, I see these two surface indications: it is army ski gear, there’s still a skin on the ski!

One of the girls is talking in the phone: “I’m talking with the PGHM but do not know exactly where we are, you can help us?”


The boy (Baptist) has climbed that the valley and is searching with his beacon

I take the phone and give the PGHM our location, he says he will call back.

In the meantime, I decide to join the search with the two girls. Baptiste has climbed behind la Pechta, everyone is set to receive, not a safe idea!

And then to my surprise!: Searching the slide I stumble on ... an arm of some sun glasses!

A 1/2h later, an fire officer calls and I give the location and surface indications. During the discussion, he tells me that a soldier has been missing for several days in the area. There’s the guy below the avalanche!

His car was originally Chinaillon: “Look no further !...” I tell the fireman, for me the situation is clear.

From there on in there is a regular rotation of helicopters on site: Fire Brigade Mountain Division, Gendarmerie, PGHM ... dog masters ... COLOSSAL!

All means are deployed throughout the valley; dog masters search to la Pechta; a huge purge from the Balafrasse, 2 dog handlers are up there but eventually the slide runs out.

In two hours, a veritable army is deployed! Having worked with a probe line, I am forced to ski down.

Arriving at car park, I meet the fireman that I had spoken to on the phone who asks me to give a witness statement.

Going down to Mont Saxonnex, I see the deployment: a dozen “vans” belonging to the fire crews.

Be Careful Out There, it is not the time to do stupid stuff.,26772.html#sortie

I don’t know if it is linked by Damien ROSELEUR has been missing since early March, he is part of the 27√®me BCA but this slide seems more recent.

[[updated: confirmed that it was Damien ROSELEUR, a soldier from the 27th alpine regiment. His body was found on the afternoon of the 22/March]]

[ Edited: 26 March 2010 10:45 AM by davidof]