In a press release the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc says that the tests were as a result of new regulations for cable-cars and the problem came totally out of the blue as tests under the old regime in mid-May showed no such problems. The new tests are more detailed using an X-Ray examination of the cable. The results were a major headache for the CMB coming so close to the ski season. They could have continued operation but under a far stricter examination protocol that would have resulted in two days of closure per month and the risk that the whole site would have to be shut down for repairs.
In the end they contracted Bourg-en-Bresse based cable specialists Tréfileurope. They have just supplied the world’s longest cable car cable for nearby ski resort of les Houches. It took a considerable amount of effort for Tréfileurope to produce the new cables at such short notice.
The delay in opening, initially scheduled for the 1st of December will come as a blow to the lift company already suffering from extremely poor results in 2006, in part due to the closure of the Grands Montets cable car due to poor snow cover at the start of the season. In 2004 the summer season was ruined when a maintenance crew dropped the cable of the Aiguille du Midi, this was followed by an accident in August.
They are not having much luck down in Chamonix. Yesterday the Planpraz gondola lift in the Brevent sector was out of service following high winds. Around 11 am a strong gust of winds caused security cables to get tangled up at the level of the 6th pylon. 80 skiers were trapped on the lift and they had to be lowered to the ground on ropes in an operation lasting over 3 hours.
The Compagnie du Mont-Blanc says they have not done such a rescue for over 20 years and asked the high mountain police for assistance (PGHM Chamonix). The PGHM sent their new EC145 helicopter with the aim of whinching passengers to safety but the aircraft was unable to approach the lifts due to the strength of the wind. As the lift was the only link with the valley another helicopter was called to bring tourists back to the valley.
Posted by davidof
on Sunday, 24 December, 2006 at 10:09 PM