Reports have come in about a serious avalanche incident on the Glacier de Pendant above the Bochard gondola lift at Grands Montets, part of the Chamonix Mont-Blanc ski area. A 20 year old local man was buried under 1 meter of fresh snow at around 11h20. He had left the open Bochard run to ski some off-piste couloirs with a friend who gave the alert.
The victim was found in a state of cardio-vascular arrest by a team of forty rescue workers using probes after 40 minute. He received intensive medical care at the scene but his heart was only restarted as he was being airlifted to hospital in Sallanches.
The avalanche seems to have been caused by wind-slab triggered by the passage of the skier. Avalanche clearance work that morning had not given any results in the sector.
The accident occurred at around 2700m on a north-west facing slope. The avalanche risk was high (4 on a scale of 5). Meteo France warned that the slopes hid many traps for the unwary with very localized slabs that could be triggered by a single backcountry traveller and could take the whole layer of recent snow which, at present, is poorly bonded to the base. Existing ski or snowboard tracks should not be taken as evidence that a slope is stable.
It was a busy time for the PGHM from Bourg St Maurice who also attended incidents at la Plagne and Val d’Isère. The off-piste guides of Alpine Experience broke off their professional duties to help a 100 strong probe line in the Spatule off-piste sector on the north east face of the Bellevarde. A forty year old non-French national was found under 150cm of snow and was heliported to hospital in Bourg St Maurice.
Posted by davidof
on Wednesday, 03 January, 2007 at 04:57 PM
According tro a friend in the vicinity the man (who has sadly since died) was hit just below the Brochard lift and despite 20-30 rescuers searching quite a small area they were unable to find him quickly enough. Such a waste as with a functioning beacon he would probably have been found easily.
Posted by on Thursday, 04 January, 2007 at 12:45 PM
no es para que te asustes pero para crear respeto por la montana.
Posted by on Friday, 05 January, 2007 at 03:47 PM
The Chamonix victim has been named by the Dauphiné Libéré newpaper as Sébastien Veillard. His father is a senior employee for the Compagnie de Mont-blanc which runs the area’s ski lifts.
Posted by davidof
on Monday, 08 January, 2007 at 04:30 PM
The BBC has some coverage of the events from last week
Posted by on Tuesday, 09 January, 2007 at 05:53 PM
the avalanche was set off by the friend from above neither had phones reco or arva my girlfriend called secours
Posted by on Wednesday, 10 January, 2007 at 05:31 PM