Skier missing on the Vallee Blanche

A Lithuanian skier has been missing since Friday afternoon after attempting a descent of the Vallée Blanche above Chamonix. An extensive search for the 26 year old man had found no trace.

The head of the high mountain police (PGHM) section in Chamonix said that the man, who was skiing alone, was poorly equipped for the descent and had neither the technical abilities nor the terrain knowledge to attempt such a route. In season thousands of skiers descend the Valley Blanche each day but it is heavily crevassed in places and should always be skied with someone proficient in crevasse rescue.

No one on the route saw any trace of the man – clothed in jeans and a leather jacket. The lift operators on the Aiguille du Midi had tried to dissuade the man from setting out on the run.

Further Information

Danger, Crevasse
Louis Lachenal the star that fell to earth
Brit Boarder in Valley Blanche Crevasse Fall
Fatal crevasse fall in vallee blanche sector

Posted by davidof on Monday, 14 January, 2008 at 05:03 AM

We found his skis and poles last sunday afternoon sticking out from the hard snow at Vallee Blanche.We started to dig him out and rescue team helicopter was called to the scene...i dont know if they found him already…

Posted by  on  Tuesday, 29 January, 2008  at 10:24 AM

Yes it is bad news I’m afraid, as I guess we all knew.

The missing skier was found yesterday on a slope below the the Requin refuge at around 2650 meters altitude. The man’s skis were spotted on Sunday. The PGHM have suggested that he fell and suffered fatal injuries while trying to climb up to the safety of the refuge having first removed his skis.

Posted by davidof on  Tuesday, 29 January, 2008  at 10:55 AM

I knew Andrius from first year in uni that we did together in London. We became friends quickly may be because we come from the same part of the world maybe because we both liked heated philosophical discussions. His viewpoints were extreme and boyish grin Eventhough I have never been so free spirited as him, I always admired that in him, his fearlessness and freedom. He really had an amazing brain but he wasn’t fan of the university bureaucracy, rules and regulations. He really couldn’t care less what marks he got but he was the brightest of the all.
I haven’t seen Andrius now for two years and cannot believe that I wont have a chance. He really was one of the kind, the kind there should be more of. I also believe that people leave this world once they have fulfilled the reason they are here and would like to think as Bikke said that Andrius has had 125 years of life experience in this world. Who is to say when it is enough. However, I am very sad that he is gone and very sorry for the loss of his family and friends. But we have been enriched by Andrius who has left us with so many fantastic memories of him that we will have enough for our lifetimes to remember him as the most interesting person we have known.

Posted by  on  Thursday, 31 January, 2008  at 11:53 PM

It is extremely sad to read all these comments and I feel very sorry for Andrius’ family and friends who lost their beloved. I perfectly understand the arguments of mountain rescuers, but at the same time I believe that people are very different, some are stronger and more confident than others, some are carefull and think twice before heading towards anything risky, while others will never resist for their dream or passion, even if it is against all common senses… During this month I’ve heard about another Lithuanian dying in Swiss Alps, a professional skier, but hit by reckless snowboarder to death… Myself I am from Lithuania as well and I started my first skiing experiences this year in Alps. Like in most of my moves, I try to be very cautious and probably will never even dear to go down the Vallee Blanch… But at the same time I cannot condemn Andrius and his zest for freedom, his dreams, and his fairlessness which was beyond limits… Probably these are not the safest qualities in mountains, but many legendary skiers who died on the slopes shared them too…

Once more, I feel very sorry for all who are personally touched by this loss and I also hope that other people could learn from this sad story…

Posted by girl from Lithuania on  Saturday, 02 February, 2008  at 02:22 AM

Although this event is tragic it could so easily have been avoided.  Yes we all like the thrill of a challenge but you have to show respect for high mountain areas.  I snowboarded the VB last year with a group of friends - we all have at least 8 years experience but even so we hired a mountain guide.  None of us doubted our technical ability but we could have put ourselves and others in grave danger if we had decided to just have a go on our own.  As it turned out it was a glorious day and the VB seemed easy but seeing a snowbridge collapse just in front of you makes you realise why you chose a guide.  Having a guide with us all day did not make it any less of an experience.

Posted by Sooty on  Tuesday, 05 February, 2008  at 04:46 PM
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