The Dauphine Libere has some information about this incident in today’s edition. The two men, a father aged 45 and son aged 22, were staying in les Deux Alpes. They intended to descend the Vallons de la Meije and bought a return ticket for the lift at les Deux Alpes.
It seems the men did not traverse across to the top station of la Grave but descended down the Girose glacier. They were not equipped for glacier travel or for making the abseils necessary on the routes of the Girose. The men were at the top of an icefall having left their skis and were looking for a route down when they fell 100 meters to their deaths. The accident occurred around midday. It is unclear why both men fell - the police have suggested a snow slide but investigators found no evidence to support this claim at the scene. The accident happened in the couloir d’Orciere above the hamlet of la Grand Clot. Guides Chad Vanderham and Doug Coombs died on the nearby couloir de la Polichinelle last year in a fall over cliffs.
The zone where the men fell has good mobile phone coverage. While warning skiers to take care, especially on high mountain routes, the Police have said that people should not hesitate to contact them (112 - international rescue services number) if they get into difficulty. They went on to warn skiers and snowboarders who are not accompanied by a guide that they need to be equipped for all possibilities, especially when tackling the complex and difficult high mountain routes of la Grave and les Deux Alpes. They means carrying harnesses, ropes and abseil equipment.
What an absolutely unecessary and tragic waste of life.
What price a guide and basic equipment.
Yes it is terrible. The paper said their families were in les 2 alpes and are of course in severe shock. It reminds me of the couple killed by an avalanche in la Plagne 2 years ago leaving 4 kids in resort… although they were with a guide.
La Grave lives up to its name again. This region is deadly and its time the Fernch Authorities started thinking about blocking the route to all except pre booked guided descents. A tragic story. One can only imagine the fear as theyfell.
Although the avalanche risk has been around 1 to 2 for most of the month. Generally 1 early on rising to 2 as slopes warm there is a further reminder of the icy condtions today.
After an extensive search the body of a snowshoer, a 28 year old University lecturer from Lyon, has been near the Grand Som in the Chartreuse range. He appears to have lost his footing and fallen over cliffs close to the col des Aures. The area is very steep, bordering on an extreme ski route.
The police had searched the area after finding his car parked at the trail head.