At almost the same time as four alpinists were killed on Pic du Midi du Bigorre (Pyrenees) on Friday, Paul Hadfield and I triggered a similar avalanche at the top of the Couloir Tartereau on Pic Mauberme just a few tens of miles further east but we were able to avoid being swept down the couloir.
Couloir de Tartereau - Les Inglis-Sharp
We were a few meters from topping out when we triggered a windslab avalanche pretty much the full width of the couloir (5m), about 40-50cm thick and perhaps 15-20m long. We believe that turbulent winds in the upper combe had dumped spindrift onto the ice pitch at the top of the couloir - this was hidden beneath the snow (except for the top 10m) so we were unaware that the loose snow was sitting on ice. The slope was perhaps 50 degrees. We were climbing roped together but not belayed at his point but both managed to jump to the left bank and self arrest. Otherwise the snow had been good in the couloir.
The full story can be read at: