A 28 year old ski mountaineer has been killed yesterday falling on the “rampe de Chauchefoin” on the Pointe de Blonnière (2369 meters) in the Aravis range near the ski resort of La Giettaz. A group of four skiers had completed the route and were descending around 10am on the 45 degree slope. One of the skiers missed a turn and fell 400 meters over cliffs. The victim was local from the Maurienne.
The route starts from the col des Aravis and is rated as one of the most difficult in the range. A steep couloir joins a fault in the rock, a kind of ramp tilted at 40 to 50 degrees that climbs to the summit. On the right is a rock wall and to the left a series of cliffs cascade to the foot of the east face of the Pointe de Blonnière. First skied in 1985 by local skier Daniel Chauchefoin, the route doesn’t forgive errors, or as the guidebook puts it “you fall, you die”.
With improved ski touring gear and better communication of conditions and routes via the Internet extreme routes are becoming increasingly popular with some being repeated many times when conditions are good.
A snowshoer fell 200 meters close to the cascade de l’Oursière near Chamrousse in the Belledonne range on Friday. His body was found on Saturday morning by walkers. He appears to have slipped on hard snow.
As we move into spring snow conditions become very important with hard snow in the mornings and the risk of full depth avalanches later in the day. Crampons should be carried for ascending or traversing hard snow.
Posted by davidof
on Sunday, 22 March, 2009 at 07:54 AM
Thanks for such a well-written (and sobering) story. And with excellent background info.
That video (without a sad ending) was exciting enough for me.
Posted by on Tuesday, 24 March, 2009 at 07:22 PM
Yes the video is impressive, the combination of steepness, width and lousy looking snow doesn’t inspire me much.
Posted by davidof
on Tuesday, 24 March, 2009 at 09:17 PM
A sad tale in a sad week. That video is VERY impressive and the traverse mid route is evil. I am so glad I am now far too old and sensible for that kind of ‘stuff’
keep up the great work with the site it is a fount of knowledge and information as ever
Posted by on Wednesday, 01 April, 2009 at 10:27 AM
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