There have been a number of incidents in the Alps. Team PisteHors was in the Ecrins this weekend to climb the Agneaux above Villar d’Arêne . This morning we heard the rescue helicopter making a number of rotations. A 45 year old Grenoble based ski tourer was killed after falling 400 meters over rock bands on the north face of the Pic Maître around 3000 meters altitude.
In the Mont-Blanc range a 36 year old Italian ski tourer from Milan was killed after falling 150 meters while descending the steep Cunningham couloir from the Glacier Rond. This accident occured at meters.
As we noted on Twitter on Friday there has been considerable fresh snow above 3000 meters. We encountered 30cm of fresh on the Agneaux and this has increased the avalanche risk although most slopes are now well purged with the daytime temperatures. Two ski tourers were caught by a snow slab on Saturday at 10h45 while climbing close to the summit of the Barre des Écrins (4102 meters). The 150 meter slide swept the two local men into a crevasse. One of the skiers was able to dig himself out. Specialist mountain police who came to the scene by helicopter rescued the second man. Neither man was injured by the slide but they lost some of their equipment. There has been strong southerly winds which have loaded north facing slopes.
=== update Monday 18th ===
François Biju-Duval died on Sunday skiing the north side of the Pic Maitre. A steep (50 degree route above cliffs). He was one of the stars of Grenoble extreme skiing. His cousin Jerome opened the Biju-Duval ice route on la Meije. François followed in his footsteps by skiing the Corridors route last year.
This is his route card
last week he opened the North Face of the Olan
in the Ecrins massif.
I only knew him from his posts but friends of mine were close. The Pic Maitre was normally well within his limits but last Sunday the mountain decided otherwise.