The weekend has seen some very unstable snow conditions in the Isère following a drop in temperatures, strong winds and fresh snow down to 800 meters. On Saturday ski tourers in the department were surprised to trigger a number of avalanches in the mountains well below the 2400 meter level specified in the area’s avalanche bulletin where the risk moved from Moderate (2/3) to Considerable (3/5).
Fare canyon, scene of an avalanche today
Although rain the previous week to 2500 meters followed by cold temperatures had either purged or stabilized many slopes the last week has seen over half a meter of fresh snow in the region with many superficial slabs forming over the course of Friday night.
The most serious incident on Saturday occurred close to the Col de la Mine de Fer in the Belledonne mountains when two ski tourers, climbing towards the Grand Collomb triggered a slab. One of the skiers was almost completely buried but was rescued by his colleague and witnesses.
On Sunday a 28 year old ski tourer from Grenoble was buried for 15 minutes in an avalanche that occurred in the Couloir de Fare in the Grandes Rousses sector close to the ski resort of Vaujany. The accident occurred at 2700 meters altitude. The man was rescued by a mountain guide using his avalanche beacon and taken to hospital by helicopter in Grenoble.
There was also a large avalanche at 14h00 at Orcières. The slide occured at 2800m above Prapic on the Pic de l’Homme, vers Orcières. Two people, part of a large group were buried, once completely but they were both rescued without injury by their friends. The rescue services then probed the slide for a possible third victim.