News relating to avalanches. Check the Avalanche Bulletins when planning a trip outside of open ski slopes.

Sunday, 09 December, 2012

First Italian avalanche death of the season

It was a busy weekend for the rescue services although given the avalanche risk and quantity of fresh snow things could have been a lot worse. Ski tourers seem to largely heeded warnings and opted for outings in the forests in lower mountain ranges where the risk was lower.  The message still doesn’t seem to be getting through to some piste skiers who continue to take pistes closed due to the avalanche risk with no search and rescue equipment.

Fences and warnings no deterrent to off piste skiers

Posted by davidof at 11:05 PM
• (2) Comments •

Thursday, 06 December, 2012

Avalanche in the Haute-Savoie

A couple of back country enthusiast triggered a slab avalanche close to the Col du Planbois on the north side of the Montagne de Sullens (1839 meters) near Manigod in the Aravis mountain range. The alert was given to the rescue services a little before 1pm and members of the Chamonix PGHM were dispatched to the scene. The victim, 60 year old woman, was found using probes. She was transported by helicopter to Annecy in a critical condition. Another person with the woman was unharmed.

Posted by davidof at 06:32 PM
• (4) Comments •

Avalanche Alert for the Alps and Pyrenees

Meteo France have issued the following alert at Thursday 6th December 2012 at 11:18 for the Pyrenees and Northern Alps. The risk is currently Considerable to High for all mountain ranges with a temporary Extreme (5/5) risk during Friday night in parts of the Northern Alps.

Posted by davidof at 12:58 PM
• (0) Comments •

Wednesday, 05 December, 2012

Tignes Avalanche buries two skiers

Two off piste skiers have been hit by an avalanche in the Tovière sector of Tignes a little before midday, a third skier escaped the slide. The avalanche occurred on a north sector slope under the top of the Aeroski lift close to the Paquerettes black itinerary. The run was closed at the time. The sector is avalanche prone.

[update: the young woman died late this afternoon]

Posted by davidof at 12:43 PM
• (5) Comments •

Thursday, 25 October, 2012

French Avalanche Analysis for 2011/12

The 2011-2012 season in France saw 23 avalanche fatalities in 15 incidents. The figures were skewed by the death of 9 climbers on Mont Maudit in July in a single accident. Since 1990 only 3 seasons have seen less fatalities and 1992/93 fewer accidents. However the perception in the public mind was a season of avalanches hitting ski runs and infrastructure culminating in a massive slide that destroyed an open chairlift at Saint François Longchamp on the 2nd of March, 2012.

Avalanche, Vallons du Pra, les 7 Laux, Belledonne massif

Posted by davidof at 12:11 AM
• (3) Comments •

Saturday, 29 September, 2012

After Manaslu - We are the enemy

The tragic avalanche on Mount Manaslu has been rehashed ad nauseum by the press and TV but so far media reports have favored sensationalism at the expense of analysis. According to sports journalist Nathalie Lamoureux “we crossed the rubicon of stupidity with the classification of the 8000 most dangerous summits. Let’s be clear, all the 8000ers are dangerous. Above 7700 climbers are in the death zone. Some peaks are steeper than others, more technical, more exposed to the wind, but all are dangerous.”

Posted by davidof at 11:30 AM
• (1) Comments •

Wednesday, 09 May, 2012

Avalanche warning with warm temperatures

The rescue services have warned ski tourers to take care over the next few days with renewed warm temperatures in the mountains. There is a lot of snow at altitude and there have been a couple of recent incidents with reports of slabs, particuarly in the Ecrins region.

Posted by davidof at 11:31 PM
• (0) Comments •

Thursday, 29 March, 2012

Carnage in the Canyon

On the 13th November 2011 two skiers traversed the mid-cirque of Peruvian Gulch at Snowbird to reach the Gad Valley ridgeline, remotely triggering a 60 cm deep, 200 meter wide avalanche that covered their boot tracks below. They may not have even seen this slide in the low cloud and poor visibility.

Clipping into skis and board they skied the ridgeline then stopped. The skiers were above the south chute, a steep, rocky and tree lined couloir that drops 350 meters into Gad Valley. The first skier made three turns then - game over.

Posted by davidof at 02:05 PM
• (1) Comments •

Tuesday, 20 March, 2012

Prosecutor wants 5 year ban for ESF instructors

Two ski instructors from the Ecole du Ski Français are threatened with a 5 year ban and suspended prison sentences in a manslaughter trial at Albertville court this week. Readers of PisteHors will remember the avalanche on the 31st December 2009 in Orelle which cost the life of a client, buried for 15 minutes by an avalanche while skiing off piste.

photo: kees wolthoorn

Posted by davidof at 11:01 AM
• (5) Comments •

Tuesday, 28 February, 2012

An avalanche on the Vallée Blanche

When skiing the normal route of the Vallée Blanche we tend to focus on the high mountain dangers, a fall from the ridge or a crevasse, rather then avalanches. At 12h30 on Saturday the rail line that links Chamonix to the Mer de Glace was blocked by a slide. An inconvenience for 100 passengers who had to be airlifted from Montenvers but a drama was unfolding lower down for a number of skiers descending the classic Vallée Blanche route. An account of the events by Bruno and posted on his website

avalanche in woods
Avalanche on forest trail - library photo

Posted by davidof at 01:32 PM
• (1) Comments •
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