Posted on: 2024-01-20 20:14:45 by davidof

Series of avalanches, fatality at le Tour

There have been a number of avalanches involving skiers and snowshoers across the French alps today. In the most serious incident a group of four skiers were caught by an avalanche in the Grossailes sector near the ski resort of Le Tour close to Chamonix. The avalanche occurred on a SW slope at 1950 meters near the Aiguillettes des Posettes chair. The 30 meter wide slide struck at 13h40. Two skiers were caught, one completely buried by the slide. According to the prefecture 11 rescue workers attended the incident including a doctor and dog handlers. They found one of the skiers with light injuries. Unfortunately the buried skier, aged in his 20s, had succumbed to his injuries. The skiers were local to the valley.

The avalanche risk was considerable (⅗) above 1800m. Moderate lower down. The bulletin warned of blown snow on a persistent weak layer with up to 70cm of fresh snow over the preceding days. This new layer was stabilizing but a northerly wind was strengthening over the course of the day. There was a risk of skier triggered small to medium wind-slab on all slope aspects from 1800m and larger avalanches above 2300m on the PWL.

In the Oisans two snow shoers were caught by a slide in the Pas d’Anna Falque above Villar-d’Arène on a north facing slope around 1950 meters altitude. The alert was given around 15h30. The victims were carried 200 meters down-slope by the slide. One was completely buried with just an arm visible and the other was partially buried. They were rescued by 3 other members of their group. The CRS des Alpes recovered the victims by helicopter in a state of hypothermia and one with a suspected hip fracture. The avalanche risk was 2 (Moderate) below 2200 meters with the risk of small skier triggered wind-slab.

At Orcieres a group of three skiers were caught by a slide at the Pointe des Rougnous at 2200m altitude on a south facing slope. They’d considered the shallow slope with just a short section at 30 degrees to not be dangerous but there were steeper slopes above and the group considered that they didn't leave enough spacing. The slide partially buried all three skiers but they were able to dig themselves out without injury except for a lost ski pole. The CRS des Alpes came to the scene by helicopter.

In the Ubaye a group of Italiens triggered a slide at just before midday on the east face of the the tête des Eyssalps at around 2650m altitude. The avalanche took the entire face. Other members of the group found 1 skier with his head visible. He was suffering from a broken leg. He was taken to hospital by the PGHM and two other skiers on the surface. The avalanche risk was 3 in the sector with the risk of wind-slab. easily triggered on all slope aspects. 50 to 70cm deep.