Posted on: 2020-01-21 10:30:49 by davidof

Series of avalanches in the French Alps

Following a long anticyclone fresh snowfall has led to a series of avalanches across the French Alps, fortunately non fatal. On Saturday at the 7 Laux a teenager without avalanche rescue gear was buried just off piste in the resort and suffered minor back injuries requiring hospitalization. On the same day a skier was partially buried at the Grand Rocher cross country area while ski touring. He lost his ski poles. There was also a skier triggered windslab avalanche on the Jas de Lievres.

On Monday (20/01/2020) a ski tourer was caught by an avalanche in the Lac de Crop sector in the Belledonne mountains near Grenoble. He was rescued by a friend. The mountain rescue service has called for prudence in the current conditions saying “At risk ⅗ on every slope aspect everything can be skied and everything presents some danger, it is very treacherous. You need to pay a great deal of attention. Analyze the terrain and inform yourself of the weather and snowpack”. In the bulletin for the sector Meteo France warned of “new soft slabs have been added to those already in place, created Saturday mainly by the wind from the North-East to North. The risk of a single skier triggering a slab is Considerable, generally near to ridges and cols. This could lead to a large avalanche of new snow.”  To prove that lightening can strike twice in the same place another ski tourer was caught by an avalanche in the same sector this afternoon (21/1/2020). The slide measured 50x120m on a north facing slope at 1900 meters. He was partially buried and lost his skis.

On the same say a skier was partially buried by an avalanche in the Couloir de la Pinatella in the Cervières sector in the Queyras region (Hautes-alpes). The accident happened mid-morning while two skiers were climbing around half way up the couloir. The victim was taken 300 meters by the slide but managed to alert the rescue services. His friend was blocked above the slide in the couloir. The PGHM from Briançon heliported the victim to hospital. He had minor injuries and hypothermia. Again the avalanche was a generalized ⅗ with the bulletin warming of “new slabs on all slope aspect which seem easy to trigger because they are sitting on old snow without any cohesion”.