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Nearly 100 deaths in the Alps this summer
Posted: 19 August 2008 12:04 PM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

According to the French and Italian press agencies (AFP and Ansa) nearly 100 people have died in accidents in the Swiss, French and Italian alps over the summer season. Italy has seen the deaths of 40 hikers and climbers including a Dutch man and his 3 children killed on the 1st of June.

In France 30 people have died in accidents including 7 in a single day on the 14th of August in the Haute-Savoie department. Not all of the accidents are on technical routes, some are simply due to hikers losing their footing on walking trails. 18 people have died on Mont Blanc. In the Haute-Alpes three people have died collecting Genepi plants (a protected species) on steep slopes.

In Switzerland 18 people have died since the 1st of June but the figure is down from the same period last year according to the Rega air rescue service. The weather conditions have not been particularly bad this summer with many storms occurring at night when climbers and walkers are in refuges according to Ueli Mosimann of the Swiss Alpine Club.

As we noted elsewhere, snowstorms hit some regions last week. In particular a 50 year old man and his nephew had to be rescued from the Belledonne rage where 20cm of snow had fallen. They had got lost in poor cloud and snow, having set out to climb the Croix de la Belledonne despite poor weather warnings. A British and Dutch climber froze to death in the Val d’Aoste in Northern Italy after losing their way.

RĂ©gis Lavergne, commander of the PGHM in Chamonix says that he worries about the mixed between good and bad weather the most. Something that has been a feature of this summer. Climbers can set out in great conditions then get blocked by bad weather if they are delayed or if the poor weather arrives faster than predicted. Lavergne warns climbers and walkers to chose routes adapted to their level, know how to navigate in poor weather and respect the weather forecast and advice of professionals. Never set out without warm and weatherproof clothing even if the conditions are perfect. It is all about minimizing the risks.

Posted: 31 August 2008 12:26 AM   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2008-07-25

I think awareness about this has really started to sink in a bit more this summer due to the high amount of deaths. We often think of avalanches as a winter problem, but the numbers of climber dying this year has been huge and very sad.

Love the Mountains - Love Plooka!

Posted: 06 October 2008 04:34 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

The rescue services for the Isere department have published figures for teh summer. The number of deaths, 5 in total is stable compared to 2007. However two walkers are still missing, presumed dead. A 32 year old Englishman in the Oisans and a 55 year old man who vanished in the Valbonnais area.

The number of rescue missions from 1 June to the 31 August rose 22% from 186 to 227. 215 people were rescued, 157 of them suffering from injuries.

So the situation, in the Isere at least, is not as bad as that portrayed in the Press for the Alps as a whole. The death toll in the Alps is well over 100 for the summer season.