French Alpine Club in fatal snow slide

A group of eight ski tourers from the French Alpine Club in GAP (CAF) have been involved in an avalanche incident above Saint Paul sur Ubaye close to the border with Italy. Four of the group were caught by the snow slide while they were ski touring in the area of the Aiguille Pierre André (2857m) at around 2,700 meters altitude.

The accident occurred close to the Pas sud de Chillol above the Lac Supériors de Marinet at 13h30 yesterday. Three of the group were dug out of the slide without injury but a fourth member was buried under 3 meters of snow. He was located using his avalanche beacon by his friends after around 45 minutes but the 55 year old man had not survived the slide. The PGHM from Jausiers assisted the skiers by helicopter.

The avalanche risk was Considerable (3/5) at the time above 2200 meters, fairly well stabilzed on south facing slopes but fragile with slabs formed under the action of west and north winds on other orientations. Ten of the sixteen fatalities since the start of the current season have been ski tourers reversing a trend over recent years. In our 2006 review of avalanche incidents we suggested that there would be a growth in ski touring fatalities as the sport gains popularity.

Posted by davidof on Wednesday, 07 March, 2007 at 10:19 AM

Here are photographs and a witness statement (PDF in French) from the PGHM Jausieres investigation into this incident.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 25 April, 2007  at 08:35 PM
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