Sun and clear skies bring icy conditions

A number of serious falls over the past week are a reminder that we are well into the spring skiing period. Clear skies and low overnight temperatures make the snow glass hard in the morning and standard equipment for ski tourers should include ski crampons (harscheisen), ice ax and crampons with a climbing helmet for steeper routes where there is a risk of stonefall.  Yesterday our good friend Marco was helping skiers at the Col des Ecrins when one of them slid and fell over a 30 meter cliff face. 

The route is technically difficult with a 40 meter mixed descent over rocks then a steep (45°) and exposed snow field on changable snow. At 2pm the snow was still hard. Marc had fixed ropes to assist the skiers with the descent but one of the group, a woman in her 40s decided to ski the slope despite warnings of the danger (which she maybe didn’t hear). Another friend of ours, a trainee guide, witnessed the accident. The skier made two turns, fell and slide 100 meters. Three of the guides began heart massage. The rescue helicopter arrived 10 minutes later with a doctor who continued heart massage for a further 40 minutes before getting the victim’s heart to beat on its own. The victim was then airlifted to the CHU hospital in Grenoble.

Last Wednesday a skier fell in a couloir below the Dent du Géant in the Mont-Blanc massif. The accident was apparently caused by his ski binding opening. He fell 200 meters before falling over two cliff bands and the rimaye. He was lucky to escape without serious injury and was taken to hospital in Sallanches. The victim is a 45 year old man from the Rhone department. He was with a guide. On the same day 18 year old Swiss Freerider Neal Valiton was killed during the 4th leg of the World Freeride Championships at Tignes. The skier landed badly on his first jump and fell 200 meters of cliff bands, his helmet was pulled off by the shock of the fall. It appears he was killed by the first impact due to a broken neck. Valiton had take the same line as the two prevous skiers but apparently was going too fast at take-off. The competition was cancelled following the accident.

On Monday (9/4) a ski mountaineer was swept into a rimaye by what appears to have been a small avalanche on Mont-Blanc. He was rescued alive thanks to an airpocket after spending 40 minutes under 4 meters of snow.

On the 6th of April a Danish skier was seriousl injured skiing the Chimneys at l’Alpe d’Huez. The 25 year old man fell 30 meters and suffered multiple injuries. The couloirs are west facing and are often icy until the afternoon.

Posted by davidof on Tuesday, 17 April, 2007 at 09:12 AM

The fall victim on the col des Ecrins died later in hospital from her injuries.

Posted by davidof on  Saturday, 21 April, 2007  at 03:25 PM

Your brilliance towards your work has deserve you the best.And You’re truly professional and phenomenal when it comes to your work.

Posted by  on  Wednesday, 18 February, 2009  at 07:16 AM
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