Dramatic avalanche rescue at Val d’Isere

Henry Schniewind has sent us information about an avalanche rescue operation at Val d’Isere yesterday. Three ski tourers were buried climbing to the Point Pers. The avalanche released 200 metres above them, probably due to remote triggering and was 400 meters wide. The slope is west facing at around 3500 meters altitude.

The Point Pers is above the Fornet Glacier. The slide was broke under rocks with a crown height of around 40cm. This is a fairly characteristic trigger point. Snow accumulates under cliffs and weak layers also form at this point due to heat being carried into the snowpack by the rocks. It should also be remembered that although we’ve had almost summer like temperatures at resort level over the last couple of weeks it is still winter at altitude. The skiers had good spacing, about 50 meters. Two of the victims were able to inflate their airbags (ABS) and remained on the surface of the slide. Henry notes that the third skier was buried about 75 meters under a large isolated rock. These kind of features are always likely points to begin a search.

Full story and pictures on the Get Off Piste website:-


Posted by davidof on Tuesday, 14 April, 2009 at 09:41 AM

ANOTHER lucky escape ... !

Great feature story.

It’s interesting to note that all three skiers caught in the avalanche were wearing ABS Packs. The two that deployed them were not buried. The one that did not, or was unable to deploy, was buried.

Posted by  on  Tuesday, 28 April, 2009  at 04:11 PM

Proof that the ABS is an effective system provided you don’t use it to take on more risk than you should.

Posted by davidof on  Tuesday, 28 April, 2009  at 04:54 PM
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