Edouard Baud Killed in Gervasutti Couloir

Edouard Baud has been killed in a fall in the Gervasutti Couloir below the Mont-Blanc du Tacul. The 24 year old Chamonix ski instructor fell 700 meters after a snow and ice block gave way mid-morning. A companion managed to avoid the slide.

Situated between a rimaye at 3465 meters and the summit ridge at 4200 meters the couloir was first climbed in 1934 by the Italian Giusto Gervasutti and his companion Renato Chabod. The Vallot guidebook gives the overall slope as 45° and the entry below séracs as 55°. The center of the couloir is frequently covered by ice forcing skiers high onto the banks. The Gervasutti has seen a number of tragedies over the years. The American guide Hans Saari fell in the couloir after losing his grip on ice and the ski journalist Jean Burnier described the couloir as infernal after witnessing four climbers tumble to their deaths.

The Gervasutti was first skied by Sylvain Saudan on the 17th October 1968. Saudan, a pioneer of extreme skiing is a friend of the Chamonix guide Anselm Baud, Edouard’s father. A fan of hard routes himself, Edouard had already begun to make his mark on the discipline with a new line on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi on the 14th of April 2003. Skied in the company of Benoît Fanara the route, baptised Primi Vici, was a 1000 meter chute of between 45° to 50° situated between the Col du Plan and the Aiguille.

Edouard Baud before skiing the Gervasutti last May

Baud was already familiar with the Gervasutti which he had skied on the 31st May 2003 in the company of Fanara and Yannick Clevy. Yannick described the the couloir as “snow lying on bluish ice, the séracs and cliffs towered over the slope and stopped us seeing if the couloir would pass without using a rope. The entrance was lightly corniced, the slope seemed endless. A sérac exploded triggering an avalanche that swept the couloir.”.

This year Chamonix has already mourned the loss of Dédé Rhem, Alain Géloen and Patrick Bérhault, now another of its sons has been taken.

Edouard, Benoît and Yannick on the Gervasutti last year

Posted by davidof on Sunday, 30 May, 2004 at 05:45 PM

je viens d’apprendre cette consternante nouvelle et la douleur est immense, salut Edouard “Dré dans l’pentu, y’a qu’ca de vrai” comme tu disais si bien aux 2 Alpes.
mes condoleances a sa famille.
trop dure ce soir *

Posted by  on  Monday, 31 May, 2004  at 01:33 AM

- translation of above comment from Google.com

I just learned of this dismaying news and the pain is immense. So long Edouard, “Straight down the slope, only that is real” as you said at les Deux Alpes.

My condolences to his family,
it is too hard this evening *

Posted by  on  Thursday, 03 June, 2004  at 12:34 AM

My deepest condolences to the Baud family and friends of Edouard.  May the future bring better memories.

Posted by Andrew McLean on  Wednesday, 16 June, 2004  at 04:51 AM
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