Guide killed by Avalanche in l’Alpe d’Huez

A guide was hit by an in Avalanche near l’Alpe d’Huez in the early afternoon, skiing off-piste while descending the Col du Couard. He died later in the day.

A group of eight skiers including the guide set-off an the avalanche around 14h15 while skiing off piste in the Col du Couard sector near the Grandes Rousses range. The guide was test skiing the slope to verify the snow conditions when he started a wind-slab avalanche. He was carried around 100 meters.

Equipped with an ARVA (avalanche transceiver) he was located quickly by his group. Buried in around 40 cm of snow he was found in a state of cardio-vascular arrest. Taken by helicopter to the la-Tronche hospital in Grenoble, Bernard Fabre, 45 years old and living in Oz en Oisans near l’Alpe d’Huez died some hours later. He is survived by his English wife, Gillian and their three children.

[extracts from fr.rec.montagne and a news item in the Dauphine Liberè 04/02/2001]

Goodbye Friend, a climbing partner dies accidentally - a tribute to Bernard Fabre
Adieu l’Ami.Un compagnon de cordée nous quitte accidentellement

“Bernard Fabre is dead” This news travelled the Oisans like a shockwave the evening of the 2nd of February.  “Bernard Fabre was taken by an avalanche”

Bernard Fabre was a guide who agreed, with a great deal of generosity, to come down from his high mountain to help us at Poitiers during the Grand Atelier MCX1 in November 1998.

In ‘La Cordée et le Quatuor, M.J. Avenier (dir. Ed. L’Harmattan, collection Ingenium, 2000),’ he wrote about his profession with a rare passion.  It described the unexpected domain in which a guide works: rock and serac falls, avalanches… he shared with us the simple values which guided him, humility and authenticity. 

He told us he rarely used the word ‘clients’ a word that introduces a relationship that is essentially commercial because for him, a trip in the mountains was, before everything, an adventure.  He considered the people who he took as sacred, they were partners.  He proved it, his last companions were shocked but safe.  He left them in a secure spot while he made the first tracks in a dangerous zone.  They were the ones who found him but Bernard had been mortally wounded by the force of the avalanche consisting of wind hardened snow.

It’s hard to lose a friend, who everyone agreed was a ‘good guy’, in the prime of life, in contact with man and nature, who had acquired a great deal of practical experience during his deliberate intervention in complex situations.  Experience he was always ready to share with us.

Marie José Avenier

Posted by davidof on Friday, 02 February, 2001 at 10:33 PM

That is very sad, and should never happen..

Posted by  on  Friday, 20 May, 2011  at 12:04 PM
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