An experienced Chamonix guide died on Friday after falling into a crevasse and having a snow bridge collapse on top of him.
Jean-Louis Le Garrec was returning from Tacul on the main trail towards Hellbronner in the Mont Blanc massif with a client. The collapse of an exceptionally large snow bridge near the Aiguille de Toule, under the Géant Glacier at 11,800-feet, caught their ropes and the victim fell into a crevasse, buried beneath several feet of snow and ice from the snow bridge. The client managed to avoid the fall and was able to give raise the alarm.
A rescue operation led by the men of the Chamonix High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoon (PGHM) began at 2:10 pm on Friday, August 7, in the Mont-Blanc massif.
“The operation is delicate because it takes place in a particularly crevassed environment.”
– PGHM officer on duty
At 6 pm, they still hadn’t been able to locate him. Significant resources were deployed, including more than a dozen rescuers from PGHM. They were supported by Dragon 74 which flys the material necessary for their missions.
“We continue to provide relief until nightfall. If we don’t find him by then, we’ll have to start again tomorrow.”
Jean-Louis Le Garrec was involved in the creation of the Servoz guides office. A member of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix since 1989, he worked as a guide with passion and discretion, winning the loyalty of a large clientele. His versatility, his pedagogy, his interest in prevention, and the evolution of safety techniques have naturally led him over the past ten years to join the team of training guides at La Chamoniarde.
The Aiguille de Toule (3,534 metres (11,594 ft)) is a mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps. Its summit is one of a number that forms part of the mountainous frontier ridge between France and Italy which descends eastwards from Mont Blanc and continues towards the Grandes Jorasses and Mont Dolent.
It is situated at the head of the Géant Glacier. It lies east of the Aiguilles d’Entrèves (from which it is separated by the Col Orientale de Toule) and west of the Grand Flambeau (from which it is separated by the Col Occidental de Toule.) It is sometimes referred to as the Aiguille de Toula.