A large avalanche occurred early this morning on the North Face of the Mont Blanc de Tacul (the first of 3 peaks en route to the summit of Mont Blanc, France).
Chamonix Search & Resuce (PGHM) was notified at 8:15am this morning and they’ve begun an extensive rescue operation. It is unknown at this time if anyone was caught in the avalanche, but it is feared someone may have been caught as skis and a backpack were found in the debris.
15 rescuers, 2 dogs, and a medical doctor have been sent to the scene of the avalanche.
As of mid-afternoon in Chamonix, no victims had been located.
“The avalanche is to the left of the Triangle (exposed rock) Face of the Tacul, where there route to the summit of Mont Blanc cuts back, zigzagging up the snowfield. This route may carry over one hundred climbers each day in the high season. Last night [June 13th, 2013], 20 climbers stayed at the Cosmiques Hut.” – Chamonix.net
Mont Blanc du Tacul is easily accessible from the aiguille du midi tram in Chamonix. Tacul is a popular ascent for beginners because of it’s easy of access and low difficulty ranking. The Tacul can be climbed in about 2 hours from the aiguille du midi top station as it’s summit is only 1,300 vertical feet higher than the top of the aiguille.
It is unknown what triggered the avalanche but falling seracs (huge chunks of glacial ice) are suspected.
We sincerely hope that no one was in the area when this large avalanche occurred. Kudos to Chamonix PGHM for treating it seriously and thoroughly investigating the area affected.
This is another great reminder to never let your guard down in the mountains.