Large Avalanche on Mont Blanc, France | Rescuers Searching Debris

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Mont Blanc du Tacul from Aiguille du Midi
Mont Blanc du Tacul from Aiguille du Midi.  North face is in the shade on the left.

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.

Mont Blanc du Tacul and tourists at the top station of the Aiguille du Midi
Mont Blanc du Tacul and tourists at the top station of the Aiguille du Midi

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.  

L'Adu iguille
L’Aguille du Midi on top station

“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.

Mont Blanc du Tacul East Face
Mont Blanc du Tacul East Face in the shade, north face in the light.

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.


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7 thoughts on “Large Avalanche on Mont Blanc, France | Rescuers Searching Debris

  1. Sorry, re-read the post and agree with Sharpy: the photo captions regarding slope aspect are wrong.

  2. Good luck and hope to all involved.

    Picture isn’t reversed. The rock triangle faces almost true north.

    Relatively technically easy, yes. However the vertical climb from the col (3540m) to the summit (4200m) is 2000′ not 1300′ and most people take longer than 2 hours from Ag du Midi as they need to downclimb, traverse the col, then climb with the effects of altitude.

  3. the top and bottom picture seem to contradict. which is the north face, the pitch on the lookers left in the top pic, left of the exposed rock pyramid? In the bottom pic, if the north face is in the sun, that shady aspect with all the seracs and crevasses seems like the west exposure. picture headings reversed perhaps?

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