An expert and highly experienced skier and mountaineer was killed by an avalanche in the Aiguilles Rouges area high above Chamonix, France and in a separate incident, a snowboarder died on the Alpes Maritimes in what was a tragic weekend in the French Alps.
A 33-year old Frenchman, skiing alone, was caught at the weekend in the Aiguille Rouges. His girlfriend alerted authorities on Saturday evening when he failed to return home. It appears he was climbing up the steep North East couloir of Aiguille de Mesure earlier in the day when the avalanche struck. Authorities located his car in Vallorcine and then launched a search by helicopter. They found an ice axe and a single ski on the mountainside and then, 1,640-feet lower, his partially buried body.
Méteo France warned of “wet snow slides, small slab, and purges close to summits which could lead to falls on steep slopes”.
Meanwhile in the Vallon des Pontet, near Saint-Martin-Vésubie, in the Maritime Alps region, two ski tourers were caught in an avalanche. One of the two skiers managed to dig himself out after forty-five minutes and although he could locate his colleague with his avalanche beacon he was unable to dig him out. He descended the valley to raise the alarm, but bad weather hampered the rescue. The helicopter was unable to reach the scene of the slide and there was also the risk of secondary avalanches. The snowboarder was finally found at night-time but unfortunately, he had died of his injuries.
The local authorities gave a warning to backcountry tourers to be extremely careful in the backcountry due to the recent snowfall and thaw.