2 Climbers From 2 Separate Hiking Groups Killed in Same Rock Slide at Mont Blanc

Julia Schneemann | ClimbingClimbing
Aiguille du Midi view, Mont Blanc massif. | Picture: Chamonix Mont Blanc Instagram

A Dutch and a French climber were killed on Monday, July 31, 2023, while ascending Aiguilles du Tour at Mont Blanc at the Swiss/French border. A third female climber from the Netherlands survived with injuries.

The Aiguille du Tour reaches an elevation of 3,540 m (11,614 ft) and the hiking tour requires ropes, while ice axes and crampons are only recommended.

Around 9 a.m. a rock mass struck a rope team from the Netherlands consisting of a 22-year-old and a 36-year old climber. The 22-year-old woman was injured but survived while her 36-year-old male climbing partner was fatally wounded. The rock mass continued on down and struck a second climbing party a few yards below, where a second climber lost his life. The 26-year-old victim in the other climbing group was from France

The cantonal police together with Air Glaciers aided in the rescue and recovery of the injured and deceased climbers.

Mont Blanc is known as being the deadliest mountain in Europe. Around 100 climbers die each year while hiking the mountain range.

Swiss scientists are warning that the erosion of the permafrost above 3,000 m (9,842 ft) glaciers has been contributing to an increase in rock slides. German scientists have described the permafrost acting like glue in rocks. With the recent high temperatures the ice melting at altitude is causing destabilization on hiking routes and the local police is reminding people to exercise caution and to wear helmets when hiking in rocky terrain.

Summer heatwave in European Alps
Mont Blanc massif, the highest range of the Alps, view from the Savoy side. | Picture: Wikipedia

Related Articles

6 thoughts on “2 Climbers From 2 Separate Hiking Groups Killed in Same Rock Slide at Mont Blanc

  1. Please accept my humble and embarrassed apologies for my sad attempt at a smartarded comment to your post Julia.
    The Argentiere Valley leads into the Swiss Valais.
    The Aiguille du Tour is in France and can be accessed from the Swiss side where the accident happened, justifying the intervention of the Police Cantonale and Air Glacier.
    I should have known better, growing up close by and having been to the Albert 1er Refuge, than to make such a ill-informed, knee-jerk response to the headline.
    Best Regards, Guy

    1. I think this is the most beautiful apology, Guy. And I am never offended. I do hold my reporting to the highest standard and in getting details right, but we are all human in the end… except for ChatGPT of course…

  2. Not Switzerland. L’Aiguille du Tour is in France. The Mont Blanc range is situated along the Franco-Italian border.
    It would be puzzling if the Police Cantonale and Air Glaciers were involved!!
    How’s ChatGPT working for you?

    1. The peak of Mont Blanc is not in Switzerland, but the Mont Blanc massif stretches into Switzerland. The Aiguille du Tour is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif, located on the border between Switzerland and France.

      I have amended the headline to avoid any further confusion. The accident happened on the Swiss side according to the Kantonspolizei Wallis.

Got an opinion? Let us know...