11th April 2022
They were in a party of six in Chamonix, France, with a guide when the avalanche struck. An investigation is underway. It is the latest in a serious of avalanches in the western Alps. NEW
The group was on a ‘mountain survival’ weekend accompanied by a mountain guide.
They had built snow shelters just below the Cosmiques refuge and were intending to spend the night in them.
They were positioned under a rocky outcrop and in an area that is considered safe.
It was on the Col du Midi glacier, at 3,613m.
At around 6pm on Saturday the avalanche struck burying 5 people.
3 were in the shelter and 2 outside.
The 2 women outside, both in their 30s, died.
It is understood they came from the Isere region of France.
The avalanche risk at the time in the area was 3 on a scale of 5, meaning there was “considerable” risk.
Rescue services were unable to reach the area by helicopter and had to take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to get to the accident site.
People from the Cosmiques refuge helped in the immediate search operation.
The survivors are said to be “shocked but unharmed”.
A judicial inquiry has been started by the Bonneville prosecutor, led by the Chamonix PGHM.
There have been a series of avalanches in the Alps after recent heavy snow, high winds and warm temperatures.
In La Plagne, two British brothers were caught but survived and a skier was rescued in Tignes.
See here for our reports on both incidents:
We have also been reporting on the avalanche danger in our rolling snow report on conditions across the mountains:
Given the current weather skiers and snowboarders are being asked to be extra vigilant if they head off piste and to obey all the rules & recommendations.
They are urged to carry the correct safety equipment and, most importantly, know how to use it.
We will be updating this article as we receive more information.