Investigations Continue After Two Women on Mountain Survival Course Die in Avalanche

They were in a party of six in Chamonix, France, with a guide when the avalanche struck. An investigation is continuing. It’s the latest in a numbers of avalanches in the north western Alps. UPDATED

The group was on a ‘mountain survival’ course last 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 in now underway by the Bonneville prosecutor, led by the Chamonix PGHM.

PGHM in Chamonix, France

PGHM in Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI.

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.

Avalanche danger sign

Avalanche danger. Image c/o PlanetSKI.