In the morning, at about 10:45am, Saturday 10 September 2016, the President of Chamonix French Alpine Club, Jean-Pierre Herschke (67), suffered an accident in the Aiguilles Rouges Massif (2,965 meters), while ascending the route De Galbert on Tour des Crochues.
According to Le Dauphiné Libéré, the Chamonix PGHM arrived at the scene of the accident in a SMUR helicopter with a SMUR doctor. Mr. Herschke was declared dead on scene.
According to France 3, the climb was organized through the Club. The president was climbing at an altitude of 2,390 meters and he was wearing a helmet, when he fell 20 meters on on the route De Galbert.
The Tour des Crochues: Voie Escande - De Galbert has a high gain of 200 meters of which 150 meters is difficult climbing. The climb is a D2 with a 5b free climb rating, the route is partially equipped so climbers have to fit many pitons themselves.
France 3 suggests that at the time of the accident, a number of pitons might not have been secured effectively to the rock.
The PGHM is concerned about the height of the fall, because to ensure safety, climbers can rarely fall more than 8 or 10 meters.
It is understood that the victim's fall was arrested by a piton and that at least one other piton might have failed and detached from the rock during the fall.
A PGHM spokesman said that, "While Mr. Herschke was progressing as the lead climber, he had a significant fall resulting in a fatal head trauma".
An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances of this accident!
Jean-Pierre Herschke (67) was President of the Club Alpin Français Chamonix and before his retirement he worked as an engineer in Lyon.
Chamonix.net sends our condolences to Jean-Pierre Herschke's family and friends and to the Community of Chamonix.