A PGHM Member Writes Book on Mountain Rescue Interventions


Still young and having been a high-mountain rescuer for only ten years, François Nicard has enough extraordinary stories to fill a book.

In Secours en immersion, au cœur du PGHM, published with Glénat editions, François Nicard recounts his vast experience within the platoons of high mountain gendarmerie (PGHM) of Chamonix and Grenoble.

François Nicard with his rescue dog, photo source @ facebook, Gend'Actu
Secours en immersion, au cœur du PGHM, book cover

Secours en immersion, au cœur du PGHM, contains stories about 15 rescue missions, in which François Nicard took part, in the Chamonix and Grenoble PGHM units.

The stories, which take the readers to the heart of the action in the French Alps, are meant to give a taste of what being a high-mountain rescuer means.

When discussing his motivation for writing this book, François Nicard declares that the curiosity of others played an important part: "It is my entourage, my friends who regularly ask questions about how a mountain rescue operation takes place".

The book aims to show the diversity of mountain rescue missions: "There is rescue in the canyon, others in an avalanche, others in a crevasse, or simply in hiking. I wanted to show both the diversity of situations in the care of victims, but also that of the environments in which we operate".

The stories show the complexity of skills required for being a high mountain rescuer. From the technical side to being able to handle the hardship of the environment, it is the human aspect that stands out the most in this book: "This feeling when we go looking for someone in the heart of a crevasse or at the bottom of a canyon was the most interesting. How I feel when I get the phone call, when I get on the helicopter, when I arrive on the rescue, when we take care of the victim, or when we take care of the family".

As for his most memorable mission, François Nicard recounts: "The one I find most interesting to tell is an avalanche at Mont Maudit, a fall in Serac, in which three mountaineers were taken, who unfortunately died. And it was my avalanche dog who was able to locate the bodies. The outcome is tragic. But if the families were able to mourn, it is thanks to the dog's flair. And the intervention took place in a sublime but dangerous setting because we were under fairly threatening serac bars".

Sources @Le Dauphine, France 3 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

The book can be purchased here [French only].

You can contact François Nicard via Facebook.

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