Mont-Blanc Massif: Fatal Fall for a Chamonix Guide

 

On 7 August 2020, Jean-Louis Le Garrec, a Chamonix guide, was returning with his client from the pyramid of Tacul, in the direction of Pointe Helbronner, when he fell into a crevasse on the Géant glacier, under the Aiguille de Toule.

Unfortunately, the 62-year-old Chamonix guide did not survive the fall.

image: 
The snow bridge which gave way opened a crevasse 15 meters wide. Photo source @Le Dauphine
Glacier du Géant and Mont Blanc in the background. Ximonic, Simo Räsänen / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The distress alert reached the PGHM of Chamonix at 2.10 pm.

At 3,600 meters above sea level (11,811 ft), the gendarmes launched a heavy extraction operation. The 12 rescuers involved in this mission used chainsaws, snow throwers and other mechanical means to free the victim.

At 7.30 pm, the gendarmes of the PGHM of Chamonix recovered the lifeless body of the Compagnie de Chamonix guide.

The client is unharmed.

An exceptionally large crevasse

According to the rescuers, the snow bridge that collapsed under Jean-Louis Le Garrec was exceptionally large.

The PGHM of Chamonix speaks of a crevasse about 15 meters wide (49 ft). Photos show that the collapsed mass is of unusual size. The break mobilized a great deal of snow and ice.

It seems a whole network of snow bridges gave way, revealing a huge crevasse. Specialists argue that the weight of a climber seems negligible compared to the mass represented by the volume of snow that has given way. "We just got the feeling that it was unstoppable. Given the scale of the phenomenon, it was completely unpredictable", declared the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix.

Mountain professionals in mourning

Aged 62 and the father of two grown children, Jean-Louis Le Garrec had been a member of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix since 1989. He also participated in the establishment of the Servoz guides office.

For 10 years, he has been very involved in prevention in the mountains through the association La Chamoniarde. He regularly participated in training days for amateur mountaineers.

The viewing will take place on 11 August, at the Maison de la Montagne in Chamonix.

The civil tribute ceremony is scheduled for 12 August in Servoz.

Source @Le Dauphine

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