Mont-Blanc Massif: Many Mountain Rescue Interventions


On 8 August 2020, the PGHM of Chamonix carried out five interventions in the Mont-Blanc massif.

Two days later, the gendarmes had an even busier day, with eight rescue missions. Three missions involved retrieving mountaineers who were victims of rockfalls on the Goûter corridor.

The prefecture of Haute-Savoie calls for great caution in the Mont-Blanc massif, especially when attempting to reach the summit via the Goûter Route.

Mont Blanc - Goûter route. Christian / CC BY-SA 2.0 FR (
Looking down the Grand Couloir from the Aiguille de Goûter towards the Tête Rousse glacier. By Anthospace - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
On 10 August, a climber fell on the side of the Envers des Aiguilles refuge (photo). Michel / CC BY-SA (

10 August 2020: Eight Mountain Rescue Interventions

The PGHM of Chamonix intervened on two occasions for mountain biking accidents. Two people fell off their mountain bikes, one in Les Houches and the other in Contamines-Montjoie.

The two mountain bikers suffered from minor injuries and were transported to the hospital.

In other highlights concerning the Mont-Blanc massif, a climber fell on the side of the Envers des Aiguilles refuge (2 687 m or 8 815 ft altitude). He was quickly evacuated to the hospital.

Three Accidents on the Goûter Corridor

Due to the heatwave episode, the rockfalls at the Aiguille du Goûter were particularly important and regular on 10 August.

The PGHM of Chamonix carried out three rescue missions on the Aiguille du Goûter, in connection to the frequent rockfalls, which were confirmed by the keepers of the refuges of the normal route, the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix and Saint Gervais, as well as the Chamoniarde association.

Fortunately, the climbers suffered only fairly minor injuries and were evacuated to the Sallanches hospital.

Rockfalls in the Couloir du Goûter are usually very frequent. A study funded by Petzl Foundation found that there was an average of 39 rock destabilization events per day, in the summer of 2019. Also, rock destabilisation events grow more frequent and larger in size when the couloir became exposed to the sun.

Météo France forecasts do not indicate a significant drop in temperatures before 13 August 2020. Therefore, the prefecture of Haute-Savoie issued a press release calling for caution when climbing the Mont-Blanc summit via the Goûter Route and even recommending postponing the ascent of the Mont-Blanc summit, via the Goûter Route.

Mont-Blanc Massif: Aiguille du Gouter with Grand Couloir. User: Bbb at  wikivoyage shared / CC BY-SA (

Mont-Blanc Massif: Aiguille du Gouter with Grand Couloir. User: Bbb at wikivoyage shared / CC BY-SA (

8 August 2020: Five Mountain Rescue Interventions

8 August was also a difficult day for the rescuers of the PGHM of Chamonix.

A mountaineer unscrewed over 200 meters (656 ft) at Mont Maudit. He was fortunate to escape with a dislocated shoulder and a wound in his leg. A fall of this magnitude could have cost him much more.

A paraglider suffered a chest trauma at the Tête Noire de Pormenaz. He was transported to the Chamonix hospital.

At around 1.30 pm, the gendarmes rescued two mountaineers from the Goûter refuge. The two of them suffered from acute mountain sickness and knee trauma. They were evacuated to the Chamonix hospital.

Finally, in the Grandes Jorasses, a mountaineer suffered from malaise while climbing Pointe Walker. He was also helicoptered to Chamonix hospital.

Sources @Le Dauphine, Radio Mont-Blanc.

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