Aiguille Verte: Two Italian skiers killed by an avalanche


Two Italian skiers aged 25 and 50 died on Thursday 20 May after triggering a wind slab avalanche in the Argentière Basin at Aiguille Verte couloir.

Alerted by the Italian rescuers and themselves warned by worried friends, the Chamonix PGHM went at the end of the day to the Argentière Basin and quickly noticed an avalanche of extraordinary magnitude at the Aiguille Verte couloir (3796 m).

avalanche au col de l’aiguille Verte, Photo @ PGHM Chamonix
avalanche au col de l’aiguille Verte, Photo @ PGHM Chamonix


A wind slab avalanche, which started at 3600 meters above sea level before descending nearly 800 meters to the Argentière glacier, where was identified from the first overflight operation the lifeless body of one of the two skiers.

About twenty rescuers from the Chamonix PGHM were then mobilized until 8 p.m. with the objective to find his ski partner. After a first unsuccessful research with an avalanche dog, the research with an Avalanche Victim Detector (DVA) made it possible to find the clothes that the second skier was supposed to wear. The digital DVA was probably torn off from his chest by the force of the avalanche. At the end of a long overflight rescue operation, it was finally the Recco detector on one of his clothes that made it possible to discover the second victim. 

This tragedy follows two other fatal avalanches that occurred the day before in the Cosmiques corridor and on the same ridge. Weather conditions remain particularly dangerous in high mountain due to heavy accumulations. Skiers and mountaineers are advised to be extremely careful. "The four victims of the last two days are experienced people wanting to take advantage of friendly conditions. But the snowfall and the wind form a very dangerous cocktail", says André-Vianney Espinasse, number two of the PGHM of Chamonix.

Source: @Le Dauphiné

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