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Weekend of 25 & 26 May 2024 was busy for the Chamonix PGHM

The Chamonix PGHM helicopter on a rescue mission

The Platoon of the  Gendarmerie of the High Mountains (PGHM) of Chamonix intervened this past Saturday 25 May and Sunday 26 May in at least three incidents. Thanks to the rapid and effective response of the Chamonix PGHM rescue teams, everyone was recovered without suffering serious harm or death.


Mountaineer evacuated after being swept away by an avalanche

On Saturday 25 May, the PGHM flew to the scene of an avalanche on Mont Blanc du Tacul.  A 47-year-old man had been carried down the mountain side in the avalanche.  Fortunately, the mountaineer was not completely buried in the avalanche. After he had been extracted from the debris by the rescue team, he was assessed on site by the doctor who is part of the rescue team. The doctor's initial assessment was favourable. No emergency care was was required, but to be safe and to assess the mountaineer for a possible head injury and other internal injuries, the alpinist was flown to Sallanches hospital.


Difficult weather conditions on Sunday

On Sunday 26 May, the fog and clouds played tricks on the mountaineers who ventured into the high mountains.
Despite the conditions and because of them, the PGHM dropped rescue teams from their Choucas 74 helicopter where the sky was clear and then, on foot or skis or by climbing and rappelling, the rescuers ventured into the cloud to locate the compromised Alpinists.


Two Ski-Mountaineers lost on ascent of Mont Blanc

The two ski mountaineers lost their way in the cloud and became and stranded, reportedly at the level of the  Mur de la  Côte (4640m) high on the route to the summit of Mont-Blanc. We have not been able to verify that the climbers were actually stranded at this high altitude or whether they had summited and then started their ski descent by way of the Petit Plateau and the Grand Plateau, which does seem plausible.
On this mission, the Chamonix PGHM despatched a team four rescuers who where flown by helicopter to a clearing in the cloud cover on the Grand Plateau.  
The rescuers were able to navigate the crevasse ridden surface and to  locate the stranded ski mountaineers. and guide them back to the Grands Mulets refuge where they were evacuated to the DZ des Bois in the Choucas 74 PGHM helicopter.


Another stuck crossing the Aiguilles d’Entrèves

Around noon on Sunday, a  group of climbers were descending from the Aiguilles d'Entrèves . The cloud cover was so thick, that they could not safely rappel down the mountain.  They called the Chamonix PGHM for assistance. The helicopter pilot was able to drop a team of rescuers at high altitude, on a rock face protruding from the cloud several pitches above the stranded climbers.  After some exposed climbing and multiple rappel descents, the rescue team located the stranded climbers, The cloud cover was still thick. The only realistic way off the mountain was to continue the descent. With the care and guidance of the PGHM rescuers, the stranded climbers continued their rappel descent  to the foot of the wall, where the helicopter, thanks to a clearing in the cloud, was also able to recover them unharmed.

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