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Snow and avalanche 2017/18

 Poster: A snowHead
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@Weathercam, actually I think that (wherever it started) this is a good place for it. I don't know how it ended up here, though.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Alastair, I moved it back out of Apres, assuming it was from Snow Reports, but didn't originally move it out of Off Piste. I moved the other thread on Oven Clocks, but assumed someone else mistakenly moved it at the same time as I was doing it.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Maybe do a sticky in off piste saying it's now here as was very well read?
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This is pretty serious - I've personally never seen Risk 4 for all aspects and more importantly all altitudes for here and the detail as to what might happen lower down.

En dessous de 1500/1700 m et quelque soit le versant, des avalanches de neige humide peuvent entraîner la neige de surface et atteindre ponctuellement une route.

They've been blasting all morning here though as we know they can't get to everything and people will be going off to do slack country / side country - suspect top lifts will not be open.

Now snowing heavier here from the light snow fall earlier

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Took a look at the whole of the Hautes Alpes

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Weathercam wrote:
Was surprised to see and hear that they opened up the Eychauda drag lift on a risk 4 day and an instructor I know took great delight in telling me how he got first tracks down there.


Not as surprised as the snowboarder some friends of mine witnessed get caught in an avalanche in the couloirs to skiers R just off the top of the lift, he was swept down over 150m over a 30m cliff and a pisteur had seen the slide and started looking for him near the bottom, he and my friends dug the guy out, alive but not in great shape, blue lips etc.....Apparently the rescue guys suspected internal bleeding and he was rushed to hospital.
Oh, and he was carrying no transceiver, had an airbag but it wasn't deployed............
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Story up here.

Here's a Google translation.

The facts occurred this Monday, shortly after noon, on the off-piste area of ​​Serre Chevalier.
It is about 12:10, Monday, when an avalanche is triggered on the off-piste Serre Chevalier, between the Rock of Hell and Clot Gauthier (sector of Villeneuve).


A group of six strangers embarks on a route overlooking a rocky ledge. A small flow first destabilizes one of the members of the group, who jumps this rock bar about 30 meters. Falling back, it causes a bigger avalanche.

150 meters long and 50 meters wide, with a break of 70 centimeters, it completely buried the surfer. The other members of the group alert two stationary patrolmen of the station who were patrolling.

It was known that this person had an ABS bag that did not fire, but did not carry a DVA (avalanche detector, Ed). It was going to be complicated, says Cédric Perretier, director of the Serre Chevalier piste department. Two dog handlers from the station and other trackers were brought in as reinforcements.

One of them then hears shouting the buried person.

She was cleared after 7 minutes with 40 centimeters of snow above her. It is certainly thanks to a pocket of air that she could scream. She was conscious, but complained of rib pain. Since the helicopter could not fly, it was lowered in a tray to the snow front where it was taken care of by a Smur vehicle to be brought to the Briançon hospital.
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Sobering video - rather glad we were not in that sector yesterday as we did not think it would open!

https://www.facebook.com/leroyluka/posts/10216033641776243?pnref=story
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Yesterday morning, Piste patrollers caught above the Sarenne at l'Alpe d'Huez. Both wearing airbags, a 50 year old man suffered severe back injuries and was heliported to Grenoble hospital. He's not in danger but obviously the back injuries are worrying.

Risk 4 in the Haute-Savoie today, risk 3 elsewhere in the French alps due to the Fresh snow above 1000 meters on Monday/Tuesday and thaw today (17C expected in Grenoble today).
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Driving over to La Grave yesterday I commented that with all the snow there could well be slides like we've seen in the past this side of the Lautaret.

And sure enough driving back over circa 17:00 the traffic was halted both ways as a heli was dropping bombs causing a few slides but nothing major.

Reckon late in the season when isotherm is way over 3,000m we'll see them opening up the old tunnels.

Should imagine it will be back up to 4 tomorrow with the snow that is currently falling and is due to come down all day and temps are not that cold.
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Massive avalanche activity off the Cibouit above Monetier - must admit to thinking it must have been controlled.



But evidently not - see Dauphine post
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Most likely controlled, just not "well controlled" !
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@KenX, they closed the top lifts and Tabuc not long after they opened yesterday morning. We were up there just after 10.30 and the barrier was being pulled across just below the Flocon restaurant. There were still a couple of skiers coming down Eychauda, so it must have been open initially, although I was surprised when I checked to see what was open. We were told last night that the avalanche was a controlled one, but the skiers were on the closed piste. There were certainly a couple of blasts around lunchtime, but it wasn't possible to see where they were.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Well in that Dauphine artical, Cédric Perretier, director of security infers it was natural, but don't know whether it's a lost in translation episode.

Could well have been a mixture of the two, controlled blasting in the morning, then a postponed resultant slide apres midi.

Mates in Montagnolle this afternoon witnessed a couple of active slides and then evidently there was an another massive one on the Montagnolle run out (day or two old) that is often the case which had taken a fair few trees with it.

As ever in these scenarios (as per the Eychauda one earlier in the week) accuracy of reporting is somewhat vague rolling eyes

Tim who works in the Halte said tonight he'd try and find out what was the actual - but there again, what with 1,700 skiers descending on him tomorrow (Serre Grand Prix) wouldn't be surprised if that comes to nothing....

As we were climbing Cucumelle today, two people at the top sans avi gear, but at least they skied a safer line back down, and another group heading towards the Tete, and I surmise that they took the traverse (far more exposed) that the final 10mins boot packing.

Each to their own rolling eyes
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http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=137140&highlight=
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Landslide just before La Grave at Les Fréaux.

Hit a couple of cars and a flock of sheep, 20 of which died!

http://alpesdusud.alpes1.com/news/hautes-alpes/67234/hautes-alpes-eboulement-a-la-grave-plus-de-20-brebis-tuees
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@Weathercam, Shocked
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Chartreuse backcountry avalanche near Grenoble France:
http://www.ledauphine.com/isere-sud/2018/03/18/avalanche-a-chamechaude-au-moins-un-blesse-tres-grave

Tragic outcome today
on one of the most popular backcountry ski randonnée peaks in the world.
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That's @davidof's, back yard
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The return to winter has meant a return to unstable snow conditions across a number of mountain ranges judging by some of the fatal incidents reflected in the continued Considerable avalanche risk at altitude in many areas. High in much of the Pyrenees where they've had a lot of snow and high winds.

Sunday:

Quote:
Avalanche tearing ski tourers in Tyrol - One dead, several buried
St. Jakob - Several ski tourers were swept away on Sunday in East Tyrol by a major avalanche and spilled. A 54-year-old woman died at the scene of the accident.
On Sunday morning, a 16-member ski tour group from the province of Salzburg took part in a ski tour from the Staller Sattel over the Weißenbachtal in the direction of Hinterbergkofel, with partial cloud cover and clouds in the municipality of St. Jakob in Defereggen.

At about 2400 meters above sea level, the group came in the fog in some steeper terrain. Due to the poor visibility, the group decided shortly before 11 o'clock to cancel their tour and turn back. At that moment, about 50 meters above them, a 60-meter-wide slab broke loose and caught some of the ski tourers.

While some athletes managed to get out of the avalanche and another part was outside the avalanche path, four people were carried away by the avalanche and totally buried. The victims, all of whom were equipped with avalanche transceivers, were quickly located by the other members of the group and recovered unhurt. A 54-year-old woman was not approachable after the rescue; she was reanimated by her companions and later by an ambulance - unfortunately without success. The woman died of her injuries. All other tour members were unhurt.

The operation was initially carried out by Italian forces, as it had initially suspected the accident on Italian territory. The Alpinpolizei Lienz gained knowledge of the avalanche accident until noon and then took over the investigation. In action were two Italian rescue helicopters, 20 men of the mountain rescue Antholz, two emergency doctors, a dog handler and three alpine police.


https://www.berchtesgadener-anzeiger.de/startseite_artikel,-lawine-reisst-skitourengeher-in-tirol-mit-eine-tote-mehrere-verschuettete-_arid,397892.html

Monday:

Quote:
When touring March 20, 2018 11:48; Act: 20.03.2018 13:12 Print
Austrian dies tragically in Italy
The man was carried away by the snow masses around 150 meters. His two companions survived uninjured, but any rescue came too late for him.



The man was traveling with two other Austrians in the Lombard Alps near Livigno when it came to Monday afternoon to the momentous disaster. At just under 2,400 meters, the touring trio between the Val Nera and Val di Campo, in the Forcola area, was surprised by an avalanche.

While his companions were able to liberate themselves from the snow masses, the Austrian was carried away by the avalanche - only 150 meters below he came to rest in a stream bed. One of the two uninjured ski tourers was able to set the rescue chain in motion shortly after 2 pm by mobile phone.

Carabinieri determine

The victim could still be badly injured and saved completely cold, but it did not help. He died on the mountain. The body was taken by helicopter to Livigno.

Where the trio comes from exactly, the investigating Carabinieri did not want to announce yet. The deceased should be either 58 or 59 years old from various media reports in the region.

According to the police, the three men should have stayed in an area where touring is prohibited. As the APA reports, there was a great avalanche danger at the time of the accident in the Lombardy Alps.


Today:

https://www.stol.it/Artikel/Chronik-im-Ueberblick/Lokal/Lawine-an-der-Koenigsspitze-2-Tote

From Google Translate

Quote:
Avalanche at the Königsspitze: 2 dead
During an avalanche on the southern flank of the Königsspitze in the Ortler area on Thursday, three ski tour operators were spilled. For 2 of the victims, all help came too late.

The avalanche broke off at 10:40 am at the second highest summit in the Ortler Alps. Eyewitnesses who had watched the avalanche from the top of the Sulden summoned the rescue workers.

In action were the mountain rescue and rescue helicopters Pelikan 1 and Aiut Alpin Dolomites, the volunteer fire department of Solda and the emergency counseling and Carabinieri.

Two of the tourers could only be recovered dead, another person was rescued with life-threatening injuries and flown to the hospital of Trento.
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Two dead in the Val d'Aran (central Spanish Pyrenees) yesterday; it seems they were not leisure skiers but rather scientific researchers working for the Catalan regional government. A sad thing to read (right now) at the end an otherwise spectacular day in the Pyrenees today. https://www.nevasport.com/noticias/art/55113/dos-esquiadores-fallecidos-en-un-alud-en-la-vall-daran/ [Spanish]. There were insanely strong winds yesterday after two days of intermittent snowstorm, and many ski resorts in the Pyrenees were entirely closed due to the unfeasibility of opening the higher lifts.
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Don’t jump the lights.
This is an automatic warning system on the road up to Cogne. There’s a 10m+ deep avalanche across the road at this point this year that’s been cleared from the road, you can just. see it in the photo.
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One ski tourer killed not too far from us, though have not toured in that sector - la tête de Vautisse up from Champcella.

Looking at topo map steep climb to the tête - just when you think things are settling down rolling eyes
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Another day, another very experienced ski tourer gone: http://pistehors.com/bauges-avalanche-kills-solo-ski-tourer-25365513.htm

That's 30 fatalities in 20 incidents plus 6 people missing waiting for the spring thaw.
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Spent the morning up at Saanersloch/Zweisimmen. Snow was heavy powder extremely good to ski but......there were plenty of signs of instability. Looked at two sets of tracks down a long 40deg slope, hints of slides but oh what a huge consequence zone they were in. Its easter weekend lets hope everyone reads both weather and avalanche forecasts!
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Swiss are advising caution for the Easter weekend. Especially for anyone on the Haute-Route

https://www.lenouvelliste.ch/articles/valais/canton/risque-d-avalanche-la-police-cantonale-et-la-maison-fxb-du-sauvetage-appellent-a-la-prudence-a-la-veille-de-paques-746903

There has been, and continues to be, quite a lot of fresh snow at altitude. Around 15-20cm at 2000m in the French Northern Alps yesterday and probably some more today / Saturday - up to 30cm locally according to some forecasts. There is a persistent weak layer problem in the border sectors with Italy in the French Northern Alps which can produce some isolated but large avalanches even at the lower end of the risk spectrum, such as the one that caught three experienced skiers last weekend.

Katie Combaluzier, the Dublin based Canadian medical student who survived the recent Chamechaude avalanche (her friend Sven was killed) turned out to be under-insured and is trying to raise money for medical costs and to get home

https://www.youcaring.com/katiecombaluzier-1138118

she's still enjoying the Grenoble sun in the hospital car park



she has to lie flat for at least 45 days following a broken back, it is not certain she will be able to walk or ski, the rescue was via a stretcher as the helicopter couldn't land due to bad weather.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quite a lot of activity here yesterday. The top 15-20cm going in slabs on steep east facing aspects
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Horrible here, 5cm of fresh on a thawing crust..................
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Skied around the Portes du Soleil area the last week. A lot of natural released avalanches, particularly east faces. Difficult conditions and cautions needed on all faces.
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Another day, another avalanche warning, this time for France

Quote:
Still a considerable risk of avalanche in the French alps, something that is unusual for this time of year

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Big avalanche today above Argentiere (Aiguille du Chardonnet) not in an area that would be skied.


http://youtube.com/v/5QuGHY5mr-w

The roaring is hard to capture on an iPhone, but was incredible to witness.

15-20cm fresh last night, slid as the afternoon warmed up, around 4pm.
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3 ski tourers from Spain died in an avalanche in Fiescheralp in Valais on Saturday. 2 people rescued. Due to the upcoming warming in the coming week, the fragile situation will persist.
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From a mate on our WhatsApp group....

Thought I would share our days events.....🤢Strange day and can only say you need to trust you instincts just did not feel comfortable from the moment we woke up! So I have had a bee in my bonnet to ski Le Brenva all season (so too has Fabio) it’s a 60m abseil into a 45 deg couloir skin across the Brenva glacier then ski down under the Peutererey ridge...we have tried several times.... so today again we tried... at top of the skyway it was v windy and clouds rolling in and out so viz was pretty poor. We decided to give it a go hoping the viz would improve so we skied down to the Col du Flambeau and then skinned to the Col de Freshfield hoping that by the time we reached the pass the sky would have cleared as we would need viz to cross the glacier safely, it didn’t so we retraced our tracks. We then planned on skiing the couloir into the Toula, we didn’t as too much wind loaded snow. So we took the punter route down the stairway. Always another time..... had to queue whilst freezing our nads off. Eventually on skis traversed hard right snow strange was over 1m deep in sections then not so deep in others. Half way down on a convex / crest Phil triggered a sizeable slab avalanche on his first turn... he was taken down and at first thought it was ok until I completely lost site off him at which point my camera was replaced with me frantically trying to get my avalanche transceiver out of it’s case. Fortunately he stopped on the surface some 150m from the crown although both his skis had come off. One was approx 50m below and the other who knows. No Heli just a one legged ski back to the pavilion. We had a beer a glass of wine got a spare set of skis and headed up the arp for some safer turns on the Courmayeur side.... Fabio was in discussion with other guides and they all said it was one of the most dangerous days of the season even if it was reported otherwise.... anyway all safe and a gentle reminder of whom is the boss... ps we go skinning tomorrow in Aosta Valley tomorrow it’s far safer 🤢
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The new snow yesterday was not wind affected and felt stable but the layer below obviously not so. Triggered a 20cm slab in this couloir under Mont Gélé late afternoon - suspect because it rarely sees any tracks and other weak layers aren’t broken down
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The Haute-Savoie prefecture has issued an avalanche warning for Tuesday for the department. This follows the death of High Mountain Guide Dr Emmanuel Cauchy in the Aiguilles Rouge this AM.

Quote:
After the tragic accident this morning that cost the life of a seasoned mountaineer, the weather conditions and the heavy snow conditions this early April remind us of the utmost caution in the mountains.

For this Tuesday, April 3, 2018, the snow will quickly become wet to very wet in a mild climate with a foehn wind in the high mountains. The level of avalanche risk is 3 to 4 (marked to strong) at any altitude and on all Massifs: Beware of the triggering of an avalanche by skier or hiker in the wet snow with as aggravating factor the presence of bottlenecks, cliffs, terrain traps. In the high mountain there are fresh snow slabs.

Spontaneous avalanches can occur anywhere, with deposits on plateaux below (to be taken into account for snowshoeing trips.) Also beware of cornices that can crumble or break and cause an avalanche.

The Prefect of Haute-Savoie calls the mountain practitioners, skiers and hikers on skis or snowshoes to the utmost vigilance and recommends not to ski off-piste without consulting mountain professionals and without being equipped, as always, essential equipment (shovel, probe, detector of avalanche victims).

A good knowledge of the sites does not protect the practitioners of the mountain.

The snow is present in enough quantity to enjoy the marked and secured trails.

Do not take risks with your safety and that of the rescuers. Know how to give up. Be responsible


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Tragic news. It sounds like it was on the traverse pitch of the Crochues-Berard.
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A bit more on above

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43620123
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20cm of Fresh snow locally on Thursday in the French Alps. Continued Considerable to High avalanche risk. Watch timings, it is spring today so natural avalanches likely on East, South then West slopes during the course of the day. Another warning from the Haute-Savoie prefecture

Considering the large snowfall through all the mountain ranges of the Haute-Savoie, high temperatures and wind, the avalanche risk is estimated as CONSIDERABLE (3/5) to HIGH (4/5) over all the ranges of the Hautes-Savoie. Avalanches are possible on all slopes even with a small surcharge.

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That's why I'm doing XC today, and maybe even road bike laters.

FL's very high all day yesterday although had some great skiing in the morning was getting heavy Noon onwards.

Did think about touring N facing slopes up from Lautaret but think crust to 2400 though could well be wrong.

And forecast still not good for spring snow stabilisation, unless hopefully they have it wrong for tomorrow, and if so might find some Spring on E/SE/S facing slopes.

This is the prediction for us which takes into account afternoon slides in the sun as things warm up below 2000

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Weathercam wrote:
That's why I'm doing XC today, and maybe even road bike laters.......


Well that was a tad ironic.....

Did the XC this morning and even though I beasted myself temps were steadily rising so I though lets get road bike prepped and go for a ride.

After much faffing (having to charge both batteries for my bluetooth gearing), I left here ay 14:30 and headed up towards the Lautaret - I was about 5km pass Monetier and could see motorbikes and cars on the road with a gendarme and thought it was an accident, but he pulled me over to tell me the road was closed and I said I think I know why, and yes it was Avy Risk with the afternoon sunshine and the loaded ridges above the road.

Few years ago they used the old tunnels because of the risk to the road and with the record snow falls can see them being open on a regular basis now because of the threat from above.

Highest temps of the year so far today 18 degrees in the shade.

Just seen this on Info Route Hautes Alpes so presume it was planned but did not hear see any helis, that said did see a snowplough going up so maybe hels coming in later.

D1091 from Sestrière refuge to Maison Blanche, the road is closed for avalanche release.
Diversion : par la RN 85 et le col Bayard via Gap
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