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Avalanche On Mont Blanc Sweeps Away 10 Climbers
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socialclimber


Aug 22, 2006, 7:52 PM
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Avalanche On Mont Blanc Sweeps Away 10 Climbers
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French site Pistehors.com reports on a fatal avalanche on Mont Blanc.


notch


Aug 23, 2006, 8:35 AM
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How can a guide take ten people up and not provide a single one of them with an avy beacon? Did I just read correctly that this is common practice?


climbindrummer


Aug 23, 2006, 8:50 AM
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I can't imagine climbing ANYTHING that has any av potential without a beacon; whether provided by the guide service or not.

I'm also not sure I read that section correctly. "This is normal for climbing groups." seems to imply that not wearing a beacon is normal, but since the translation was provided by Google, it may not be contextually correct. If, in fact, guided climbs normally do not climb with beacons then I guess I won't be climbing the alps anytime soon...


alpinismo_flujo


Aug 23, 2006, 9:07 AM
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Sad indeed - I was there last summer and an avalanche occurred in about the same place the afternoon before I was to climb. One climber was rescued and one did not make it. Afternoon temps had loosened the seracs above.

Looking out from the Cosmique Hut at the debris was a little unnerving, but that shit happens in the mountains..the Alps are great and I look forward to going back soon.


*Avalanche beacons are not the norm in Chamonix for Mont Blanc.


alpine_chris


Aug 23, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Having a better command of french then of English and knowing the area quite well, i assume that there is a misunderstanding. It is quite common practice to take avalanche beacons on spring ascents of the Mont Blanc (ski touring).

However, it is common practice not to take a beacon along in august. which is an acceptable decision under normal weather circumstances. however, this august brought loads of snow above 2500 m. And many times, there was additionally a strong wind blowing too.


socialclimber


Aug 23, 2006, 5:07 PM
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I am also wondering if something was lost in the translation. Unfortunatly I could not find a report in English that was more detailed than the French translated one.


stevematthys


Aug 23, 2006, 6:42 PM
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In reply to:
I can't imagine climbing ANYTHING that has any av potential without a beacon; whether provided by the guide service or not.

you obviously got money, us poorer climbers will keep on climbing mountains without beacons


franko


Aug 26, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Experienced Mountain Rescue folks refer to av beacons as "corpse finders"


adnix


Aug 27, 2006, 12:18 PM
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In reply to:
How can a guide take ten people up and not provide a single one of them with an avy beacon? Did I just read correctly that this is common practice?
I haven't heard of any climber carrying beacon for summer mountaineering in Chamonix. It's very common practise.

If something like the north face of Tacul falls down on you, I would buy lottery tickets if I got got rescued for having a beacon. It's very good luck since the debris will be several meters deep. The wall has huge amount of snow and the seracs are very impressive.


allarounder


Aug 27, 2006, 1:28 PM
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In reply to:
I can't imagine climbing ANYTHING that has any av potential without a beacon; whether provided by the guide service or not.

I'm also not sure I read that section correctly. "This is normal for climbing groups." seems to imply that not wearing a beacon is normal, but since the translation was provided by Google, it may not be contextually correct. If, in fact, guided climbs normally do not climb with beacons then I guess I won't be climbing the alps anytime soon...

Like the others said or implied, the most an avy beacon would do in the alps would do is help them find yer body faster. Summer in the alps is generally time for rock and ice fall. A beacon ain't gonna keep ya from getting squished.

Guess I won't see ya in Cham next year, eh?


johnhemlock


Aug 27, 2006, 4:19 PM
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Not to reopen old debates but I have never seen anyone climb alpine routes in the Alps with a beacon. The last 100 routes of note done in the Alps were certainly done sans beacon.

Don't get me wrong, I wear a beacon when ski touring in the Alps, even though I think their primary value is keeping your next of kin from having to wait for spring runoff to file the insurance claim. I certainly encounter plenty of highly skilled and grizzled Euros who don't own one, and having a beacon is way down the list below experience and snow sense on my list of 10 essentials. The beacon / shovel / probe concept is much more prevalant here than in Europe, where snow danger is treated more matter-of-factly.

The Mont Blanc massif can crank up the nasty in a hurry. 10 mountaineers climbing in a group on a 40 degree snow slope need more than beacons!


adnix


Aug 28, 2006, 3:30 AM
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In reply to:
I certainly encounter plenty of highly skilled and grizzled Euros who don't own one, and having a beacon is way down the list below experience and snow sense on my list of 10 essentials.

The Mont Blanc massif can crank up the nasty in a hurry. 10 mountaineers climbing in a group on a 40 degree snow slope need more than beacons!
I think there will be a massive accident on Mont Blanc Massif some day. If you've seen the light worm travel on Tacul slope at 2am and consider serac falling... Well... it won't be pretty.

My partner launched a wide windslab in Chamonix two weeks ago. We saw the slab and we knew there was cornice. He stepped 20cm too much right, the cornice gave up and he ended up hanging from his hands. I laughed at his misery and took a picture. We were above the slab so it was more of being scared than a real threat. He was following my footsteps. :D

We were kind of crash test dummies since there was new snow till hips, we were breaking the trail and all the guides stopped once we stopped for some coffee. Although the avy danger was real a beacon would have been of no help during the climb. It helps more if you know where not to step.


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