/ Ecrins drama

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jon on 28 Nov 2012
Let's hope these guys manage to get to safety: http://www.ledauphine.com/hautes-alpes/2012/11/27/dome-des-ecrins-trois-alpinistes-toujours-bloques

Briefly three Italian climbers set off Sunday morning from the Pré de Madame Carle at 02:00 to do the Gabarrou Marsigny route on the Barre des Ecrins. They get to the top at 16:00 but bivouac somewhere near the Dome de Neige. They apparently try to descend via the normal route but later there mobile phones give their position as below the Brèche Lory at 3900m so they must be trying to descend to the Refuge Temple Ecrins. The PGHM have tried three different approaches on ski - the weather is too bad for their helicopters - via the Glacier Noir, Glacier Blanc and from la Bérarde but all have had to turn back due to the huge amount of new snow and avalanche danger. The weather is appalling at the moment, but due to improve a bit from tomorrow. Let's hope they've managed to reach the refuge Temple Ecrins.
Luca Signorelli - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

According on the checks made by the PGHM on last recorded positions of their mobiles, it's likely they've abseiled back to the la Bérarde side. What I've heard is that the last call they made home was done Monday, to tell they were doing the abseils, but they didn't specify their position. Then nothing.

The entire area is avalanche city now. They're very experienced, well equipped and they know the Ecrins well, let's hope they will made out of it.
jon on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

And now I've just read that someone in la Bérarde saw them (or indeed three Italians) on Monday evening. But none of the missing have contacted their relatives... False alarm? http://www.ledauphine.com/isere-sud/2012/11/28/dome-des-ecrins-un-temoin-dit-avoir-vu-trois-alpinist...
Luca Signorelli - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Luca Signorelli)
>
> And now I've just read that someone in la Bérarde saw them (or indeed three Italians) on Monday evening. But none of the missing have contacted their relatives... False alarm? http://www.ledauphine.com/isere-sud/2012/11/28/dome-des-ecrins-un-temoin-dit-avoir-vu-trois-alpinist...

Unfortunately it has established that they were part of a different group and not the missing climbers.

Latest news not good; two helicopters are circling the area since one hour, but no sign of movement anywhere. The weather is improving so the S&R continues.
Luca Signorelli - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

Search called off. Still no sign of the missing climbers.
Simon4 - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Not good to hear that, lets hope they still make it out OK.

Just shows how serious the high alps are this time of year, especially with fresh snow, which is presumably pretty unconsolidated and has no base.
Luca Signorelli - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Simon4:

It's like a nasty rehash of last year Jorasses tragedy, but the difference being that there's a reasonable chance they were back somewhere at the base of the mountain sometime on Monday (one of them phoned home to his dad saying "don't worry, just one more abseil", but failed to specify their position)
Luca Signorelli - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

A large group of friends of the climbers is now in the area trying to organize some additional search effort.
Simon4 - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

> It's like a nasty rehash of last year Jorasses tragedy

Yes, sadly I was thinking of that, but didn't like to mention it.

Luca Signorelli - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

More depressing news. An extensive reconnaissance flight irganized by a group of friends of the missing climbers has failed to discover any trace of the missing climbers all around the Barre des Ecrins. All the huts and bivy huts of the area have been searched too. This afternoon a search dogs team will be used, but hopes to find the three climbers alive are now very tenuous.
cannichoutdoors - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Thanks for the updates as always Luca. I hope for the best, but fear the worst. Realistically, you have to think that had they been hunkered down in a snow hole in the bad weather, they would have come out once the weather improved. Fingers crossed I'm wrong though. Their family and friends must be going through hell not knowing.
jon on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

No, sadly it's not looking good is it. Let's just hope.
Luca Signorelli - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to jon:

yesterday afternoon search didn't give any hint of the three climbers fate. As there are no evident/huge avalanche cones at the base of the mountain, and as examination of the huts and the evident bivy spots show no signs of them, the search will be now extended on a wider area.
Luca Signorelli - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to jon:
Search called off until further notice.
Erstwhile on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

I met Francesco and Luca in February on an icefall. We had kept in touch and were planning to meet up again this winter. That looks unlikely now ...
All thoughts for their families at this point.
Luca Signorelli - on 08 Dec 2012
In reply to jon:

It's probably a bit futile to remark this now, but search for the three missing climbers have been concluded. The local PGHM and civil protection will continue routine checks of the area to see if any trace of their eventual fate may be found.

Very sad story, particularly because it may take a long time for the families to get some sense of closure.
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Simon4 - on 08 Dec 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Sorry but not surprised to hear that Luca.

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