Four more deaths in the French Alps

© AndrewJenkins
Two 21-year old British climbers, James Atkinson and Rob Gauntlett, were killed this weekend in the Mont Blanc Massif, and many tributes are being paid to Gauntlett, who in 2006 and shortly after his 19th birthday became the youngest Briton to climb Everest.

Although details are not yet confirmed, it appears the two were attempting the classic Gervasutti Couloir (800m and D- by the usual finish) on the East Face of Mont Blanc du Tacul above the Vallée Blanche.

The second accident at the weekend occurred in the Fer a Cheval above Sixt, on the legendary and seldom completed La Lyre, a 500m icefall climbed at the end of December by Nick Bullock and Tim Emmett.

Full details in the report by Lindsay Griffin on the BMC Website

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11 Jan, 2009
11 Jan, 2009
would you care to explain this comment?
11 Jan, 2009
Apparently they were killed by an avalanche. Quite often valley ice climbs lead up steep cliffs with large less steep areas above... the best ice falls being formed when these upper slopes collect water (and snow) like funnels... which is why it is extremely important to be aware of the dangers in times of thaw and after fresh snow... as you say, it can be dangerous to say the least. In this case it seems two local guides, responsible for many new routes and, one would presume, well up on these sorts of considerations, were killed just before also by avalanche, so it's not a simple problem.
11 Jan, 2009
Had the other guy been named yet?
11 Jan, 2009
No the news reports are confusing. I believe they were killed on the gervassutti couloir. Specifics unknown so far, but there is no avalanche evidence.
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