A Tignes firefighter and former pisteur has been killed in an avalanche in Sainte Foy Tarentaise. Reports say 37-year-old Gregory Mistral, also a well-known mountain photographer, had just opened a new climbing route on the Pointe des Mines, in the Vallon du Clou, with a partner when the accident happened on Saturday.
Pistehors.com writes: “At around 18h00 he and his climbing partner were returning on skis when he was taken 400 meters by an avalanche over cliffs. Unable to get a phone or radio signal his climbing partner had to ski to the the trail head at Monal in order to alert the rescue services.” Le Dauphine reports Mr Mistral was swept over a 400-metre drop. The regional firefighters’ authority, changed the profile picture on their Facebook ‘Sapeurs-pompiers de la Savoie‘ page to their crest with a black band through it, to mark the death of their colleague. They posted: “We sadly inform you of the death last night of a colleague professional firefighter in tignes, during a private outing in the mountains. We are thinking of his family, his colleagues in the rescue center and his many friends.”
Earlier this month three instructors that worked in Les Arcs were killed in an avalanche in Bonneval-sur-Arc. Among them was Simon Paris, 40, a mountain guide, who lived in Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The other two killed were a couple – François Bellet, an instructor for ESF Arc 2000, and Émilie Faivre, an instructor for UCPA des Arcs that lived in Seez, aged 40 and 33.
Reports stated that the small group were hiking up towards the Col du Greffier in the Haute-Maurienne, not far from the Italian border at the time.
They had all the correct avalanche safety gear and were all wearing crampons. They had skis on their backpacks ready to make a descent in the couloir, when the avalanche hit.
The Tignes community was hit hard by an avalanche during this season, which killed four people including ESF instructor Laurent Ruiz.
Ski tourers and hikers hoping to take advantage of some post-season powder are being warned to take extra care.
Here’s some advice from Snoworks, if you’re planning an off piste trip.
And here’s some info on the new avalanche safety bulletins.