Agence France-Presse report that two employees of CERN, the lab famous for its particle accelerator and for Berners-Lee’s invention of the worldwide web, died in an avalanche over the weekend.
A 49 year old Frenchman and his 33 year old Swiss colleague were swept away at the 3000m Pointes de Tsavolire in Valais. They were amnongst five members of CERN’s ski club who set off from Eison in Val d’Herens. The area they were skiing is shown in the picture above, which I took when I was skiing in the valley a couple of weeks ago.
The two men were members of CERN’s ski club and were among five skiers who set off cross country Sunday from the village of Eison for the Pointes de Tsavolire.
This is a popular and relatively easy itinerary, just the other side of the Bec de Boisson from Grimentz. It is possible to make the ascent on skins and make the run back in a day, and there is a hut at the top for those who want to make a longer trip of it, but it sounds like this party set off Sunday morning for just a day’s outing.
It just goes to show how dangerous the late snow from a couple of weeks ago has made late season touring. The dry avalanche risk is very low, but by lunchtime the risk of wet, full-depth avalanches across Valais has been rated considerable for some days. Wet avalanches occur where snow has frozen overnight but starts to get heavy and wet as the temperatures rise and the sun starts to hit it.
Apparently two members of the party were dug out by a fifth, but the other two remained buried until rescue workers arrived and dug them out of three metres of snow.