Avalanche Kills Ski Tourer Near Galmilicke In Valais, Switzerland
Galmilicke, Switzerland – At approximately 11:30 AM on Sunday, April 17, 2016 an avalanche caught three ski tourers – killing one and injuring two. The accident occurred in the Vallee de Conches near Galmilicke at the end of Fieschertal in the district of Goms in the canton of Valais, Switzerland.
On Saturday a group of six ski tourers left the Jungfraujoch en route to Munster. They spent Saturday night in a hut. On Sunday, an avalanche caught three members of the party. One 55-year-old from Bern was completely buried and killed in the avalanche. Two others were injured. According to Polizeinews.ch, one of the two injured is a German mountain guide from the canton of Bern.
Authorities were notified, but rescue was made difficult due to fog. Fourteen rescuers made a six hour approach on foot because helicopters could were unable to fly. Rescuers took three members of the party to the Oberaarjoch hut, about an hour away, for the night. Other rescuers stayed the night at the accident site with the injured parties in a snow cave/igloo.
On Monday morning two helicopters from Air Zermatt were finally able to reach the accident site. The injured were airlifted to Visp for medical attention.
The avalanche is reported as a size 2 slab avalanche that occurred at 3315 meters on a NW aspect. Based on the pinpoint map location on SLF.ch, the avalanche occurred near the Galmihorn at 46.5128 ° N / 8.1843 ° E. The avalanche danger rating at the time was 2/3.
Switzerland has recorded 16 avalanche fatalities during the 2015/2016 hydrological year (October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016). Twelve have been backcountry fatalities and four off piste fatalities.
Also on Sunday, April 17, 2016:
- A woman died after a crevasse fall on the Grenz Glacier near Zermatt.
- Two climbers were killed in an avalanche while ascending the Couloir des Poubelles on the Pic Du Midi Bigorre in the French Pyrenees.
Pin location is approximate location.