Two Dead After Avalanche In The Couloir Des Poubelles On The Pic Du Midi Bigorre In Haute Pyrenees of France
Pic du Midi Bigorre, France – On Sunday, April 17, 2016, three climbers left at 4 AM to climb the Couloir Des Poubelles, or the northeast couloir, on the Pic du Midi Bigorre in the Hautes Pyrenees of France. Approximately 500 meters up the 1000 meter route, an avalanche was triggered that caught all three climbers.
All three were caught and buried. One was partially buried and was able to report the accident to the authorities at 8:35. Authorities responded despite the poor visibility. The weather was reported as foggy with strong winds. The Haute Pyrenees avalanche forecast reported an avalanche risk of 3 above 2200 meters.
Suffering from mild hypothermia, the injured party was airlifted by helicopter and evacuated to seek medical attention. The other two were found dead and subsequently airlifted off of the mountain.
The climbers were all experienced in the mountains and were equipped with crampons and ice axes. All three were from Tarn and were members of the French Alpine Club from Mazamet. It is unclear whether the trio were climbers or if they also planned to ski the line. According to FranceTVInfo.fr, they were climbing the Couloir Des Poubelles to ski.
According to Alpinisme.com, the Couloir des Poubelles or the NE couloir on the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2872m) is a 1000 meter couloir that ranges from 40-50 degrees. Alpinisme has a photo of the line. Poubelle translates to Trash Can in English.
We will try to update this post as more information becomes available about the Pic du Midi Bigorre avalanche.