Four Experienced Mountaineers Caught In 500-Meter Avalanche In South Tyrol, Italy
Hochferner, South Tyrol, Italy – On Saturday, October 22, 2016 four experienced alpinists were caught in a large avalanche in the Hochfeiler area in the Zillertal Alps in South Tyrol, Italy near the Italian/Austrian border. Stol.it reports that the avalanche occurred on the north wall of the Hochfernerspitze in Pfitschtal.
Authorities were notified on Saturday night around 23:30. Early on Sunday two of the climbers were found at the base of the north face and are confirmed dead. Two others are still missing. Rescuers consist of mountain rescue, police, Swiss Rega helicopters, and search dogs.
All four of the climbers were from Renon, Italy. The two avalanche victims have been identified as Thomas Mon, 41, and Peter Vigl, 44. Ulrich Seebacher, 41, and Andreas Zoeggeler, 41 are still missing. At this point, rescuers are not optimistic that they will find the missing climbers alive.
Most sources report that the avalanche occurred at 3300 meters, but reports vary. Stol.it reports that the avalanche was about 30 meters in width and 500 meters long. Earlier in the week 30 to 40 cm of snow had fallen in the area (Corriere.it).
The Hochfernerspitze (3464 meters) is located in the Zillertal Alps to the northwest of Hochfeiler – Gran Pilastro. Some reports do say the climbers were attempting to climb the Gran Pilastro.
Another avalanche incident this weekend caught four mountaineers on Mount Cristallo in Italy. They were all lucky to survive with only 1 injury. Read more about that incident here. Last week there was another early season avalanche in the Zillertal Alps that killed a ski tourer. Read more about that incident here.
We will do our best to update this post as more information becomes available. We apologize for any errors in this post as Google Translate was used to translate German and Italian.