British snowboarder dies in Chamonix fall

20th May 2013, by Abi Butcher

The Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. Photo: Chaminet

The Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. Photo: Chaminet

A British snowboarder has died after falling 1,000m down the north face of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. It is understood he was trying to ski the Vallée Blanche with another man but had turned for home due to bad weather.

Reports say the pair had set off with touring skis and snowboard yesterday but driving winds of up to 100km and heavy snow forced them to turn around.

The British man, who has not yet been named, is understood to have been blown off the ridge at Aiguille du Midi Arete and fallen around 1,000m at 9pm on Saturday night. His body was found by rescuers on Sunday morning.

Captain Patrice Ribes of the Chamonix mountain rescue team said the pair left their skis on the mountain and started to climb back to the Aiguille du Midi cable car as the weather closed in.

“He would have been exhausted from the climb. The winds were very high and the visibility, poor,” said Captain Ribes. “We do not know exactly how he fell. We have not found his body.”

The second man managed to reach the cable car and alert authorities.

With snow across the Alps this weekend, conditions on the Aiguille du Midi were reported to be particularly bad, with a strong blizzard blowing in from the Vallée Blanche side and temperatures down to -16C.

The season officially finished in Chamonix when the Grands Montets closed on 12 May. With more than 11m of accumulated snowfall at 1,500m at the beginning of May, ski tourers are expected to continue to make the most of the conditions well into next month.

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