Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 4, 2013 - 08:09am PT
Copied from UKC. Sounds Rough.
Two stranded climbers have died on the Lagarde Couloir on the North Face of the Droites, Chamonix.
The climbers, reportedly Lithuanian, had been stuck on the route in poor weather since last Wednesday, staying 150m from the summit to shelter from the high winds.
The climbers, who had dug a snow hole, had been in touch with the rescue services in Chamonix via mobile phone, but the rescuers was unable to reach them due to poor weather and high winds.
One of the climbers reported that his partner had died on Friday.
A brief lull in the weather on Sunday allowed a helicopter to pass near to the route and the rescue team sighted the second climber outside of the snow hole and hanging on a rope. They were unable to reach the couloir but were convinced that both climbers had passed away.
The rescue services will attempt to retrieve the bodies when the weather clears.
North Face of the Droites.
Lagarde Couloir is the large right slanting feature on the left.
Two Lithuanian climbers are now confirmed dead after remaining stuck at the top of the Lagarde Couloir on the NE face of Les Droites in Chamonix. The two man team had been pinned down approximately 150m beneath the summit (at the base of the mixed difficulties) in the relative shelter of the couloir since Wednesday, but with winds reaching 120kmph and temperatures of below -20 degrees and near constant snow fall it was impossible to reach them. At 6am on Friday morning the PGHM in Chamonix received a text saying that the other climber had succumb to the cold and by Saturday the last climber had run out of gas which he was using to keep himself warm. Texting that Saturday at 15.30 that he had dug a snow hole and, apart from running out of gas, was doing well, it was not until yesterday (Sunday) that the clouds cleared enough for the PGHM to fly a helicopter near to the couloir. Unfortunately the visual sighting of the last climber confirmed that he had left the show hole and had somehow fallen, hanging from the end of the rope. They are unsure of what exactly happened and are waiting for the current weather system to settle down before retrieving the bodies from the couloir.
Having lost someone I love, my heart goes out to these climbers loved ones, family and friends. The pain of losing your loved one is intense and takes time to process. You all will be on my heart and in my prayers.
If I can say one thing......though they died so young, they passed into the heavenlies doing something they loved and were committed to. Too many spend so many empty hours on this planet.