Outdoors

Global warming new factor in mountaineering safety

Mont Blanc, highest peak in western Europe, is shown in this photo snaped from Chamonix, France, just days before a June 12, 2012 avalanche killed 13 mountaineers on the mountain. (Rich Landers)
Mont Blanc, highest peak in western Europe, is shown in this photo snaped from Chamonix, France, just days before a June 12, 2012 avalanche killed 13 mountaineers on the mountain. (Rich Landers)

MOUNTAINEERING — Safely below the snowline, I was hiking in the Alps near Chamonix, France, last week when 9 climbers were killed by an avalanche on Mont Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe.  It was particularly eery for me and my family, since we had just shared a train ride with a South Africa couple who had just climbed the peak — and we had shared breakfast on a previous day with a man who was headed up to climb.

The tragedy in bringing international attention to what appear to be increasing danger and unpredictibility in snow-country climbing and backcountry skiing. 

Following the tragedy in the Alps as well as another on Mount McKinley, the New York Times has published this report citing veteran climbers pointing out that today’s conditions are combining to create a volatile highball of risk.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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