Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Avalanches Claim The Lives of Adventurers in South America

There was more sad news from the mountains yesterday, when it was revealed that freeskiers JP Auclair and Andreas Fransson were killed in an avalanche in Chile, while climber Liz Daley was caught in a separate avalanche on the Fitz Roy Massif in Argentina, and lost her life too.

Auclair and Fransson were skiing Mount San Lorenzo, a 12,159-foot (3706 meter) peak that falls along the border of Chile and Argentina in the Patagonia region, on Monday when they were caught up in the avalanche that claimed their lives. The two men, both well known in the freeskiing community, were there to make a ski film of their adventure. Outside reports that their deaths were confirmed yesterday when a helicopter flew over the mountain searching for them, but spotted their bodies high on the mountain instead.

Not long after the news of the passing of Auclair and Fransson, reports of Daley's accident surfaced as well. She was a professional climber and snowboarder sponsored by Eddie Bauer, who was in Argentina as part of a production crew shooting a snowboarding/skiing film as well. Liz was part of a team descending from Cerro Vespignani, a 7000-foot (2133 meter) peak that is found near Fitz Roy. The avalanche struck the team, but all other members of the group survived with minor injuries.

It has been a rough week in the mountains to say the least. The news of these deaths due to avalanche follows the loss of Sebastian Haag and Andrea Zambaldi on Shishapangma last week. These three separate incidences are a good reminder of just how dangerous our outdoor pursuits can be at times. It is sad to see so many talented and young adventurers lose their lives in such a short period of time.

My condolences go out to the friends and family of those who were killed in these tragic accidents.

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