On July 12 an avalanche went through a team of climbers on Mont Blanc in the French Alps, killing nine and leaving eleven injured. In the wake of the tragedy, Jean-Louis Verdier, mayor of Chamonix, the nearby French town from which the climbers departed, told reporters that there was no reason to suspect the conditions were bad for climbing.
“It’s a steep mountain face. There are big plates of snow we know of where an avalanche can easily occur. But this morning we had no reason to expect an avalanche of this size and such a tragedy,” he said.
But the avalanche on Mont Blanc is part of a new trend that the mountaineering community is beginning to notice: 2012 has been a year of notoriously poor conditions on the mountain tops.
The New York Times recently published an article by Kirk Johnson postulating that melting high-mountain glaciers, warming temperatures, and more people seeking adventure are mixing for a volatile and deadly year on the mountains.
“Scientists, mountaineers and parks managers say it is a pincerlike motion of forces: more people seeking adventure even as the risks involved are becoming more variable,” Kirk wrote.
The article goes on to chronicle some of the year’s freak disasters, which include deadly avalanches and storms on mountains all over the globe.
Check the article out here.