A new study carried out by the EDYTEM – ISTerre laboratories, supported by the Petzl Foundation, has been conducted to better understand how rockfalls occur in the Goûter couloir, on the normal route up Mont Blanc. The study provides valuable information for mountaineers.

In particular the study analyses:

Which periods are the most dangerous for mountaineers?
What is the ideal time of day to cross the couloir and climb the Goûter ridge?

As indicated in the short film to promote the latest research: the timeframe 09:00 and 10:00 has been identified as the best window to cross the coulour; in critical hours rock falls were calculated every 24 minutes, with a maximum frequency between 18:00 and 20:00. Rock falls are more frequent when snow melts in the couloir or after rainfall.

The subject of the relationship between climate change and safety in the mountains is of critical importance to the UIAA and is being addressed in cross-collaboration between the federation’s Mountain Protection (MP), Mountaineering and Safety Commissions. It will also be tackled in the revised UIAA Sustainability Guidelines. As Dr Carolina Adler, MPC President, explains: “Mountains are by their very nature highly dynamic environments and this is part of the inherent risk management that mountaineers need to consider in the pursuit of their activities in the mountains. Nevertheless, there are additional factors and drivers to these changes, such as the effects of climate change, that are accelerating, enhancing and/or changing the nature of these risks. Therefore, the timely analyses and recommendations made in the report warrant attention.”

The latest study – by Jacques Mourey – can be downloaded here.

Rewatch the videoconference held on 6 July 2020 (French)

Further assets can be found here.