5 Climbers Still Missing 48 Hours After Alpine Glacier Slides

Italian media reported on Tuesday that eight people who were missing after the deadly collapse of the Marmolada iceberg, a mountainous wetland in Europe’s Dolomites, have been found.

But according to a Reuters report 2 hours back, now, the number of missing people has come down to 5 as more people were found by the rescue team.

5 Climbers Still Missing 48 Hours After Alpine Glacier Slides

At least seven people were found dead in the avalanche on Sunday at the Marmolada, which at more than 3,300 meters, is the highest peak in Italy’s Dolomites, a mountain range lying along the eastern Italian Alps running the regions of Trento and Veneto.

“At arrival, we encountered a disaster, we realized that the size of the avalanche was enormous. We found injured people who needed help and dead people”, said Stefano Coter, head of the Alpine Rescue Team and one of the first people to reach the location.

Much of northern Italy has been baking in an early-summer heat wave making earlier stable glaciers even more difficult to forecast.

Italy has been encountering an unusually high wave of rainstorms and higher-than-average temperatures in mid-June.

Despite the drought in southern France, a last-minute burst of water has been causing devastation in the Valena Valley, which was believed to have been essentially 100% dormant.

Sunday, at an altitude of about 3,330 feet, an enormous glacier crumbled in the Dolomite Mountain range, resulting in six deaths.

“In this summer of 2022 the risk of an avalanche will probably dramatically increase in the mountains,” said Italian glaciologist Giovanni Baccolo, noting a lack in the winter snow falling and a ferociously heat strike to summer.

“No one could have expected a glacier-like the Marmolada to act like this,” he concluded to Reuters. “It is a type of weather fossil, glaciers like the Marmolada are said to have been “placid,” so they are expected to rebuild.”

Temperatures on the deserted Marmolada reached 10 degrees Celsius on Saturday, a running regional governor Luca Zaia said.

The Alpine rescue unit said that a huge quantity of ice collapsed close to Punta Rocca, along the usual trail used by hiking and climbing enthusiasts to gain the summit.

“High elevation glaciers such as the Marmolada are often steep and depend on cold temperatures below zero degrees Celsius to preserve them,” said Poul Christoffersen, a professor at Cambridge University in Glaciology.

A large part of the mountainous region collapsed in the Italian Alps after a part of the mountain glacier, located at Marmolada Ridge, collapsed. July 5, 2022, was the date of the first drone-assisted search effort. As per Guglielmo Mangiapane from REUTERS

5 Climbers Still Missing 48 Hours After Alpine Glacier Slides

Efforts to find survivors were conducted with helicopters and drones. Human remains were found, and climbing items were discovered based on signals at nearly three or four locations on Tuesday.

Anticipating a death toll of 13, authorities discovered five additional missing drunk drivers by the end of the day. Five people that have been believed to be missing have been located.

An Italian who was believed to be unaccounted for had previously been receiving treatment for his injuries, in a hospital in Treviso town, near Venice, since the disaster on Sunday.

People living nearby claimed they were afraid of staying in the safety the community had established.

“Right now, after what happened, I feel all the more scared since we were about to walk a little nearer to the glacier two days ago. Thanks to what happened, it could have been us,” said Mikael Bouchard from Lyon, 29.

“We were going to meet the glacier, but now we’ll do another way (route) to avoid it. So yeah, I really want to protect it”, added Bouchard, walking down the mountain.

Rescue teams remained active on Tuesday, searching for 13 climbers who were still missing for almost 24 hours, 21 of whom were reportedly rescued from the glacier.

Oscar Wong, who lives in Seattle, said he would continue his journey but attempt to be mindful of the dangers. “Yes, I see there are dangers, and I do that when I’m planning our route,” the 28-year-old said.

A massive chunk of ice collapsed near Punta Rocca, which hikers had used, and climbers as they found it to be a route to the summit, said the Alpine rescue team.

The Marmolada was reported to have experienced temperatures in the ten Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) range over the weekend. Scientists said that this was making the glacial landscape even more unstable.

“I have never heard of this happening during the summer of July, especially in the Patagonia region,” added Wong.

Afzall Rahman

Afzall Rahman is a college teacher by profession and is a rock-climbing enthusiast from his early childhood. So, anything on climbing keeps him glued to for hours - be it a movie on or related to climbing, book on or by climbers, article or podcast on climbing destinations, skills, gears, or the likes.

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