What this Survivor tells takes bad action film. A variant of the hackneyed dynamite stick scene, with its Wick rising, rising... But in his account, the fuse, it is cold. Rising like a venom in his prisoner arm of snow. His entire body, moulded in a position of contortionist. Cold climbs in the veins. He intends to colleagues trying to release it, digging with their skis. Not enough soon, when threatening the final implosion of death by hypothermia...
This man who conte me its avalanche is called Jean-Claude N. He knows the issue: for eight years, it was dog in the mountains. It is more: too much grief when his dog died life expectancy decline when a dog is working. The rest, in eight years of service, the brave beast did will be saved that one life, paradoxically while she had to be amputated a leg! The happy beneficiary was the trainer of the nearby village Jean-Claude is his client, since. Another handler presents the clocks at the time: "mine has never saved anyone, but it identified the dead..." That's already! "Is the exploits of the Barry Bernard that, around 1900, brought relief to 40 people making stab by the 41st, which took him to a wolf. But canine heroism is relative: "you know, dog avalanche, is the same training, but it is easier than rubble dog: in an earthquake, there is always a fridge opened to divert the animal of its duty.".
The discussion takes place in a farm-hostel Val of Allos, a station of the Alpes, mounted on the villages of La Foux and the Seignus. I thought lunch with some nerds, I realize that I soup with survivors. Yes, all have experienced it: the weight that you hit by behind. The noise. The loss of the top and bottom. The ice in the nostrils. In the eardrums. Unthinkable pressure that pushes your eyes towards the Interior of the skull. And the irresistible vortex that takes you to the bottom, against which we must swim, do not cease to swim, to silence, to the final freeze. "Eh, you also you have felt it aspiration." And your neighbor table you assign in a skeptical face: "When the ice cube in the mouth, it is damn." "Me, I had, the ice cube", shouts a survivor, less to say that he has escaped this plug freeze you the lungs to a powerful superstition. But even without the ice, this is the Countdown: 15 minutes to be pulled from there. After that, it is that you have the chance to fall into a pocket of air. Now wealthy skiers and boarders have their laptop tag that emits a signal, the Arva. It works... when it does not forget batteries, as it happened year last a young Prince of the off-piste.
Just a small cup...
Charly Grac never talks about his avalanche. Those who were with him y remained. In their name, perhaps, this tracker continues to fight the monster protean and sneaky. Upstream, so to speak. Making all jump before the opening of the slopes. It is one of the specialties, Tracker-artificer. Charly is their Dean. For the Alps.
At a time where it cannot practise the slightest odd without "passion", CRM is rather discreet, as his baldness carefully hidden under his indévissable Cap. Sitting across from me on this télébenne which discharges its fluo skiers, Charly means me small black cables, a kind of tire-fesses for Doll following ridges: "Now, it is with that that it brings loads to the right place." Before, needed to mount seal skin, with 38 kg of explosives. "Charly Frays methods: catex, level, electric detonator, and the time when it launches its sticks Wick slow way Sergio Leone. The impression of listening to the veteran of a commando... But to become a bomb, the die is different: it must be a degree working in a career. "Once it is known to blow up the rock, it knows all jump." In the matter, CRM is no novice. Summer, stored skis and poles disassembled, it is stonemason.
It opened its emergency musette inseparable since my dinamitero of the mountain pastures is also first aid. "But y' has nothing about it." With all these trials, can even give the arnica to a type which is trampled the ankle. "In the event of fracture, is only down the slopes to the wounded, in a sarcophagus sled to the tones of lifejacket. Precisely here the spacecraft, in the position of relief of altitude. At 1,800 m, the bright sun has given way to a nasty bise, sand glass of its icy crystals. Warm smell of stove and strong coffee. The furniture is summary. Just this kind of infirmary that existed in Verdun. The young guard Tracker welcomes us. "There's patent of activities-weather", says my Orchestra man, who probably had the form...
The disciple has long tubes in stainless steel, that screw to the other. It is a bit, "to make the cut" consider the stratification of the snow overlooking the slopes. Because the danger is less accumulation than to lack of adhesion between layers. This is the true cause of avalanches, sometimes causing multiple fractures, sometimes of powder, the more unpredictable, and blocks that you choke as a boa. On the table of schoolboy where dragging a plastic cup, radio crachote. "Y'a three types which... crroui!" croui! "And the word grave, chilling... ".. .a dead... croui!" croui! "Charly did not react. Just an imperceptible pause in its explanations. It is in another station. Avalanche I have not dared to ask.
"A small cup. It takes just two hours. "I declined the invitation of Charly: a core Full wind I conveniently have appointments in the Valley. In a plant in snow.
Pig among wolves
Charly, should I confess: when had spoken me of a plant to snow, I imagined a kind of cooler, with its noria of dump trucks spilling the white gold from the top of the tracks. I'm ashamed now of my naivety, because the plant is a kind of pumping in the air of bunker station, now drowned in the night snow, the open door to light as an advent calendar. Senior posts in leave, connected by tubes, like sprinklers to corn. They éructent a grey and thick mist: artificial snow. Inside, Duralumin guns are arranged with the ostentatious care of an arsenal. The air compressor, pump for water: the noise is deafening. Like on a cruise ship, the circuits are painted to distinguish between them. Here begins the "world of the night" station, the real. Standing in front of a PC screen, a technician to the tunes of DJ demonstrated. The cold and pressure have been cleverly calculated, function of the temperature and the humidity rate. Then, the kilometres of pipes pulsate water to the cracheuses heads, to transfer her flakes.
By road where cracking ice, we climb towards other ways. A small HQ with its iron staircase. Five snow groomers are waiting on their caterpillars, scolding muted, behind their hydraulic blade shape tracks. They turn all night, with two teams. I ride on the larger, with a coiled cable. It is the monster in rappelling, hanging from a hook, the only way to overcome too steep trails. Further, it is the time where it damait with the skis! Building on the rubber Caterpillar, I climbs in the cabin, welcomed by a Marseille accent. The cabin is heated. My guys also: "were dubbed me goofy." What is goofy mine to ignore, is not his nickname, but that others give to a differential machine: the pig. Reflection, it is true that it has a pig head, with its huge winch. But it is better to say nothing.
The dashboard is reminiscent of a bomber. Acute ringtones. The whooshing of radio and the hydraulic system. Aft, a gigantic milling leaves on the ground the same ridges on a whale belly. We are making progress in blowing snow and halos of red light of the other snow Groomers. One rotates his projector, so powerful that it illuminates the Bell Tower of La Foux, below. Dingo dock. The snow is too loose. Indifferent, other devices continue to climb the slope, to disappear. We are only waiting for the onboard computer to provide ideas in place. In his cabin hydrated, intimate, Dingo speaks to me of the footprints of birds, Fox: "it is very curious, a Fox: when you return, you surprise inspecting the work an hour earlier." He hesitates. He arrived either wolves who have crossed before him. I thought not hear. "Bah Yes! The Mercantour Park is next to... "Intermittent show that person details, the Marseillais loves what it does. It has also been perchman, and pizza, as so many mercenaries from the snow. Sure that it is the best, since he pilot the most powerful groomer. And modest: "Normal, when I started, there was only one train."