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EXTRAORDINARY ALPINE ACCIDENTS.

Details of the fall of a mountain at Saint Foy, in the department of Saboie, France, have just come to hand. The mountain overhangs that commune, which forms part of the canton of JBourg Saint Maurice, in the arroudissement of Montieas. Some days ago the first indication of the etate of the mountain were observed by the inhabitants of the district, but before they had time to retreat the first crush took place, destroying several hillside hamlets. For a considerable distance around, in the portion of land devoted to agriculture, produce has been damaged beyond recovery. The internal agitation of the mountain still continues. After the first disastrous movement of earth a series pf landslips took place, totally burying several other small villages. By this time the number of hamlets which have disappeared in ruins is about ten, and the rumbling noise with with each additional fall is accompanied is still beard at a distance pt eight miles. So far as is known, all the inhabitants have been able to escape with their lives, but the loss of property is enormous. M. Henri Cordier, well known to English monntajneers as a prominent member of the French Alpine Club, has met with a terrible fate on one of the glaciers at the base of Mont Pelvoux, in Dauphine, M. Cordier was a cragsman of no mean order, and some of bis expeditions of last year were made in conjunction with members of the English Alpine Club, and have recently been described in the organ of that body: It was M. Cordier's special ambition to attain the summit of the Meije, which is almost the only Alpine peak of first-rate eminence, beside the Aiguille dv Dru, that still remains unconquered, and having failed in his attempt of last year, he betook himself at the beginning of June to the village of La Berarde, which is generally the starting point for excursions in the range of Mont Pelvoux, One of his guides was the wellknown Jakob Anderegg; the other is called "Mauer" in the account which was received, but was probably the Andreas Maurer who took part in the Aiguille Verte expedition, and who is reputed to be also a thoroughly competent man. They successfully made the great ascent of the Plaret, which appears to be one of the minor peaks in the Pelvoux range. They had safely descended to the lower glacier, and had just been lunching among the rocks at the side. The rope had been cast off, for they were below the region of concealed crevasses ; the guides were just adjusting their knapsacks, while M, Cordier, in advance, strolled down the glacier. Presently he reacted the top of a steep slope of snonr which was partly undermined by the glacier torrent ; and one of the guides, looking round, was horrified to see him preparing to glissade

down this slope, and shouted to warn him of the danger. But M. Cordier was. so short-sighted that probably he was unable i to see the torrent below, and he either failed to hear or disregarded the caution. He was seen to glide ' rapidly down, but after he had glissaded a considerable distance the snow gave way, and he was precipitated into the furious sub- glacial torrent, which was here running some eight or ten feet below the surface. The force of the stream in the early spring is enormous, and he was whirled along by the rush of waters far under the ice. The guides rushed to the spot, and one of them descended by the aid of a rope into the gulf in which M. Cordier had disappeared. But his shouts met with no answer, and. to steeply did the torrent descend through the ice that in a few yard* its cavernous course was lost in darkness. The search was long continued without success, and it was only in tbe evening that Anderegg and Ma.urer arrived at La Berarde with the news of the catastrophe. Next morning a large body of men, with axes and spades, were sent to the place, and excavated the glacier to the depth of twelve feet at right angles with the cleft. At a turn of the channel, about a dozen yards from the spot where the snow and ice had given way, the body was discovered by Anderegg and was with some difficulty brought to the surfac 1 . It bore no marks of disfigurement, and in the opinion of the medical men who conducted the official examination death had been almost instantaneous. The Post has the following :— " Whether it was the association of ideas or a remembrance of the honorable member's recent escapades, we know not, but the House laughed heartily when Mr Mandcrs spoke on the Local Option Bill last eight. He denounced entirely a system by which men would be placed at the mercy of a lot of woman, and this was" too much for members. They shrieked with laughter, but Mrs Manders needed it not, and proceeded wjtji greaj, vjgpr in Jijs denunciation of the bill generally, and the power qf woman's vote in particular. 1 *

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/WCT18770903.2.14

Bibliographic details

EXTRAORDINARY ALPINE ACCIDENTS., West Coast Times, Issue 2629, 3 September 1877

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EXTRAORDINARY ALPINE ACCIDENTS. West Coast Times, Issue 2629, 3 September 1877

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