Three experienced climbers died in Kalavryta due to an avalanche

The search for the climbers who disappeared on Saturday, unfortunately, ended tragically – all three are dead. Presumably, the cause of their death was an avalanche – traces of its descent were found on the slope.

Those who died between the ages of 50 and 55 were experienced climbers: Giannis Torrelli – a member of the climbing movement in Patras, Athanasios Sotiropoulos – a member of the Patras Mountaineering Association, an ice climbing instructor, Athanasios Sotiropoulos – a resident of Patras, head of ΕΛΓΑ in Corinth.

According to information kalavrytanews, men with climbing and skiing experience climbed Helmos on Saturday morning, leaving their car in the parking lot of the ski centre. However, in the afternoon, their mobile phones stopped responding.

Center staff began searching, notifying the police. The police arrived at the scene in a patrol car and an ambulance from the EKAB of Kalavryta, the help of the 6th ΕΜΑΚ was requested.

Rescuers were able to get to the place of their discovery only on the fourth attempt. This was preceded by a “combing” of the territory by a helicopter. The pilot saw something red in the snow, similar to equipment, and gave the coordinates. ΕΜΑΚ fighters and rescuers arrived at the scene. The rescue operation involved special tracked vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Shortly before 4 pm on Sunday, the climbers were found dead. According to information, most likely at some point they were swept away by an avalanche that took their lives. Even the rescuers who worked at the scene of the tragedy were in danger – the snow began to melt from below, and at any moment their steps could cause a new avalanche. The bodies of the dead climbers could not be transported immediately – the helicopter could not make a safe landing.

Aerial and ground surveys taken in the morning showed traces of a large avalanche at the base of the slope. The ski resort says:

“Most likely, this avalanche “demolished” climbers who were trying to get closer to the desired route.”

During the search, a helmet, jacket, backpack and other items were found, but it was not clear whether these things belonged to the missing men. Kalavryta Mayor Athanasios Papadopoulos told

“Objects and clothes were found three to four kilometers from the ski resort. An EKAM brigade leaves for the place, but it is difficult to get to it, because the place is difficult to access and there is a lot of snow.”

The operation to evacuate the dead lasted all night. Alexis Agrios, general manager of the ski center Kalavryta, says:

It was a very difficult process. 35 rescuers tried to pick up the victims from the place where they were found. This is a hard-to-reach area three kilometers from the facilities of the ski resort. Now the process is complete.

He spoke about the first steps to find the missing climbers:

“On Saturday we had a night watch at the Kalavryta ski center. At the parking lot, we found that the car was still there. We talked to the relatives of the people and they said that the men had gone ice climbing. When we didn’t see any traces of flashlights, I contacted the police and the fire department and we started searching. We knew them. They were very experienced climbers. Today all climbers mourn.”

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