What if I have or see an accident and need to call for help?

f you or someone else on the mountain has a serious injury or is suffering from altitude sickness you should call for a mountain rescue. Before doing this take as good immediate care of the injured person as possible and establish the following information. Your location (description and map co-ordinates, for additional accuracy examine the smart phone applications that may be able to give you these if you don’t have a GPS) & altitude. The casualty’s name, age & sex; the nature of their injuries / illness, level of consciousness. Current weather, wind speed and direction at your location.

In the Chamonix Valley a mountain rescue service is provided by the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne, (PGHM) an extremely professional branch of the French military. If you are near a hut, contacting the hut staff or using the emergency telephone in the Vallot Hut may be the easiest way of raising the alarm. There is also a generally good mobile phone reception on the mountain and if you need help you should call one of the following numbers to try and arrange a rescue. Put these numbers in to your mobile phone now:

Chamonix PGHM: +33(0)

European emergency number is 112

Aosta Valley Mountain Rescue: +39 0165 230 253

Italy Valle d’Aoste Emergency number is 118

There is no guarantee that a rescue helicopter will be able to come straight away, or even at all in poor weather. This may mean that no one is coming to rescue you and therefore you need to be prepared by having some basic survival equipment, as a minimum, a ‘group shelter’, spare warm clothing and basic first aid kit.