Mountain enthusiasts know that weather in the mountains is unpredictable. The morning might begin as a beautiful day with sunshine and in the afternoon the worst of storms is declared . So we know that we must always be cautious and not be trusting, even though the forecasts are good, and always carry warm clothing and some food with us, just in case.
Authorities could not confirm if this is the case of two sisters who froze to death on Saturday after being caught by heavy winds and snow in the Puigmal in the Catalan Pyrenees area (Queralbs – Ripollès). The Puigmal is one of the most emblematic mountains of Catalonia and one of the most traveled of all the Catalan Pyrenees.
The two women were among a group of five people who finished the ascent of Puigmal on Saturday November 7th. On the descent, the good mornig weather changed as the meteorological services had warned, and ushered in a heavy storm of snow and wind.
The visibility was virtually zero and the climbers were disoriented. The temperature fell to -2 ºC degrees, but the wind chill factor could have been as high as 25 degrees below zero celcius.
Not finding the way back, the group decided to split in two. The rescue personnel found the first of the climbers around nine o’clock, three hours after sunset. Firefighters and hikers were always in contact by mobile phone.
It appears that, despite bad weather conditions, hikers were able to follow the directions given by the firefighters, so inicially, the general managment of Civil Protecció Emergències didn’t find negligences.
When firefighters arrived at the first of the climbers , they observed that one had signs of severe hypothermia. In Campdevànol Hospital, where she was transferred, doctors failed to revive her. Neither was it possible to reanimate her sister who was rescued arround one o’clock AM in the other group. The remaining members recovered favorably.
Sad news that we would rather not have had to tell.