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Helicopters evacuate flooded village in the French Alps » Explorersweb

Heavy rainfall has flooded the village of La Berarde, a popular spot for climbers and hikers in the Ecrins National Park in the French Alps. Helicopters evacuated all residents and tourists earlier today.

Heavy rain combined with melting snow – very abundant this year in the Alps – destroyed the bridge over the Etançons Torrent and blocked the only access into or out of the city. France 3 reported that 97 people were stranded.

The Etancons Torrent drains the basin and drains the meltwater from the peaks of La Meige. Snow normally covers these higher mountain slopes all year round, but this season the snow is particularly deep.

Post on X with a photo of the flooded village

Report of a flooded La Berarde on X this morning.

Helicopter shuttles took everyone out of the village this morning. “The campsites near the Vénéon River were evacuated yesterday and the road is closed after Venosc,” AlpineMag reported.

The heart of the Ecrins

La Berarde is a favorite base camp for climbers and hikers in the Ecrins National Park in the southern French Alps. From the village, trekkers can access the mountain huts that usually serve as a jumping off point for some of the region’s most coveted peaks. These include Barre des Ecrins (the only 4,000m peak in the park), Dome de Neige (an easier front summit), Mount Pelvoux, Les Agneaux and Aiguille Dibona. It is also close to the Serre-Chevalier ski area.

La Berarde located on Google maps, with mountain huts and peaks surrounding it.

La Berarde on Google Maps.

Late spring snowfall has dumped huge amounts of snow on the Alps. This week’s heavy rainfall has caused rivers to overflow.

Hikers – and not just around La Berarde – should check conditions along their intended routes. Several passages, even in the mid-mountain range, remain covered with snow. Mild temperatures and rain keep the snow from firming overnight, making many areas soft and tricky.

Everest guide Jamie McGuinness, currently on holiday in the Dolomites, noted in a post that several entrances to the area’s via ferratas are still covered in snow. View the conditions surrounding Chamonix here.