Dizzying photos of trapped rock climbers rescued in south of France

French emergency services rescue two climbers stuck on a cliff near Aiglun
(Image credit: PGHM 06/Facebook)

Two climbers in France had to be rescued from a cliff face in a four-hour operation recently after one of them suffered an injury during a notoriously tricky ascent.

Members of the French specialized emergency services had to abseil down the cliff near Aiglun, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France, to get to the climbers.

Despite being experienced, the climbers, both in their thirties, became trapped over 250m above the ground while climbing a route called “Shining”, one of the more difficult in the Alpes-Maritimes. 

One of the climbers sustained an injured to their hand when they caught it on a piece of climbing equipment known as a snap hook and was unable to carry on with the ascent.

Four gendarmes from the region’s specialized high mountain rescue unit – the Peloton de gendarmerie de haute montagne des Alpes Maritimes (PGHM 06) – were helicoptered to the site. Lieutenant Jérôme Bourrières, commander of the PGHM 06, called the ensuing four-hour operation “the most technical rescue in a long time”. It was made difficult by an 8m overhang of rock.

The two men were around two-thirds of the way up the cliff, so the gendarmes were dropped at the top and abseiled down, where they managed to throw a rope to the two men. 

The team managed to hoist the victims to safety just before sunset. The operation ended shortly before 5pm. The injured climber was taken to hospital in Grasse. 

Bourrières added that the climbers were very well equipped and able to tackle this type of route. “These experienced climbers did not commit negligence. Falling is part of such an activity,” he said.