Mountain Safety and Rescue

Mountain rescue

La Chamoniarde’s mission is to bring together those involved in the search and rescue of missing people or casualties of mountain accidents. They set up live exercises and provide first aid stations during sporting or cultural events.

Search and rescue

La Chamoniarde

Is a member of the ADSSM74; the District association established in 1991 that gathers all the mountain rescue societies of Haute Savoie: La Chamoniarde, Annecy, Chablais, Pays Rochois, Saint Gervais/Val Montjoie, Salève, Samoëns, Thônes/Aravis and the District Association of Dog Handlers of Haute Savoie Mountain Rescue. Mountain rescue societies are involved in the district rescue plan.

First aiders from La Chamoniarde are volunteer rescuers who are certified mountain guides for the most part (mountain guides, ski patrols and mountain rescuers). When necessary PGHM calls them to help out on large avalanche rescue operation and search for missing person.

Aid stations

As a mountain rescue society, La Chamoniarde is entitled to set up a rescue and assistance plan during events taking place in the mountains above the Chamonix valley.

Aid stations are rescue alert stations (PAPS) can be found along the course of the event.

They use rescue equipment to assist, stabilize and evacuate athletes in destress down in the valley to the medical assistance team. A physician may already be part of the first aid team with the victim.

Mont-Blanc 80km trail race

Recently added to the valley trail running agenda, this event launches the trail running season in Chamonix. Breath-taking views and a challenging race profile make it a top class event. It is a great running test after a long winter. 15 first aiders assisted runners along the race in 2013.

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It is the starting race for those who wish to join the famous UTMB race one day. Pretty landscapes and a mellow terrain contrast with steep train and hellish rhythm near the end of the race.

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Referred to as the premier-class race course, first finishers arrive only 2 hours after the CCC winners. In its second half it follows the CCC course. The keenest first aiders assist runners on both races back to back, ending up spending the entire late August week end up in the mountains.

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Born in 2010, with its extraordinary tracking shots, cosmic sounds, and a unique convivial atmosphere, this new music festival has brought an innovative touch and opened new horizons to the world of mountain discovery.
Its concerts in altitude have largely contributed to its popularity.

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Trail des Aiguilles Rouges

Convivial and a smaller scale race, highly competitive runners yet come from far away to compete in this end-of-season race. The course changes every year, and weather that change dramatically: conditions may vary from sunny and hot to stormy or even snowy. In 2013, assistance to runners was provided by 10 first aiders.

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Since its first edition in 1989, it has remained a convivial event that brings together both tradition and sports during which La Chamoniarde provides assistance in a spirit of genuine comradeship.

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MontBlanc ski challenge

Organized by the Chamonix French Ski School, this early season ski mountaineering race gathers locals around a same passion. In 2013, assistance to racers was provided by 4 first aiders.

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This very unique event combines ski touring and free-riding during which racers are timed on the way up, whereas judges evaluate their style on the way down. Being a complete athlete is what it takes to win: speed on the way up, fast and accurate during the avalanche victim search exercise, fluid and stylish when skiing down.

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Major events

  • Avalanche exercise
  • Rescue triangular


Mandated by the municipality of chamonix, each year La Chamoniarde organizes and supervises a large scale avalanche search simulation exercise, for all mountain professionals closely or partly involved with mountain rescuing. Ski patrols, PGHM, Helicopter crews, the alpine ambulance department ( SMUR) , aiders of La Chamoniarde and ADSSM 74, local guides companies and ski schools, dog handlers, CNISAG, CNEAS, EMHM, UCPA, ENSA, GMSP, CSP… meet and share a live training day on terrain in order to be more responsive and improve rescue process and skills.


It is a meeting held in one of the main alpine resorts of the Mont Blanc region, which are Chamonix, Courmayeur or in the nearby Swiss Wallis region. 

  • It aims at strengthening relationships between mountain first aiders of the 3 border countries.
  • It promotes partnership between mountain rescue departments of the 3 border regions.  
  • Test the various rescue techniques and most recent equipment during terrain practice in real conditions.

Every three years La Chamoniarde manages the event jointly with the Chamonix PGHM. Financed and part of the PrevriskhauteMontagne project, the 2017 edition took place from January 16 to 18. 

2017 Triangular video

La Chamoniarde will organize and receive the Mountain Rescue Triangular meeting 2020 Triangulaire 2020 in Chamonix.

International Commission of Alpine Rescue


The International Commission of Alpine Rescue (ICAR) counts 98 members and 37 countries, whose aim is to define the administrative structure and coordinate research programs in the field of mountain rescuing, and also to harmonize rescue equipment standards.

Four commissions contribute to developing exchanges within this remarkably useful organization. They are respectively assigned to the four mountain rescue domains: land, air, avalanche and the medical field.

Since 2016 La Chamoniarde has been invited by the French ICAR division to participate in the discussions. The 2018 ICAR Congress has take place in Chamonix. The same year La Chamoniarde celebrate its 70th anniversary, and 60 years of public emergencies in France! 

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