The Dru: Rockfall and The Siren of The Alps

I mentioned in a post last week about the Floria Slabs that I was climbing when a large rockfall came crashing down from a peak called The Dru. I stopped climbing and turned around to watch it pull away and tumble to the ground. Plumes of gray dust looked like they were smoking from the peak, and everyone was in awe of the sight and sound.

In response to the rockfall that I saw on The Dru, I wrote an article earlier in the week on the About.com Survival Skills site titled “Surviving Rockfall Hazards: Look, Listen, and React.” Even if you’re not climbing in the Alps, rockfall is common in mountain terrain, and it can be avoided.


I felt thankful that I wasn’t climbing on The Dru–or anywhere near it when the rockfall occurred. This peak is notorious for its rockfall, and a friend of mine once called The Dru “The Siren of the Alps.” It beckons climbers to its beautiful face, but it’s deadly, too, like a Siren. Here are a few photos of the peak and its surroundings, beginning with the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier at its base:

One of the best places to view The Dru is from the opposite side of the valley, in the Aiguilles Rouges. One of my favorite mountain huts at Lac Blanc has The Dru always looming in the backdrop, with its light gray rockfall-scarred face:

The Siren of the Alps can look pretty frightening in a storm (again, photographed from Lac Blanc, Aiguilles Rouges):

Most of the time, The Dru simply looks beautiful against the Chamonix skyline, as it does here in the winter…still proudly showing a rockfall-scarred face:

What to read more about rockfall? Here’s my article:
“Surviving Rockfall Hazards: Look, Listen, and React”
Rockfall can threaten anyone hiking in mountain terrain, so learn how to identify rockfall hazards and how to survive an active rockfall…click here to continue reading

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara

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