Helicopters Evacuate Flooded Village in the French Alps

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

Heavy rains combined with melting snow — very abundant across the Alps this year — destroyed the bridge over the Etançons Torrent and cut off the only access into or out of town. France 3 reported that 97 people were stranded.

The Etancons Torrent drains the watershed and funnels the meltwater from the peaks of La Meige. Snow usually covers these upper mountainsides all year long, but it is especially deep this season.

Post on X showing a picture of the village flooded

Post of a flooded La Berarde on X this morning.


Helicopter shuttles removed everyone from the village this morning. “The campsites near the Vénéon River were evacuated yesterday, and the road is cut off after Venosc,” AlpineMag reported.

The heart of the Ecrins

La Berarde is a favorite base camp for climbers and hikers in Ecrins National Park in the southern French Alps. From the village, trekkers can access the mountain refuges that usually serve as starting points for some of the most coveted peaks in the region. These include the Barre des Ecrins (the only 4,000m peak in the park), the Dome de Neige (an easier foresummit), Mount Pelvoux, Les Agneaux, and the Aiguille Dibona. It is also near the Serre-Chevalier ski resort.

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

La Berarde on Google Maps.


Late spring snowfall dumped huge amounts of snow in the Alps. Torrential rains this week have caused rivers to flood.

Hikers — not just near La Berarde — should check conditions along their intended routes. Several passages, even in mid-mountain areas, remain covered in snow. Mild temperatures and rain have kept the snow from firming up at night, making many areas soft and tricky.

Everest guide Jamie McGuinness, currently on holiday at the Dolomites, noted in a post that several entrances to the via ferratas in the area remain snow-covered. You can check the conditions around Chamonix here.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.