14 August 2014 -
PARIS (AP) — Five French climbers died and a
sixth was missing Wednesday on France's Mont Blanc, after a night of snow and
wind on Europe's tallest mountain.
August is the height of the climbing season on Mont Blanc, where even in the
warmest months fierce storms can strike quickly. Several mountaineers have
died already this summer — including at least one experienced guide — and
local officials say they fear many people come to Mont Blanc ill-prepared for
The group of five climbers and a guide were reported missing overnight when
they failed to return to a refuge after a planned trip to the Aiguille
d'Argentiere, which tops out around 3,900 meters (12,800 feet). Mont Blanc, in
addition to its primary peak, contains some 200 summits.
The bodies of five of the climbers were located Wednesday, while a sixth has
not been found, said Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais, a town at the
foot of Mont Blanc.
Search and rescue teams headed up the slopes and a helicopter took advantage
of brief windows of calm weather to fly over the area, said Christophe du
Payrat, a local official.
Mont Blanc touches France, Switzerland and Italy, and thousands try to reach
its summit each year.
Source: AP News
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