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Friday, July 13, 2012

Mont Blanc Disaster

© Matthieu Riegler, CC-BY
An avalanche disaster on the highest peak in the Western Alps in France, the Mont Blanc, claimed the lives of nine climbers. Eleven other mountaineers ended up in the hospital, four are still missing. Two lucky mountain climbers could be rescued by local authorities using search dogs and helicopters.

The first elements that we have from testimony are that a climber could have set loose a sheet of ice, and that sheet then pulled down the group of climbers below. I should say that the incline was very, very steep on this northern face.
- Col. Bertrand Fran├žois of the Haute-Savoie gendarme service

Some of the climbers were with professional guides, others were climbing independently. French investigators will examine the circumstances of the deaths.
 The Mont Blanc massif is a popular area for climbers, hikers and tourists but a dangerous one, with dozens dying on it each year. Chamonix, a top center for climbing, hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924.
Our thoughts are with the friends and families of the climbers who lost their lives in the Mont Blanc disaster.