6 climbers killed in fall on Mont Blanc peak

PARIS (AP) — Six French climbers died in a fall on France’s Mont Blanc after a night of snow and wind on
Western Europe’s tallest mountain, officials said Wednesday.

August is the height of the climbing season on Mont Blanc, where even in the warmest months storms can
strike quickly. High winds buffeted the area where the group fell, said Jean-Baptiste Estachy, head of
the Mont Blanc rescue squad.

Estachy said five bodies were found Wednesday morning and the body of the sixth victim was later pulled
out from the bottom of a crevasse.

The six included five experienced climbers and a guide. An investigation to uncover the exact cause of
the accident was underway.

The climbers were taking part in a two-week mountaineering course with the guide and were reported
missing overnight when they failed to return to a refuge. They had been on 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 and touches France, Switzerland
and Italy. Thousands try to climb its peaks each year and an average of 59 people are killed annually in
accidents on its slopes, according to the Chamoniarde, a safety association.

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