Five Mont Blanc climbers were found dead on Wednesday morning. Authorities said their guide is also assumed dead, as his “lifeless” body was discovered inside a deep crevasse. The climbers were reportedly ascending Flèche Rousse ridge when they encountered severe weather conditions.
Authorities confirmed the expedition was organized by the National Association for Outdoor Sports. The five men and one woman were said to have a “good technical level” of experience. However, they were simply overwhelmed by the weather conditions.
The climbers were reported missing when they failed to reach their planned destination on Tuesday evening. Rescue workers were dispatched to the area, but were unable to proceed. Witnesses said the summit was inaccessible due to “snowfall and mist.”
The following morning, the bodies of all five climbers were located on the Glacier du Milieu. Although the specific details are unclear, authorities believe the climbers fell more than 800 feet down a 40 degree slope.
As reported by the Telegraph, the Glacier du Milieu is the site of “several previous accidents.” Although the weather conditions were fair when the climbers began their ascent, the mountain has experienced specifically bad weather this season.
Within the last month, 14 Mont Blanc climbers have died. Local guides are concerned, as many climbers report to the mountain without proper experience or equipment. Unfortunately, many guides believe the mountain has become an “amusement park” for amateur climbers.
In French, Mont Blanc means “White Mountain.” As the surface is covered in snow and ice, and the peak is the highest in the Alps, Mont Blanc has become an irresistible challenge for adventurous climbers.
As reported by About.com, an estimated 20,000 climbers reach Mont Blanc’s 15,782-foot summit every year. An estimated 7,000 climbers have died since the first recorded ascent in 1786.
The latest casualties include five men and one woman between the ages of 27 and 45. Although the Mont Blanc climbers’ identities have not been revealed, authorities said all six had alpine mountain experience. It is unclear whether it was their first attempt on Europe’s highest peak.
Although experienced guides said Glacier du Milieu is generally safe, inclement weather and a lack of cell phone reception “can become a very big problem” in a short period of time.
For the more adventurous, scaling a mountain presents an irresistible challenge. For many, Mont Blanc is specifically enticing. Unfortunately, a high number of Mont Blanc climbers have lost their lives in their search for adventure.
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