Chamonix Avalanche: 9 Climbers Killed on Mont Maudit
9 Dead, 4 Missing in Avalanche on Mont Maudit
Nine climbers have been killed in an avalanche on Mont Maudit ("The Cursed Mountain"), near the popular French ski resort of Chamonix on July 12, 2012.
Those killed were from Spain, Britain, Germany, and Switzerland. Nine other climbers were injured, and four are still missing. [Update: the four missing climbers have been found: two didn't even start the climb, and two took a route not hit by the avalanche..]
Avalanche risk was not unusually high for the season, but warm weather and high winds could well have caused unstable slabs to form on Mont Maudit's ridges.
28 climbers, roped together in groups, set off on the expedition. Rescue workers used helicopters, heat-seeking equipment, avalanche transceivers, and dogs to search for survivors.
He said the slopes on Mont Maudit faced away from the prevailing wind, which meant snow could be pushed over forming slabs.
"These can easily be set off by a passing climber, causing an avalanche," he said.