An avalanche in the French Alps killed nine climbers and left another four or five missing this morning, the Telegraph reports. Two groups comprised of 28 climbers, many of them highly experienced, were trying to climb Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. The avalanche hit as they were ascending Mont Maudit—the third highest peak in the range; its name ominously translates to "cursed peak." The groups were taking a difficult route, via Mont Maudit as well as Mont du Tacul, Sky News reports; it is considered to be one of Europe's most dangerous climbs.
Most of the climbers were roped together when the slide occurred around 5am, with no avalanche warnings issued beforehand. The mayor of nearby Chamonix calls it the "deadliest snow slide in recent years," and a colonel notes that officials are "extremely concerned" for the safety of the missing climbers. Twelve injured people were evacuated and taken to nearby hospitals. The Mont Blanc range is one of the world's deadliest, regularly claiming the lives of more than 100 climbers per year.