5 Climbers Dead on Western Europe's Tallest Mountain

Guide missing on Mont Blanc, site of many recent deaths

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 13, 2014 8:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – Another tragedy has struck at the peak of climbing season on Western Europe's highest mountain: Five climbers have perished on Mont Blanc in France and their guide is still missing, reports the AP. Word went out that the climbers had disappeared yesterday evening when they didn't come back from a scheduled ascent of a 12,800-foot summit on the mountain. Rescuers recovered the bodies this morning, notes the BBC. The deceased are thought to be French nationals who were with a travel company that specializes in outdoor adventures for young people ages 6 to 39, reports RFI.

Meanwhile, local officials are shaking their heads at the latest climbing catastrophe. At least eight people have died so far this summer, according to RFI. American climber Patrick Sweeney came under fire last month for trying to break a climbing record with his two kids, ages 9 and 11, whom he filmed getting tossed around by a small avalanche at the mountain's "Corridor of Death," reports the Guardian. "He was trying to break the record for stupidity," says the head of a local mountaineering guides' club. The mayor of the town at the base of the mountain calls Sweeney "reckless" and has banned him from visiting, telling the Guardian, "Next time, he might be filming his children's death on reality TV."

This Feb. 19, 2003, file photo shows Mont Blanc, western Europe's highest mountain. A mayor in the French Alps says five climbers have died on Mont Blanc and a sixth is missing.
This Feb. 19, 2003, file photo shows Mont Blanc, western Europe's highest mountain. A mayor in the French Alps says five climbers have died on Mont Blanc and a sixth is missing.   (AP Photo/Patrick Gardin, File)
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US climber and his two kids survived avalanche on Mont Blanc last month.   (CBS Boston)

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