5 Clients, 1 Guide Die in Fall on Mont Blanc's Aiguille d'Argentiere

Posted on: August 14, 2014


Aiguille d'Argentiere (at left), Mont Blanc massif. This week, a party of six climbers fell 250m down the Glacier du Milieu, located between the two longest ridges on Argentiere. Five of the bodies were recovered early Wednesday morning. A sixth body was found in a crevasse later that day. [Photo] Simo Rasanen

The bodies of six climbers, ages 27 to 45, were recovered from the Glacier du Milieu yesterday morning, after the guided party led by the French national outdoor sports organization, UCPA, was reported missing on Tuesday. The team of five clients of "good technical level" and one guide appear to have fallen 250m off the Glacier du Milieu on Aiguille d'Argentiere (3902m), Mont Blanc massif, The Telegraph reports.

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Poor weather delayed Chamonix mountain rescue group, PGHM, after Argentiere hut caretaker Fred Laurenzio reported that the French party had not arrived at their shelter by 5 p.m. that evening.

With no phone reception on that area of the glacier, Laurenzio told The Telegraph, "A small problem can become a very big problem as you need to go down to the refuge on your own steam to seek help."

With these deaths, the toll in the heavily trafficked Mont Blanc area, on the borders of France, Switzerland and Italy, rises to 14 in the last month. "This has been one of the worst years for Mont Blanc in three ways," the mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, France, said, "the number of deaths, the way it is being treated like a Disney theme park and the poor weather conditions.... This accident is a harsh reminder that the mountain dictates its own laws."

Sources: telegraph.co.uk, BBC News, The New York Times

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