Memorial to be held for avalanche death climbers14/07/2012 - 09:49:51
A memorial service is taking place today in the French resort of Chamonix for the climbers killed in an avalanche in the French Alps.
Britons Roger Payne, Steve Barber and John Taylor were in a group of nine who died trying to reach the summit of Mont Maudit.
Their families travelled to the resort last night.
Among the other victims were three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss climber.
The nine who died were part of a 28-strong group which left a climbing hut to attempt the route, described by local guides as the second most popular to the top of Mont Blanc, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The alarm was raised at 5.20am local time by one of the injured climbers.
French authorities were told that a “slab” avalanche had hit several groups of mountaineers who were roped together on the northern face of Mont Maudit at 13,123ft (4,000m). The avalanche was caused by heavy snow and is thought to have been triggered by strong winds.
The Mont Blanc massif is a popular area for climbers, hikers and tourists but a dangerous one, with dozens dying on it each year.
Daniel Rossetto, a 63-year-old mountain guide who survived the avalanche, said the experience was like being “in a washing machine”.
Mr Rossetto, who was leading two Danish climbers up the mountain, told France’s Le Parisien newspaper: “We were on the edge of the avalanche – that was our fortune – while the other climbers were held under by masses of snow.”
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