Two climbers found dead on Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc with Mont Maudit and Dome du Gouter (File pic)
Image caption The routes are popular with summer tourists heading for Mont Blanc

Two young climbers have been found frozen to death on Mont Blanc.

The bodies of a Spanish man and a Polish woman were found on Saturday at the Dome du Gouter peak, at an altitude of 4,400m.

The pair were found on the slopes of the mountain between Italy and France, near the Gouter refuge.

Their deaths come just days after nine climbers were found killed during an avalanche on the nearby slopes of Mont Maudit.

According to Italian news sources, the pair were part of a larger group of eight climbers who set out to climb the mountain earlier on Saturday and got caught in a storm. Their six fellow climbers were rescued by Italian alpine rescue teams.

All are currently being treated for exposure in hospital in the Italian mountain town of Aosta.

The bodies of the pair who died on Saturday were found on the French side of the border.

In Thursday's incident, which local authorities said was the deadliest avalanche in recent memory, nine climbers died on Mont Maudit.

Mont Maudit is the massif's third-highest peak, rising to 4,465m (14,650ft) and is considered one of the more difficult, though popular, paths to the summit of Mont Blanc, western Europe's highest peak.

Three of those killed were from the UK, three from Germany, two from Spain and one from Switzerland. Twelve other climbers were injured.

Among those who died was 55-year-old Roger Payne, was one of Britain's most respected climbers and a former general-secretary of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC)..

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