As many as eight climbers are missing and eight more injured after a major avalanche hit Mont Blanc at around dawn on Sunday.
It happened on French side of the peak, the highest in the Alps, which spans the border between Italy and France.
The avalanche started at around 3,600 meters and produced a wave of snow 50 meters wide and 100 meters long.
Reports suggest that the group of climbers were roped together and swept away by tonnes of snow.
The injured are being treated in hospitals in Chamonix.
The French police and Italian Civil Protection launched a major search and rescue operation as news of the avalanche filtered through, but that has now been called off as a result of poor weather on the mountain.
According to the authorities the missing are Swiss and Austrian nationals.
Mont Blanc has claimed the lives of many climbers over the years drawn to the mountain’s 4,810 meter summit.