A former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council was one of three Britons to die in an Alpine avalanche that also claimed the lives of six others.
Roger Payne, a Mountain Guide, was believed to have been with two clients when they were caught in the major slab avalanche early today on Mont Maudit in the Mont Blanc range.
Four others, including two Britons, who were feared missing on the mountain, have turned up safe.
Two climbers each from Spain, Germany and Switzerland also lost their lives in the incident, which the BMC has been told was caused initially by a collapsing serac which caught a group of climbers high up on the mountain, and a second windslab was then released, which engulfed others below.
The avalanche, at about 4,000m on the mountain above Chamonix, was about 150m wide.
The lower group was swept about 200m down the mountain.
At least 28 mountaineers had set off from a hut at 1am; the avalanche struck at about 5.25am on the route, which is one of two main approaches to Mont Blanc itself.
Dave Turnbull, current BMC chief executive, said: “The mountaineering world is shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Roger Payne, former BMC general secretary and former president of the British Mountain Guides.
“Roger was one of the UK’s most enthusiastic and respected climbers with a track record of Alpine and Himalayan mountaineering stretching back to the 1980s.
“Our thoughts are with Roger’s friends and family, in particular his wife Julie-Ann.”
The BMC, which represents climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers in England and Wales, added its condolences to the family and friends of those killed and wished a speedy recover to those injured.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland added: “Roger was well known to many mountaineers in Scotland and we join our colleagues at the BMC in acknowledging his contribution to British and world mountaineering.
“Our thoughts are with Roger’s family and friends.”
The two Britons originally missing had turned back from the mountain before the avalanche took place.
Ed Douglas has a piece on the BMC’s website looking back at Mr Payne’s life.