Mont Maudit, where nine climbers died in an avalanche. Photo: Eltouristo CC-BY-SA-3.0

Mont Maudit, where nine climbers died in an avalanche. Photo: Eltouristo CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Foreign Office has named the two British climbers who died in the Alpine avalanche that killed Mountain Guide Roger Payne.

Steve Barber and John Taylor were believed to be climbing with the 55-year-old former British Mountaineering Council general secretary when they were hit by the slab avalanche on Mont Maudit.

The men, from Poppleton, York, were among at least 28 mountaineers on the route about 4,000m above Chamonix, used to approach Mont Blanc, in the early hours of Thursday.

The avalanche struck at about 5.25am and six others, two Germans, two Spaniards and two Swiss, also perished on the 4,465m (14,649ft) peak.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “I am very saddened by [the] tragedy in Chamonix, and I send my deepest condolences to the friends and families of those affected.”

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