World champion ski mountaineer AdÃ¨le Milloz and her female climbing companion fell to their deaths in the French Alps while climbing Mont Blanc. Milloz, 26, and the unnamed companion, aged 30, had been climbing the Aiguille du Peigne, France, on Friday when they slipped and fell thousands of fell down.
Milloz won several world European and national titles in the sport of ski-mountaineering but quit in 2019 to re-train as a guide. The incident happened while she was on a training session. According to reports, other climbers noticed the fall and called for help. However, they themselves needed to be lifted off the mountain as they were in shock after watching Milloz and the other mountaineer fall to their deaths.
The tragic incident happened when Milloz and other mountaineers were on the Alpine peak's route to Aiguille du Peigne before 6.15pm on Friday, according to mountain guides confirmed. Fellow climbers said that Milloz and her companion were ascending from Aiguille de Peigne (3,192m) to the adjacent peak Aiguille du Midi at a height of more than 10,000 feet (3,842m).
It's still unclear what exactly caused the fall.
According to The Times, the women are believed to have been roped together when they collapsed while climbing to the summit of the Aiguille. A group of mountaineers saw the two fall and immediately raised the alarm.
However, rescue workers couldn't locate their bodies. Instead, the group of mountaineers had to be airlifted from the mountain as they were too shocked to continue their hike.
Milloz and her companion's bodies were found by another party of hikers early on Friday evening.
Milloz was an experienced climber having formerly competed in ski mountaineering, or skimo. This involves climbing tricky peaks before skiing down them. Milloz, who was raised in the Alps, took home gold medals in both the individual and team sprint ski mountaineering events at the Winter Military World Games in Sochi five years ago.
She had given up skiing in 2019 and was almost finished with her training to become a certified mountain guide.
Milloz's death is being seen as a major loss to the sporting fraternity. Police are now looking into the exact circumstances of the terrible fall after ruling the deaths as accidents. Her former coach Thierry Galindo remembered her as "talented and motivated."
"AdÃ¨le was a luminous young woman. "The whole company feels infinite sadness today," said Olivier Greber, chairman of the Company of Guides of Chamonix.
The French Mountain and Climbing Federation added: "We will always miss her smile."
AmÃ©lie OudÃ©a-CastÃ©ra, the French minister for sports and the Olympics tweeted a tribute to Milloz. "Deeply saddened by the death of ski mountaineering champion AdÃ¨le Milloz in Mont Blanc, at the age of 26, and of the woman who was by her side," she wrote.
"I extend my deepest condolences to her family, loved ones and her colleagues from the National School of Skiing and Mountaineering in Chamonix."
Rockfalls are becoming increasingly common and dangerous near Europe's highest mountain as a result of the drought, and climbers have recently been advised to postpone their expeditions.
Two mountain shelters were shut down, and several guided tour firms halted their climbs.
With certain regions of France experiencing temperatures as high as 42C (107.6F), this past July was the hottest on record for France.
Hundreds of firefighters from Germany, Poland, Romania, Italy, and other countries were sent to Gironde to help fight a fire that started early in July as Europe's record-breaking summer heatwave was beginning, then flared up again a few days later, displacing 10,000 people and burning 7,000 hectares of pine forest.