Avalanche Kills Nine On Mont Blanc

Tragedy struck one of the most popular and iconic mountains in all of Europe yesterday when an avalanche claimed the lives of nine climbers on Mont Blanc. The massive snow slide is believed to have been accidentally started by another climber who was attempting to scale the 4810-meter (15,781-foot) peak at the time.

Search and rescue teams quickly leapt into action and were able to locate two climbers who were buried under the ice and snow. But further rescue operations were hampered by poor conditions on the slopes, which remained dangerously unstable following the avalanche. Those conditions and the onset of darkness caused the SAR teams to call off their search yesterday evening. It was scheduled to resume this morning.

Of the nine climbers that perished, three were from the U.K., three from Germany, two were from Spain and one was from Switzerland. Authorities cautioned that the death toll could rise even higher as there were quite a few climbers on the slopes at the time and not all have been accounted for.

The French Alps, which is where Mont Blanc is located, had an unusually high amount of snow this past spring, and early summer storms have continued to pound the area. All of that snow, combined with high winds, has created a dangerous environment for climbers who have encountered a number of large and dangerous overhangs on the mountain. Those overhangs can collapse as the weather warms, depositing tons of snow on to the steep slopes of the mountain, creating deadly avalanches in the process.

The Mont Blanc Massif is a popular destination for active travelers year round. In the summer it offers fantastic trekking and mountain biking trails and in the winter it is amongst the best ski and snowboard locations in Europe. Climbing is popular year round as well, and thousands flock to its slopes on an annual basis. The peak is no stranger to tragedy, however, as it is often listed amongst the most deadly mountains in the world.

[Photo credit: Joe MiGo via WikiMedia]

Daily Pampering: Emirates and Montblanc create limited edition writing instrument

Need a new pen? Emirates has partnered with Montblanc to offer customers the opportunity to win an exclusive Montblanc Skeleton A380 Limited Edition writing instrument, inspired by the Airbus A380.

The Montblanc Skeleton A380 Limited Edition is a collector’s dream. Its dual-leveled windows and dark blue precious resin dominates the writing instrument’s 18k white gold barrel and is designed to resemble the A380. There are 28 flawless diamonds and the crown bears the Montblanc emblem and there’s an engraved 18-carat gold nib with platinum plating on the writing instrument.

Want one? Of course you do!

Board an Emirates flight and purchase the Montblanc StarWalker A380 fineliner from Emirates’ Duty Free. When you buy the luxury writing instrument, you’ll also be entered to win a luxury trip to Hamburg, Germany, where you’ll receive the Montblanc Skeleton A380 Limited Edition. Book a flight now! The promotion runs only until June 30, 2011.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Berlin’s best way to shop for the holidays

Need a change of pace for your holiday shopping? Try Berlin! A new deal from the Hotel Concorde will make this year’s hunt for the perfect Christmas present more exciting than ever. The “Shop in the City” package starts with luxurious accommodations and includes plenty of discounts and other shopping perks to help you get the most from your trip.

The Hotel Concorde is right on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm shopping boulevard, so you won’t have to go far to kick off the spending. In addition to staying in this part of town for two nights, the “Shop in the City” deal includes a buffet breakfast for two every day, dinner at Brasserie Le Faubourg and special gifts from Barbour and Lacoste. You’ll also get to enjoy a champagne reception and gift at the Bally boutique, a 10 percent discount at KaDeWe Berlin and 20 percent off at Galeries Lafayette — with a personal shopping appointment that you can wash down with a glass of champagne. Top it off with a 35 euro voucher at Montblanc.

Rates start at $275 a night. If you can’t make it in the next month and a half, don’t sweat it. Berlin’s Hotel Concorde is running it through the end of March.