At least nine mountain climbers were killed when a six-foot-thick wall of snow came crashing down on them in the French Alps on Thursday, French police said.
At least four people are missing, and two were found alive in the snow after the avalanche, French police said.
The dead climbers include people from Germany, Britain, Spain and Switzerland, police said.
The nationalities of the missing are unknown, police said. There were also French climbers in the party.
Hikers from theÂ Atlanta areaÂ completed a climb to the summit of the five highest peaks in five Southeastern states in one day.
The leader of the trip, Charlie Cottingham, said the group has applied to GuinnessWorldRecords.com to have the feat recorded as a hiking world record.
The 21 hikers are part of the Atlanta Outdoor Club. They climbed South Carolina's highest peak, Sassafras Mountain at 3,564 feet, Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet, Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet in Tennessee, Brasstown Bald in Georgia at 4,784 feet and Cheaha Mountain in Alabama at 2,413 feet.
"It was a perfect day because it was in the 70s in all five places,"Â Cottingham said.
Cottingham saidÂ the idea for the trip dates back to 1992 when a group from the Atlanta Ski Club climbed four summits in four states. He was part of that trip and always believed it was possible to hike a fifth summit between sunrise and sunset on the same day.
The groupÂ used private vehicles on SundayÂ to travelÂ between the mountains and "obeyed all traffic laws" during their journey. Cottingham said the five summits are near trailheads, which saved time.
"I'm proud of our achievement and it offers proof of what the spirit of friendly cooperation can do," Cottingham said.[cnn-videoÂ url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/07/12/nr.five.peaks.five.states.cnn"%5D
If you fall down, I will lift you up – It certainly doesn't feel great to start your day with a 300 foot fall, but thankfully one California man had luck and some of the hardest working men in rescue on his side. In this harrowing video the man is discovered, examined, strapped up and shipped out. All in a day's work.
Swedish mountaineer and professional skier Fredrik Ericsson died Friday while trying to summit K2 in Pakistan, his friend David Schipper told CNN in a telephone interview.
The incident occurred between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as Ericsson was attempting to become the first man to ski from the summit to base camp, said Schipper, who said he learned of the accident on the world's second-tallest peak in a satellite call from fellow climber Fabrizio Zangrilli.
Ericsson, in his mid-30s, was at a place called the bottleneck, at an altitude of around 8,300 meters (27,231 feet), between Camp 4 (8,000 meters) and the summit (8,611 meters), said Schipper, a Moab, Utah-based climber. He described the bottleneck as a "steep and narrow section with thousands of meters of exposure below."