French mayor asks Mont Blanc climbers to post €15,000 bail for rescue and funeral

(CNN) — Anyone wishing to climb Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, may soon be required to post a deposit of €15,000 (about $15,300) to cover possible rescue and funeral costs under the plans. announced by a local mayor who is tired of the “contempt” of risk taking. climbers.

Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, a town on the French side, says too many unskilled climbers are gambling with their lives on the mountain, where recent hot weather has made conditions more dangerous.

“The municipality of Saint-Gervais plans to take measures adapted to the irresponsibility of some and the risks they pose to rescuers,” Peillex said in a statement. Twitter.

According to the mayor, the bail of €15,000 corresponds to the “average cost of a rescue (€10,000) and the funeral costs of a victim (€5,000)”.

“It is unacceptable that it is the French taxpayer who bears these costs,” said Peillex, adding that those who make the climb now do so “with death in their backpacks”.

“Russian route”

Due to the “extremely dangerous” conditions along the Couloir du Goûter – a particularly difficult section also known as the Couloir de la Mort – Peillex said he reached the summit of Mont Blanc via a popular path known as the Voie Royale, or Voie Royale, was strictly discouraged.

The ascent of Mont Blanc was made more risky by heavy rock falls and a period of drought and heat waves, he added.

The mayor accused around 50 “pseudo-mountaineers” who traveled the route in July of “playing the latest fashionable game: Russian roulette!”

His statement said gendarmes in a helicopter used a bullhorn to turn back a group of Romanian hikers after an attempt to summit Mont Blanc using a bullhorn on July 30.

On the Italian side of the mountain, Courmayeur ski resort mayor Roberto Rota called Peillex’s depot plan “surreal”.

In remarks confirmed by his press office, Rota told the daily Corriere della Sera that “the mountain is not property”.

“We as administrators can limit ourselves to reporting sub-optimal road conditions, but asking for a deposit to climb to the top is surreal,” he said. “The decision to close a path, a road, is taken if there is an objective risk.”

Best picture credit: Philippe Desmazes/AFP via Getty Images


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