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French Mayor Says Climbers Should Pay  €15,000 Deposit to Ascend Mont Blanc

The Major of Saint-Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex, says it is needed to cover possible rescue and funeral expenses. Saint-Gervais sits at the base Western Europe’s highest mountain. UPDATED

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Conditions have deteriorated this summer on Mont Blanc with melting ice and an increasing number of rockfalls.

Already some routes up the 4,807m mountain have been closed by the authorities.

Mayor Peillex said the average cost of a rescue on the mountain was €10,000 and funeral costs were €5,000.

“It is unacceptable for the French taxpayer to cover those costs,” he said.

He has not yet issued a legal ruling on the proposed deposit, but he has the power to impose it.

See more here:

Mountain guides have stopped taking climbers on the popular Gouter route from Saint-Gervais or Chamonix.

More than 100 people have died on the Gouter Route in the past 20 years.

Mayor Peillex criticised some “pseudo climbers” who insisted on attempting the climb “with death in their backpacks”.

He told the BBC “I wanted to make people react, to understand that today it’s very dangerous, almost suicidal to go up”.

The mountain refuges at Goûter and Tête Rousse have been closed due to rockfalls.

There was a major rockfall on Thursday that would have killed anyone in its path.

Mont Blanc, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Mont Blanc, France. Image © PlanetSKI

There has been some reaction to the proposal from Mayor Peillex on the PlanetSKI Facebook page:

Paul Stokes – Wouldn’t it be easier to take out insurance? Then the rescue services can charge for acting and insurance would pay them.
Gwri Pennar – The climate extremes have increased the risks significantly for mountaineering these high peaks. The deposit proposal only means the very rich or sponsored could make the ascent – hardly fair on most people who have good abilities and training.

Earlier this summer 11 people died in the Dolomites in Italy when there was a partial collapse of a glacier on the Marmolada mountain.

It was likely caused by climate change and warming temperatures.

Marmolada ice collapse. Image c/o Alpine rescue services.

Marmolada ice collapse. Image c/o Alpine rescue services.

At the end of July group of Romanians were spotted on Mont Blanc wearing shorts, trainers and straw hats.

A police helicopter was despatched, and the group was ordered back down the mountain.

Chamonix, France

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

In most years there are hundreds of rescues in the area with several dozen  deaths.

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Image c/o PlanetSKI

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