French mayor wants Mont Blanc climbers to pay €15,000 rescue and funeral deposit

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(CNN) — Anyone wanting to scale Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, may soon have to put down a €15,000 (about $15,300) deposit to cover possible rescue and funeral costs under plans announced by a local mayor fed up with “risk aversion”. climbers

Jean-Marc Pilleaux, mayor of Saint-Gervas-les-Bains, a town on the French side, says many unfit climbers are gambling with their lives on the mountain, where recent warm weather has made conditions even more treacherous.

“The municipality of Saint-Gervais plans to take measures commensurate with the irresponsibility of some and the dangers they pose to rescuers,” Pilex said in a statement. Twitter.

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

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

‘Russian Rootlet’

Due to the “extremely dangerous” conditions along the Couloir du Goûter — a particularly challenging section also known as the Corridor of Death — Pilex said it is strongly advised against reaching the summit of Mont Blanc via the popular route known as the Voi Royal or Royal Way. came

Climbing Mont Blanc has become dangerous due to large rocks and periods of drought and heat waves, he added.

The mayor accused about 50 “pseudo-mountain-climbers” who in July “played the latest fashionable game: Russian roulette!”

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His statement said gendarmes in a helicopter used megaphones to turn a group of Romanian hikers back from attempting to summit Mont Blanc on July 30.

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On the Italian side of the mountain, the mayor of the ski resort town of Courmayeur, Roberto Rota, described Paylex’s deposit plan as “unrealistic”.

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

“We, as administrators, can limit ourselves to reporting the condition of sub-optimal routes, but asking for a deposit to climb to the top is unrealistic,” he said. “If there is an objective risk, a decision is made to close the road, the road.”

Top image credit: By Philippe Desmez/AFP Getty Images

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