Mont Blanc climbers may face €15,000 deposit 'to cover rescue and burial costs'

Mont Blanc climbers may face €15,000 deposit 'to cover rescue and burial costs'
Credit: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Following numerous amateur mountain climbers ignored the warnings regarding the dangers of reaching the summit of Mont Blanc, one French mayor has announced he will ask them to pay a deposit to cover possible rescue and even burial costs.

Saint-Gervais-les-Bains is a pictoresque French village which for many mountaineers is the starting point to reach the summit of Mont Blanc, which rises 4,809 metres about the sdea level, via the Goûter route.

Its mayor announced on Twitter that they will now face paying a €15,000 deposit — €10,000 to cover a possible rescue and another €5,000 to cover the cost of a funeral — as he has become fed up of handing out warnings that are ignored.

"People want to climb with death in their backpacks," Jean-Marc Peillex, the mayor of the village, told The Guardian. "So let's anticipate the cost of having to rescue them, and for their burial, because it's unacceptable that the French taxpayer has to foot the bill," he added.

Increased danger

Mid-July, local guides stopped their activities on the route due to heavy rockfall. Later, the local government also strongly advised people to avoid it for the same reasons. In recent week, the prolonged heat wave which the country has been experiencing has made conditions on the peak more dangerous.

In the post on Twitter, he referred to a recent incident where five Romanian visitors had attempted to climb the mountain wearing just shorts, trainers and straw hats, and as a result had to be turned back by the mountain police.

People leaving from another route to the summit named Ratti, which leaves from Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, will not face the same restrictions, its mayor Roberto Rota confirmed, stating that the mountain is not private property.

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