Climbers attempting to reach the top of Mont Blanc may be required to pay a €15,000 deposit to cover possible ransom and funeral costs in case they get stuck or die.
Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains, from where climbers reach the highest peak in Western Europe, announced this possible measure in response to the fact that many people risk their lives in the mountainwhich he described as the latest “Russian roulette” game in vogue.
“The municipality of Saint-Gervais plans to take measures adapted to the irresponsibility of some and the risks they make rescuers run,” he said, in a statement posted on Twitter.
— Jean-Marc PEILLEX (@PEILLEX) August 3, 2022
The mayor said the specified €15,000 deposit would cover the “average cost of a ransom (€10,000) and the funeral costs of a victim (5,000 €).”
“People want to climb with death in their backpacks,” he said, sharing that dozens of “pseudo-mountaineers” have ignored warnings after the local administration advised people to avoid the route due to strong winds. rockfall in mid-July. The ongoing intense heat wave has further worsened the condition.
Peillex shared that five Romanians had attempted to climb the peak in shorts, trainers, and straw hats and had to be returned by the mountain police.
“So let us anticipate the cost of having to rescue them and for their burial, because it is unacceptable that French taxpayers foot the bill,” he added.
The mountain can also be accessed from the Italian side through the Courmayeur ski area. Describing Peillex’s deposit plan as “surreal”, Roberto Rota, mayor of Courmayeur, told the newspaper. Corriere della Sera that he mountain it is not a property.”
“We as administrators can limit ourselves to reporting suboptimal route conditions, but asking for a deposit to climb to the top is surreal,” he said.