Mont Blanc climbers asked for €15,000 rescue or funeral deposit

Moutaineers trecking up the summit of Mont Blanc in France will have to fork out €15,000 to cover costs for their own rescue missions if they get stranded or die.

The perilous Goûter route from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains takes climbers to the top of the highest peak in western Europe.

Daring expeditioners would have to pull together €10,000 to cover the cost of a rescue, and €5,000 for a funeral in case they die during the hike.

Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of the town, brought in the fee after many hikers ignored warnings about to avoid the route following heavy rockfall in mid-July.

It is thought that the extreme heatwaves across Europe this summer caused the dry conditions on the mountain, leading to a significant amount of rockfall.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Peillex said several “pseudo-mountaineers” had ignored warnings.

He referred to five Romanian climbers who tried to climb the mountain “wearing shorts, trainers and straw hats” but were turned back by moutain police.

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The perilous Goûter route from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains takes climbers to the top of the highest peak in western Europe

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The perilous Goûter route from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains takes climbers to the top of the highest peak in western Europe

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He wrote: “People want to climb with death in their backpacks,” he added. “So let’s anticipate the cost of having to rescue them, and for their burial, because it’s unacceptable that French taxpayers should foot the bill.”

Over 100 people have died on the route in the last 20 years, as reported by The Guardian.

A climber died due to loose rock as recently as 22 June, according to Explorers Web.

Despite this, the hefty deposit has been criticised by Roberto Rota, mayor of Italian ski resort town Courmayeur, which also has a path to the Mont Blanc peak.

He confirmed that he would not be imposing any fees, saying “the mountain is not a property”.

Speaking to the daily Corriere della Sera, he said: “We, as administrators, can limit ourselves to reporting sub-optimal routes’ conditions, but asking for a deposit to climb to the top is surreal.”

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