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MONT BLANC

Mont Blanc: French mayor to fine badly prepared climbers

A mayor in an area of the French Alps which is a gateway to Mont Blanc has said he plans to fine climbers attempting to scale the mountain without proper outdoor gear such as crampons and ropes.

Mont Blanc: French mayor to fine badly prepared climbers
Ashley Coates/Flickr
Exasperated by a series of accidents on western Europe's highest peak involving ill-equipped tourists, mayor Jean-Marc Peillex has issued a local regulation mandating mountaineering equipment.
   
The most popular route to scale the 4,810-metre (15,780-feet) mountain, known as the “voie royale”, runs through Peillex's Saint-Gervais district.
   
The threat of a fine — set to be modest 38 euros (44 dollars) — was needed because thrill-seeking visitors “have refused to listen to the warnings,” Peillex told AFP on Thursday.
 
READ ALSO:
Rescuers call off search for Japanese climber missing on Mont Blanc
AFP
   
The new rule, which will be translated into English and Russian and displayed publicly, requires climbers to have a hat, a waterproof mountain jacket, boots, crampons and equipment needed to escape from crevices.
   
Peillex is hoping police will enforce the law to send a message to others.
   
Mountain rescue teams were searching for a 46-year-old man who went missing after attempting to climb the mountain on Tuesday, apparently with no equipment.
   
Over August, climbers from Japan, the Czech Republic, France and South Korea have died.
 
Local authorities also stopped a couple from Hungary trying to take their nine-year-old twins towards the summit.

WEATHER

Mountaineer dies on Europe’s Mont Blanc despite rescue attempts

A French mountaineer died close to the summit of Mont Blanc on Friday after rescuers made several attempts to get to him in a violent storm.

Mountaineer dies on Europe's Mont Blanc despite rescue attempts
A picture taken from a helicopter on August 7th, 2020 shows the Planpincieux glacier of the Grandes Jorasses, on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif, with the Courmayeur village in the background, Val Ferret, northwestern Italy.  Andrea BERNARDI / AFP

The man, in his forties, was climbing Europe’s highest peak when he lost his way and got stuck at 4,800 metres (15,700 feet), assailed by “the storm, the wind, the cold,” rescuer André-Vianney Espinasse told AFP.

He called for help on Thursday evening.

Several helicopters attempted to rescue him but couldn’t get to him due to the weather, Espinasse said.

As a result, one helicopter dropped rescuers off lower down, at 3,200 metres, forcing them to climb the rest of the way at night.

At two in the morning, after reaching a refuge and waiting for the weather to ease, they climbed further into heavy winds.

They found the man some two hours later, suffering from severe hypothermia.

But “at 5.30, in awful winds, the mountaineer suffered a cardiac arrest,” said Espinasse.

A fresh attempt by a helicopter to lift the victim off the mountain failed once again due to the high winds.

The rescuers then decided to leave the body and get out of “this extremely dangerous area”.

A rescue helicopter from neighbouring Italy eventually managed to lift the body off the mountain.

“Going solo on high mountains should really be avoided due to all the dangers involved,” Espinasse said.

Mont Blanc is between the regions of Aosta Valley in Italy and Savoie and Haute-Savoie in France

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