France to tackle Mont Blanc overcrowding with daily cap on climbers
France will impose a daily cap of 214 climbers on Mont Blanc next year, one of several measures taken to limit overcrowding on Europe's highest peak, a local official said Tuesday.
Published: 5 September 2018 08:48 CEST
A group of mountaineers takes the 'Couloir du Gouter' on the 'Voie Royale" route to climb atop the Mont-Blanc peak on August 6, 2018. Photo: AFP
“It's a tough decision but a very good one, because Mont Blanc is a climb unlike any other. You have to be prepared,” Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex of Saint Gervais, the Alpine town where the most popular route to the top of the mountain begins, told AFP.
More than 300 people have been pitting their wits against the mountain each day this summer season despite the growing risk of rockfall as high temperatures thaw more ground at higher altitudes.
At least 16 have died so far this year, though just one has occurred on the busy “Royal Route”.
Police this summer began requiring aspiring climbers to have a reservation at one of the refuges on the route before letting them proceed.
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.
Published: 31 July 2021 13:30 CEST
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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