The Mayor of Saint-Gervais in Haute-Savoie, Jean-Marc Peillex, is proposing an “insurance fee” by which Mont-Blanc climbers pay a deposit of 15,000€ to cover the costs of a potential rescue and other costs. In a press release, the mayor warned of the risks incurred by climbers heading for the summit of Mont Blanc in the middle of a heat wave. He proposes that these “candidates for death” pay a deposit of 15,000€.
Peillex has put his proposal forward as a warning to the “death candidates who want to access the summit of Mont Blanc.” The mayor as well as the Prefect of Haute-Savoie sounded the alarm in a statement. “Given the drought, the period of significant heat wave, the significant rock falls that make the crossing of the Goûter corridor extremely dangerous, access to the summit of Mont Blanc is strongly discouraged by the “royal way” of Saint-Gervais called the Goûter.”
The municipality of Saint-Gervais plans to take measures adapted to the irresponsibility of some and the risks they make rescuers run.Jean-Marc Peillex, Mayor of Saint-Gervais in Haute-Savoie
The mayor of Saint-Gervais angrily refers to “pseudo-alpinists” who defy the recommendations given. “On July 30th, a group of Romanians wanted to attempt the climb in shorts and sneakers. The loudspeaker of the PGHM helicopter had to tell them to turn back before crossing the Goûter couloir. They declared that they would return the next day.”
The idea of the mayor is to anticipate the cost of the rescue and burial costs. According to Peillex, the imprudent who will want to brave the recommendation – 50 at the end of July says Peillex – would have to pay 15,000€. Enough to cover the average cost of a rescue (10,000€) and the burial costs of the victim (5,000€).
Let’s be prepared for the costs of rescue and eventual burialJean-Marc Peillex, Mayor of Saint-Gervais in Haute-Savoie
CNN reports that on the Italian side of the mountain, the mayor of the ski resort town of Courmayeur, Roberto Rota, has described Peillex’s deposit plan as “surreal.” Rota told the daily Corriere della Sera that “the mountain is not a property. We can limit ourselves to reporting sub-optimal routes’ conditions, but asking for a deposit to climb to the top is surreal.”
The mayor of Saint-Gervais said to news outlet France 3 Auvergne Rhône-Alpes that “his proposal must be read in the second degree. I support the courageous decision of the guides to stop using the normal route at least until August 15. But it is necessary that everyone plays the game. The professionals as well as the guides but also each climber.”