Sunday 18 March 2018

French mayor near Mont Blanc to fine ill-prepared climbers

French mayor near Mont Blanc to fine ill-prepared climbers
(AFP 03/18/18)

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

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.

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.

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