Pay for your funeral before you start! The mayor wants to keep reckless climbers away from Mont Blanc

Everyone knows that to reach the top of Mont Blanc, you have to earn it.

But now imagine having to leave a deposit of €15,000 to climb to the highest point in Europe in the event of a fatal accident: €10,000 to recover the body and an additional €5,000 for the funeral.

It’s the suggestion of the mayor of Saint-Gervais, a French village at the foot of Mont-Blanc, and it’s meant to discourage unwary climbers during the summer.

“It’s a way of attracting attention,” explains Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex. “Everyone must be aware that when there are jerks who break the rules, there are consequences. Human consequences for them, because they can die. But there are also human consequences for the rescuers, who will seek their corpse or who will help them”.

In Italy, reckless climbers pay

With the increase in rockfall in the summer, the danger to climbers is at its greatest. However, some climbers are determined to attempt the climb at all costs, ignoring the recommendations of local authorities.

The town hall of Saint-Gervais wants to reopen the debate on free mountain rescue, and wants to follow the example of the Aosta Valley in Italy on the other side of the border, where climbers receive an invoice for interventions relief needed because of their own carelessness.

“That does not prevent a real rescue from remaining free,” says Peillex. “Real help. But not those that result from taking risks or disobeying orders. So those, in Valle d’Aosta, when they are caught red-handed, in Valle d’Aosta, they pay.”

The mountain guide companies in Saint-Gervais and Chamonix have stopped taking clients up Mont Blanc until at least August 15.