French mayor urges President Macron to take measures against "wackos" climbing Mont-Blanc


In the light of recent events, including a 45-year-old Russian mountaineer who planned to climb Mont-Blanc with his young son (between 7 and 9), the mayor of Saint-Gervais urges President Emmanuel Macron to take measures against "wackos" climbing Mont-Blanc.

Matthew Disney attempted to climb Mont-Blanc with a rowing machine, photo source
The rowing machine left on Mont-Blanc had to be removed by helicopter, photo source

Russian mountaineer climbing Mont-Blanc with his young son

According to Le Dauphine, on Sunday morning, the 8th of September 2019, a 45-year-old Russian attempted to climb Mont-Blanc with his son, who was between 7 and 9 years old.

Fortunately, he was stopped at nid d'Aigle (2,300 m or 7,545 ft altitude), when they came out of the Mont-Blanc Tramway.

In addition to the very young age of the child, the weather was atrocious on Sunday. Moreover, the father had no reservation is a shelter, even though it is mandatory to have one when attempting to climb the Mont-Blanc summit.

"There is no regulation in France that prohibits access to summits for children or even pregnant women", declared Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of St. Gervais, for Le Dauphine.

However, there is common sense and endangering the lives of other people has always been forbidden.

British tourist abandons rowing machine on Mont-Blanc

It was the actions of the British tourist which enraged Jean-Marc Peillex and drove him to urge President Emmanuel Macron to take measures against “wackos” climbing Mont-Blanc.

According to BBC News, on Friday, the 30th of August 2019, a Royal Marine veteran from north-west England attempted to climb Mont-Blanc with a rowing machine.

His intent was to climb the summit and then row the 4,810 m (15,780 ft) to raise money for veterans.

But things seldom go on as planned. As he was close to reaching the summit, weather conditions got too bad to continue, so he had to abandon the exercise machine in an emergency hut situated at 4,362 m (14,311 ft).

The man, who said his name was Disney, caused an infuriating reaction in Jean-Marc Peillex. "With a name like that, you’d think he thought he was at an amusement park,” Peillex said in an open letter published on Sunday.

In the same open letter, the mayor of Saint-Gervais said that he would send the bill for the machine's removal - done via helicopter - to the British Embassy in Paris. The operation cost €1,800 (£1,642).

German tourist made the ascent with his dog

Over the same weekend, a German tourist made the ascent with his dog, despite the fact that he was warned against it by the police who patrol Mont-Blanc.

The tourist promised he would leave the dog at the shelter, but he did not follow through.

Instead, he sneaked out in the middle of the night and climbed the summit with his dog, which survived but returned with bloodied paws, according to photos posted on Peillex's Twitter account. (

Many other incidents happened this summer. Among them, Two Swiss climbers illegally landed their plane near the Mont-Blanc summit in June.

“This situation has gone on long enough!” said Peillex

Known for his long and tough fight done to protect Mont-Blanc, the mayor of Chamonix urged President Macron to take action to people misusing and disrespecting the mountain.

After managing to establish a legal quota of only 214 climbers per day and to inaugurate the mandatory license to climb Mont-Blanc, Jean-Marc Peillex wants the president to pass a law immediately to "punish those who break the law, and restore peace to Mont Blanc".

The huge popularity of Mont-Blanc combined with the rising temperature which caused the melting of the permafrost, the retreat of the glaciers and many collapses in Mont-Blanc, make Mont-Blanc even more dangerous. At least three climbers died this season on Mont-Blanc.

Should Mont-Blanc be reserved, beyond 3,000 m (9842 ft), for the sole practice of mountaineering?

This is the question of the survey launched by the mayor of Saint-Gervais yesterday evening.

You can vote here.

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