Overcrowding at high altitude
At 4,808 meters altitude or 15,774 ft, Mont-Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest peak of Western Europe.
According to The Atlantic, although the tallest in Europe, Mont-Blanc is not, from a technical standpoint, the most difficult to climb.
In fact, thelocal.fr states that Mont-Blanc is unlikely to cause any problems for experienced climbers.
Paradoxically, fifteen people died on Mont-Blanc last year.
As officials estimate that almost 30,000 people attempt to reach the summit every summer, there is no doubt that overcrowding is one of the culprits behind the fatalities happening yearly on Mont-Blanc.
Moreover, as guiding companies compare the climb to a "long walk" which anyone in a good physical condition can partake, Mont-Blanc became very popular and people tend to underestimate its perils.
In September 2018, the prefecture of Haute-Savoie decided to set a quota of maximum 214 mountaineers per day for the summer of 2019.
The decision was aimed at reducing death and accidents on Mont-Blanc.
Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais declared that it was "a tough decision but a very good one because Mont Blanc is a climb unlike any other. You have to be prepared”.
Moreover, as of the 1st of June 2019, a license is necessary to climb Mont-Blanc.
Climbers without guides must pick up a “free” permit from the tourism office to prove they have a bona fide place in a refuge on a given day.
In addition, a "White Brigade" was created to enforce the new rules.
According to Le Dauphine, the "White Brigade" of Saint-Gervais, which consists of three high mountain guides, together with the PGHM of Chamonix, checks daily the reservation documents in the refuges of the mountaineers who attempt to climb Mont Blanc.
At the moment, there were only a few people caught without a reservation. However, they were able to get accommodation in some of the refuges, as they still had room.
This will no longer be the case, as the refuges are almost fully booked on a daily basis from now on.
According to dw.com, climbers who are caught camping illegally risk a €300,000 ($335,000) fine and even a 2 years prison sentence.