This decision aims to reduce death and accidents on Mont Blanc.
The climb of Mont Blanc by its "normal" route will be restricted from the summer of 2019 for mountaineers without a guide.
According to Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais “It’s a tough decision but a very good one, because Mont Blanc is a climb unlike any other. You have to be prepared,”.
The number of mountaineers allowed to cross the Royal Route was more than 300 a day, despite the increasing risk of falling rocks, as higher temperatures released more ground at high altitudes.
In addition, 16 climbershave died this season, the main problem being that mountaineers do not recognize the real danger of the mountain and are poorly prepared.
Some mountaineers are disrespectful and climb without even reserving a place in a shelter, you can read more here.
According to the Telegraph, a section of the Goûter ridge near the top is so dangerous that it is nicknamed the “corridor of death”.
The mayor of Saint-Gervais has been trying for several years to limit the number of people. He declared that "I am proud to announce that in 2019 Mont Blanc will no longer be crowded."
But he wanted to clarify that "This is not about punishing mountaineers but simple common sense: we want the number of people setting out on Mont Blanc to correspond to the number of places available in refuges.”
From next year climbers without guides must pick up a “free” permit from the tourism office to prove they have booked a place in a refuge on a given day. "We will distribute a document to mountaineers, it is a form of license."
Mountain gendarmes are mulling forming a “white brigade” to enforce the new rules.
The mayor also wants to impose fines on climbers attempting to climb without adequate equipment.
The mayor of Chamonix denounces this decision
The mayor of Chamonix, Eric Fournier is furious and affirms that he had not been informed of this “unilateral” decision.
He believes that “The consequences of a decision that takes into account only one mountainside could prove dramatic,”
Limiting the numbers on the Royal Route could increase the risk of hikers to attempt “technically more difficult” and dangerous routes.
On the other side Mr. Peilleux affirms that "Instead of reacting with pride and jealousy, I’d like the Chamonix mayor to join this system and extend it to the Chamonix routes if he shares this vision of respecting the mountain,".
The new decision was announced after a series of meetings between local officials, France’s mountain police brigade, the French mountaineering federation and guide associations.