The new base camp at Tête Rousse was a necessity
The new base camp was inaugurated with the purpose of both preserving the environment and protecting the visitors during the summer rush.
"People were coming in and pitching their tent. There were no quotas. There could be up to 60 tents", said Haute-Savoie prefect Pierre Lambert, who visited the site on Thursday.
Indeed, the mountain has been overcrowded in recent years.
Allowing visitors to set up their tents wherever they want leads to the overpopulation of Mont-Blanc that is bad for both mountain and man. People had no access to garbage cans, so the trash began piling up in the Mont-Blanc massif. And reckless mountaineers risked setting up their camp in areas exposed to falling rocks.
"Today, there are good conditions of hygiene, cleanliness and safety. Even if this cannot replace information, education and good citizenship, we protect both the site and mountaineers", says Pierre Lambert.
Sanitary facilities have been installed nearby and the occupants of the tents can go to the refuge to eat.
For the Mayor of Saint-Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex: "The goal is that the mountain remains accessible while preserving it".
The new Tête Rousse base camp cost 150,000 euros. The camp was funded by the French Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs, which also manages the camp.
To this sum, it is necessary to add 50,000 € helicopter rotations to route the materials on-site, at nearly 3,200 meters above sea level.
The new camp is monitored 24/7
A guard from the French Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs will be monitoring the new Tête Rousse camp all the time.
The guard will control the whereabouts and identify risky behaviour, but not only.
"It's also a lot of advice", says guard Edgar Nectoux. "The human contact allows to put them in confidence before starting the ascent".
The new Tête Rousse base camp will be open until fall.
After that, the tents will be dismantled and the terraces will spend the winter under the snow.
When it comes to the refuges in the Mont-Blanc area, reservations are mandatory. Book your seat on www.ffcam.fr/reserver-votre-refuge-en-ligne.html