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NEWS: Managing Mont Blanc - Mayor Acts in Face of Climate Change Risks

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 UKC News 08 Aug 2022

As mountain conditions continue to deteriorate in the European Alps, Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains - the administrating commune in which Mont Blanc is largely situated, shared with Courmayeur - has closed the Tête Rousse and Goûter huts on the mountain's popular normal route following consultation with local authorities, in an effort to deter climbers.

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In reply to UKC News:

Let's transfer this to N Wales: A Snowdonia National Park Authority spokesperson said: "Snowdon is stormed up by many climbers but also by pseudo-mountaineers whose attitude and practices are disrespectful of the natural environment, [and] basic rules of safety..." So let's close the Crib Goch ridge - or introduce permits.

The SNPA spokesperson said: "In all of the important tourist sites in the world, there are systems of quotas and controls (North American National Parks, Nepal, Kilimanjaro, Everest ... the Ardèche gorges, the Cassis creeks). They also exist for planes, museums etc. Why should an overcrowded route escape this, and who is having trouble controlling it?"

Post edited at 11:03
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 pec 10 Aug 2022
In reply to UKC News:

Its interesting that he talks of extending the season and suggests the lift access could run earlier. The lifts not running out of the regular season (historically) would be a disincentive to many but if they start them earlier then maybe we should just re-adjust when we climb there?

I've not climbed in the European Alps since 2017 and it was in a pretty alarming state then and have been thinking I might have to go in May or June next time.

In reply to pec:

It's changing very quickly. I'm not sure simple going earlier quite works, or at least not in the sense that June is the new August. Snow doesn't consolidate quicker than historically, nights are still short etc

 morpcat 10 Aug 2022
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

I think you have a very skewed judgement of risk of you think that's in any way a fair analogy. 

Unfortunately, the status of Mont Blanc as the highest peak in Western Europe means it can attract certain groups of climbers ("pseudo-climbers"?) who for various reasons, including the Dunning-Kruger effect, overestimate their own abilities and underestimate the objective hazards and risks of the route. Given that the sole aim of these groups is to stand on the summit, it seems reasonable to close an extremely hazardous route but leave open other routes that present fewer objective hazards (although require slightly more technical ability). None of that is true for, or bears a resemblance to, Crib Goch.

 pec 10 Aug 2022
In reply to MG:

Yes, perhaps what is happening is that the transition from winter to summer conditions is just happening faster but going when the temperatures are colder and there is more snow cover must be safer even if its harder work. Less chance of benightment in June than August as well.

I've climbed in the Alps in May a couple of times and it certainly was harder work, lots of breaking trail and precarious corniced snow crests (and not many lifts). On the other hand, if more people went earlier there would be more chance that someone had broken the trail for you!

 Steve Long 12 Aug 2022
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

This analogy is flawed because the mayor in Llanberis is not held personally liable for fatal accidents in his patch. Also, mountain guiding is a regulated industry in France. Rescue Services are very expensive in France whereas they are free in the UK. There are so many legal and political differences that interpreting this as a restriction on freedom that is analogous to the UK, even ignoring the fact that house size boulders aren't regularly trundling down from Crib Goch, is an over-simplification.   

 Steve Long 12 Aug 2022
In reply to morpcat:

Actually, a lot of those factors hold true for Snowdon as well, particularly in winter. But as I have explained elsewhere, the environmental, political and legal situation is certainly very different. 


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