Authorities in the Haute-Savoie region of France have extended the period of temporary access restriction to August 1st on the popular Goûter Route/Normal Route up Mont Blanc as a result of overcrowding. Only climbers with pre-booked accommodation at the Goûter hut will be permitted to attempt the route in an effort to resolve its overcrowding issue.
The restrictions were initially proposed to be in place for a week, but will now be enforced until August 1st, according to a French news report. During this period, access to the summit of Mont Blanc via this route, beyond the Tête-Rousse Glacier, is only granted to those who can provide evidence of a reservation at the Goûter refuge. Details of the restriction is provided in French on the Goûter refuge website (PDF at top).
The hut's capacity of 120 climbers is frequently exceeded, posing 'safety and public order risks.' However, people without a reservation but who are 'in a state of distress' can be accommodated 'under the principle of solidarity in the mountains,' according to the PDF.
The mayor of St Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex, has frequently intervened in activities on the mountain. Last year he imposed a minimum equipment by-law concerning climbers on the Goûter route, following a spate of deaths due to ill-preparedness. Mr Peillex has threatened closure of the refuge if measures are not taken to control the risks of overcrowding.