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British Climber Who Left Rowing Machine on Mont Blanc Sparks Outrage in France

News Hiking
by Eben Diskin Sep 4, 2019

You’d think the highest peak in the Alps, a mountain that should be climbed only by those with proper training and guidance, would only appeal to serious trekkers, but apparently it attracts quite a few “wackos,” too. Although it may be harsh, it’s the term used by Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint-Gervais, to describe some of the mountain’s visitors.

This weekend, for example, a British tourist abandoned a rowing machine in a shelter close to the mountain’s summit as part of a stunt. Hauling the equipment, which weighs 57 pounds, turned out to be too exhausting to take it back down.

Also this weekend, a German tourist climbed the mountain with his dog despite police warnings not to do so and reportedly came back down with bloody paws.

There was even an incident back in June where climbers illegally landed a small plane near the mountain’s summit and were only fined $42 for their deed. Now Peillex, outraged by the behavior of climbers, is calling on French President Emmanuel Macron to take action in an open letter, reports France Bleu.

“This situation has gone on long enough,” said Peillex, who implored Macron to “write and pass laws without delay that from 2020 would severely punish all these wackos who break the law, and restore peace to Mont Blanc.”

Although completely preventing foolish and disrespectful behavior on the mountain may be a tall order, steps have already been taken to curb the number of climbers who visit the mountain. In May, officials banned people from climbing the mountain unless they had booked a room in one of its three shelters.

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