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31 May, 2019 19:55

Mont Blanc climbs restricted after fatal accident, will ‘crowded’ Everest be next? (PHOTOS)

Mont Blanc climbs restricted after fatal accident, will ‘crowded’ Everest be next? (PHOTOS)

Climbers looking to scale the highest mountain peak of the Alps may have to put their plans on hold. After a fatal accident on the slopes of Mont Blanc, French authorities have placed new restrictions on a popular climbing route.

A 25-year-old Slovak national fell to his death Friday near a point on Mont Blanc known as ‘Eagle’s Nest’. First responders were unable to reach the man in time.

The young man’s lethal plunge, and 15 similar cases last year, prompted local French authorities to require that climbers book lodging at one of a handful of refuge sites on the mountain, a rule that will be enforced for the remainder of the climbing season.

Those who violate the rule could face two years in prison and a penalty of up to 300,000 euro ($335,000).


“Mountaineers will no longer be able to access the itinerary without holding a reservation at the refuges at the Goûter, Head-Rousse or Eagle's Nest,” said the prefect of the Haute-Savoie region, Pierre Lambert, on Friday.

“Overcrowding of accommodation” on the mountain – which attracts some 25,000 climbers yearly – has led to security and “health risks,” the prefect added.

The new rule also comes after several recent fatalities in Mount Everest’s “death zone,” where overcrowding and traffic jams have ramped up the dangers posed to climbers.


Despite calls from authorities to turn back, hundreds remain lined up on the mountain, eager to have their turn at scaling the summit. As Everest generates increasing interest from tourists around the world, many who show up to climb the mountain are inexperienced alpinists.

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Nepalese officials, citing dire safety concerns after 11 deaths on the mountain this year, recently mulled imposing new rules of their own.

“Certainly there will be some change in the expedition sector,” an official with Nepal’s tourism department, Mira Acharya, told the New York Times. “We are discussing reforming some issues, including setting criteria for every Everest hopeful.’’

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