“In the case where there is a mountain, people have nothing to do in Mont Blanc”The Mayor of Saint-Gervais (Haute-Savoie), Jean-Marc Belleix, estimated on Saturday 6 August in franceinfo, after the Goûter and Tête Rousse shelters were closed until further notice. The numerous rock falls associated with drought present a deadly danger to experienced mountaineers who venture to the summits.
franceinfo: Why did you decide to close these two residences?
Jean-Marc Belleix: This is the third time I’ve made such a decision since I became mayor, in 2003, in 2015, and thus in 2022. As our message of prevention is not heard by dozens of individual mountaineers and the corporate guideline message is not heard either, The next step was to close the shelters to show the candidate mountaineers, or rather the urban mountaineers, those who do not know the symbols of the mountains, coming especially from the countries of Eastern Europe, should postpone their ascent to Mont Blanc and turn around. Previously, the shelters were open, and they said to themselves “I am still crossing it, and if I die, it is not dangerous and I will get to the shelter.”
Are the candidates for the rise of Mont Blanc ill-equipped to do so?
Some are not equipped. We turned into six Romans who wore shorts and bucket hats, no mountaineering gear, no tight boots, no ice ax, and no helmet. Yesterday he was a mountaineer from Eastern Europe with his hair in a Davy Crockett headdress, and his fox tail, and he was half-naked in shoes that weren’t even sneakers. These are the populations who defy recommendations and taboos. These should be punished, except that we cannot today, we have no text that would allow us to punish them. The idea of getting them to pay a €15,000 deposit that would match the costs of suicide launched, in a way.
“You want to kill yourself, I have no right to oppose it. Suicide is legal in France. On the other hand, 10,000 euros is the cost of the helicopter to pick up your body and 5,000 euros to bury it in the cemetery.”Jean-Marc Belleix, Mayor of Saint Gervais
Climbing Mont Blanc is for mountaineers, not for walkers in coaches. She was serious. You can lose your life there. It’s an important thing. We climb to 4800 meters above sea level. It takes preparation, acclimatization, you have to know the terrain, and take a guide. People are told that in the state they are in and the state the mountain is in, they have nothing to do in Mont Blanc. The gendarmes in the high mountains control those people who think they are mountaineers and who only go there to take a photo on Instagram.
The drought also has consequences for economic life in the mountains, particularly in agriculture: the grass is running out for the herds. Will farmers also have to adapt?
We have to stop believing that next year everything will be better, that everything will recover. Today, we are in a cycle of climate change – warming but also reduced rainfall and many things that play a role – and it is up to us to adapt and not believe that we will be able to press a button to relive what happened before. Suitable for agriculture, suitable for water, suitable for mountains. We have to adapt our behavior and stop believing that we are higher than God and the universe. For example, we will suggest that from July 10 to August 20 we can no longer go to Mont Blanc because it is not the time. The guides will take you to another place to enjoy the mountain. As for the flocks, they must adapt because they are always adapted to the climate. The Great Heat Wave of 2003 was 19 years ago, so we shouldn’t be waving the red rags today saying things are changing.
“We may have a short memory, but above all we don’t want to adapt, that’s the big problem we face in Western civilizations.”Jean Marc Belleix
We always think that next year we will do Mont Blanc again as we did 30 years ago and that the pastures will be as green as they were 20 years ago, but no, it will be the same, it is up to us to adapt and start getting smart.
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