This is unfair on many fronts, but the biggest one is those incurring rescue costs often don't contribute to the local tax base in the first place.
People should be able to take an adventure if they want, but they should accept the financial risks associated with this.
A deposit system is 100% fair to everyone involved.
"Mont Blanc deaths spark calls to end ‘free-for-all’"(2014): https://www.thelocal.fr/20140717/mont-blanc-climbing-alps-da...
"...With figures quoting up to 100 deaths each year in the entire Mont Blanc range, some consider it one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. But it's a reality that many see as entirely avoidable...
...It’s on the same list that includes going to Mont Saint Michel and getting a tan on one of France’s beaches and the whole thing reminds one of a large amusement park that goes by the name of Disneyland,” Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of the town of Saint-Gervais which sits at the foot of the mountain, told The Local. “Mont Blanc is sold like it’s a simple trek, but in reality it’s a high-altitude act of mountaineering...”"
"French rescuers refuse to airlift Mont Blanc climber" (2014): https://www.thelocal.fr/20140709/mont-blanc-rescue-climber-a...
"Fed up French officials refused to airlift a Polish climber off the slopes of Mont Blanc, when he called for help after deciding he didn't want to walk down. The local French mayor blasted 'ad hoc' alpinists for being like 'urban consumers'."
I notice this too. North America has a "presumption of safety" that leads to some weird behaviour.
They meant it, as they always do over there. Even so, some English speaking tourist went right to the edge, as there were no fences so they presumed it safe
It's a trend among French mayors since tourists are back after 2yrs of covid. They want to get rid of the crowd while still benefiting from high-income tourism.
In the end this is allowing only rich people to enjoy mountain / wild-life.
I see it as a big wake-up call that this isn't a walk in the park. I hike, nothing hazardous but even then I see plenty of unprepared idiots.
Basically due to climate change (and especially the current heat wave) it got very dangerous to climb the mountain and they don't want tax payers to repeatedly have to pay for rescue and burial costs of climbers. So there is a deposit now.
Now, in French the word used is 'caution' , which means 'security deposit' (like a renter would pay their landlord, for instance) and makes it beyond doubt that it is refundable.
Yes, it might imply it's refundable but none of the (English) stories have made that explicit - you can deposit into a common fund to pay for something (such as rescues or funerals) with no expectation of refund.
> Now, in French the word used is 'caution' , which means 'security deposit'
That does make it more explicit, thanks!
Edit: OK, they have now corrected the title.
"French mayor threatens €15,000 deposit to climb Mont Blanc"
Not really the same thing.
If the problem is recovery + funeral expenses
Still a massive difference and deterrence level compared to putting down 15k euros.
Of course, there are some things they won't cover - if you're skydiving you have to either be qualified, or undergoing instruction. And it might be a bit expensive - if you're doing scrambling at 7000m in nepal, it'll cost you £150 or so.
Any travel insurance I have seen always excluded all kinds of sports which is also mountain climbing. They exclude everything that requires specialistic gear.
I also work in insurance industry as a software dev - nothing that I have seen would let insure someone who would go under-prepared. One could fill in form that he goes fully prepared but once lied insurance company won't pay anything.
Basically they will sell you insurance if you are fully prepared and basically you don't have any chance of claiming insurance.
There's loads of specific insurance for these sorts of activities. You won't find it covered by most regular providers but there are oodles of companies out there that cover most extreme sports activities.
A quick google found this for example: https://www.snowcard.co.uk/mountaineering-insurance
But if you're the sort of person to go up a serious mountain in flip-flops you're probably not thinking about insurance anyway!
You can find an insurer for everything. You disclose to them what you want to do and they set a price. It is up to you then to figure out if it's worth paying for it or not.
> I also work in insurance industry as a software dev - nothing that I have seen would let insure someone who would go under-prepared. One could fill in form that he goes fully prepared but once lied insurance company won't pay anything.
If you break the terms of the contracts you won't get covered of course. Same as with car insurance where you won't get coverage if you were DUI.
Cliimbing to the top of the highest mountain in the EU will probably not count as "winter sports", but as extreme sports. Winter sports will cover skiing and alike, though.
Honestly, as someone that has climbed Mont Blanc twice, what is necessary is not more red tape, but to actually enforce the current equipment rules at the Gouter. And based on the importance that mountaineering brings to the area, it wouldn't hurt to go and knock down the loose rock in the Gouter couloir.