Mont Blanc is neither a stadium nor an airport!

Mont Blanc Silence

On 8 and 9 July, an Italian athlete attempted a record that took him from Genoa to the summit of Mont Blanc in 14 hours, 42 minutes and 14 seconds. The previous record dates back to 2013, when the journey by bike and then on foot between zero and 4,810 m a.s.l. was completed in 16 hours, 35 minutes and 52 seconds. The first person to attempt this record, Marino Giacometti, took 23 hours to reach the summit in 1997.

You may either love or hate this type of achievements, torn between admiration for the sporting feat and the idea that it’s better to immerse yourself in the mountains and enjoy what they have to offer.
But what we certainly don’t like is the descent by helicopter! After breaking the record in less than 15 hours, the athlete called on a helicopter to bring him back down, in defiance of ethics and regulations…

News on Mont Blanc descent by helicopter

Being Europe’s highest peak is certainly no easy task for our iconic Mont Blanc. We’ve been trying to protect it for many years, but even now we are watching a helicopter pick up a sandwich man (for Korean e-cars…) at the top of Mont Blanc, so he does not have to descend on foot!
When are we finally going to protect this summit from harmful over-commercialisation?

The photos published in the online press1 show that it is highly likely that the private Italian helicopter landed in France to pick up our adventurer, but:

– Article L363-1 of the French Environment Code (Code de environnement) stipulates that “In mountain areas, disembarkation and embarkation of passengers by motorised aircraft for leisure purposes are prohibited, except at an aerodrome within the meaning of article L. 6300-1 of the Transport Code2;
– the Decree for the protection of natural habitats (Arrêté de protection des habitats APHN), adopted considering, among other things, “that it is imperative to restore to the ascent of Mont-Blanc its true Alpine value, by making people aware of the physical and moral test that this represents, the risks that it involves and the respect for the magical and magnificent place” and “that every effort should be made to ensure that the environment is preserved, that the spirit of the place is respected and that the conditions for ascent are safe for those who aspire to the summit“, has led to a tightening of the regulations governing overflights of Mont Blanc, with the creation of a restricted zone forbidding overflights of the summit (with a few exceptions: e.g. supplying mountain huts, rescue or public safety operations, when their mission does not allow them to bypass the area, aerial work).

The signatories therefore strongly condemn this procedure and call on the authorities to implement a genuine policy of limiting overflights throughout the Mont Blanc massif, in France over the entire Site classé (listed site) and not just around the summit, but also in a coordinated manner in Switzerland and Italy.

Furthermore, the signatories are going to refer the matter to the Prefect of Haute-Savoie and reserve the right to take legal action against offenders; moreover, in line with the commitment he has made to denounce all acts of this type, the mayor of Saint-Gervais has already decided to take the matter to court.

The Mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-BainsThe Mayor of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Vice President of Espace Mont-Blanc    
Mountain Wilderness FranceProMONT-BLANC
Mountain Wilderness ItaliaMountain Wilderness International