0110 GMT May 06, 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the new rules during a visit to Chamonix near Mont Blanc in the French Alps, the Guardian reported. Macron toured the beleaguered Mer De Glace glacier, which has shrunk drastically over the past two decades, according to weather.com.
“What we see with this glacier melting is irrefutable evidence of global warming,” Macron said.
The glacier is on the slopes of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in Western Europe. Macron called the fight to protect the area's biodiversity "the battle of the century."
Under the new rules, the French government will designate a protected zone around Mont Blanc and establish a new agency called the Office of Biodiversity, according to the Guardian. Climbers will have to show proof that they have planned their ascent, have reserved places to stay along their route and that they are carrying specific equipment.
The mountain sits on the border of France and Italy and also reaches into Switzerland.
Restrictions were put into place last year to improve safety, including requiring climbers to have a permit, Chamonix News reported.
At least 20,000 people attempt to climb the 15,776-foot summit every summer, according to The New York Times, and melting caused by warmer temperatures is making it more treacherous. More than 100 people died on one stretch of the route between 1990 and 2017. At least 16 died trying to summit in 2018, according to Chamonix News.
The new wave of rules comes after a local mayor called out climbers who leave trash on the mountain and ignore rules already in place.
“It is all well and good to worry about the Amazon rainforest, but to ignore what is happening on Mont Blanc and to allow this disrespect to continue is intolerable,” Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of Saint Gervais, said last year.