The massacre continues on M. White

11/11/2017 16:27 - 11/11/2017 16:31 #1502 da Flavio melindo
Luciano Rat has been batting for years to end the massacre that occurs each year in the Gouter Canal on the normal French Way to M. White. Now this article has appeared on "Montagna.TV" with his comments on it. Will it be heard sooner or later?

It is true that "there is no end to the worst": on the Goûter's death channel (normal French at Mont Blanc) continues the massacre with the utmost indifference of who should take action and instead assists inert and maximum, offers hot cushions.
Here is the title of a news release published on September 28 from the "Montagna, tv" site:

End of season at Mont Blanc, between accidents and bans: a budget.
And this is the text:

"The Prefect of Haute-Savoie Pierre Lambert gathered yesterday the top mountain operators, from rescue to the guides, with the aim of reasoning together on the incidents that took place in the summer season just past the Mont Blanc massif on the French side.
This summer, there were dead 11 and two missing on the two most popular routes to climb Mont Blanc: a very high budget, comparable to that of 1998 and 2008, when the dead were 15.
On the other hand attempts to limit the damage to the people there have been, and discussed this summer's decree imposing minimum equipment for mountaineers who wanted to climb Mont Blanc. Decree that raised jerky answers from the sport world (see Kilian Jornet).

Another important point, which concerns all those who will decide to face Mont Blanc on the French side, is the reflection they have begun to make the chair of the guides of Saint-Gervais, Pascal Chapelland and the director of the department of Ensa, François Marsigny . You are in fact trying to lighten Goûter's way to Mont Blanc and return this to its original difficulty. The two will try to figure out whether it will be worthwhile to remove some fixed cables that help climb the Goûter after arriving with the Nido dell'Aquila train and then lighten the cables on Goûter's crest at Mont Blanc. A stretch that is often considered as a hiking route by mountaineers. "

Per chi non è informato su quanto si è verificato finora su questa via “normale” francese al Monte Bianco, ricordo queste cifre impressionanti tratte dal mio Dossier “Lo scandalo de canalone del Gouter” dell’agosto 2015:

- 1l 1990 and 2011, 291 mountaineers were rescued in 254 incidents that caused 74 deaths and 180 wounded: 12 per year on average, of which 4 was dead and 9 was injured.

I did not find any updated stats prior to 1990 and above all after 2011 but still it's easy to think that in 27 years, from 1990 to today, there have been at least one hundred deaths and more than 200 injured. There is no other mountain in the world that reaches this dramatic record.

And, in the face of these scary figures, which the French authorities do? I can not really understand how Prefects, Statutory Auditors, Presidents, Directors, etc. can be so unconscious and inconsistent in their "reflections". Is it so much in these times that the "precautionary principle" is these interpretations that these French authorities give of this sacrosanct principle?

Once again, the ineffable Mayor of Saint-Gervais, Jean Peillex, distinguished himself by declaring "indignant"And he said - as he does every year "Someone has to say enough to these absurdities", but this year it has taken a formidable initiative, stumped by all the media: it issued an "order" setting rules for climbing along the "Voie royale", the normal way to White in the territory of Saint-Gervais, providing that both the municipal bureaucrats, the gendarmerie and the municipal police, in addition to the commander of the Rescue Center, are required to respect, recalling that - "The Mont Blanc, if it is serious after a mountains and a vache": very beautifull!
E cosa prevede questa “risolutiva” (secondo lui) ordinanza? ; udite, udite:
"That every aspirant to the White Peak should have with him, cap, sunglasses, ski mask (Sic!) And sunscreen, goretex warm clothes, mountain trousers and overprints, mountaineering shoes, crampons, hugging with the kits to get out of crevasse, rope, ice ax, gps or compass altimeter. "

Following this incredible "ordinance" it was not possible to banish the irony and in fact, a few days later, Kilian Jornet Burgada, a Spanish champion of ultratrail and ski-mountaineering, was photographed naked on top of White to protest against these crazy impositions, and on his tweet he asked this question: "If you climb from the Italian side then it is legal? ...".

Burgada's breakthrough was perhaps too playful, but many mountaineers, and I amongst them, do not accept that Peillex may have considered a herd (les vaches precisely) of unconscious bereavement.
I know, for having run through them, 9 climbs and / or descents for Mont Blanc, and twice that Goûter has dropped off, which is the fastest route in case of bad weather or other obstacles, and in both times I witnessed accidents one of which is deadly. For this reason, for years, I continue to denounce this scandal, and I wrote the Dossier I have distributed to Italy and France by sending it to Club Alpinas, Associations, Magazines, Sites and above all to the French authorities. The feedback was nil by the French side and encouraged by the Italian side.

I really can not understand how Prefects, Mayors, Presidents, Directors, guides, etc. can be so unconscious and inconsistent in their "reflections". He's hanging around on the "precaution principleand "are these the interpretations that the competent French authorities (?) give of this sacrosanct principle?

At this point, after the incongruous "reflections" and the grungy "ordinance" above, I let myself take seriously into account the conclusions of this dossier. After two years, nothing has been done: the different hypotheses of solutions proposed were not taken into account, which were not exhaustive but they were just an incentive to look for and propose others, possibly launching an international call. Here it is not money but political will and ideas:

"... primary goal - I wrote in 2015 - in the decision to solve once and for all, this yearly problem that has been dragged for two centuries is not the cost of the solution that will be adopted but the safeguarding of human life: this is the categorical imperative that everything must be subordinate to: one life justifies any expense... ".

Nor was anything done in the "Operational Plan" I had proposed to begin with some action, but the Chairman of the Guides and the Director of ENSA meanwhile "... will try to figure out whether it will be worth or not to remove some fixed cables that help climb the Goûter after arriving with the train to the Nido dell'Aquila and then lighten the cables on the Goûter crest at Mont Blanc ... "vE is not a joke.

(Rat Luciano)
Last edit: 11 / 11 / 2017 16: 31 by Flavio melindo.

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12/11/2017 22:21 #1506 da Raffaele Morandini
What I find incomprehensible is that the Refuge du Gouter has been renewed and expanded, with costs, I imagine high, given the high altitude, and the issue of Couloir du Gouter was not taken into account.

I understand the design difficulties (while there is no excuse for the costs) but in the 2017 I can not believe that a solution to this problem can not be found. There is no ethics that can stand the black statistic of this path. At the bottom there are continuous railroads, new cable cars, and widening the shelters. I would not be shocked to know that in order to avoid death, some engineering artifice is being built. After all, human life should be a universal value shared by everyone. Here, then, there are accidents, often dictated by fatality. Certainly, the season, the timetable, and the climatic factor play an important role, but the statistics underline a certain incident of events. How to say, a sort of Russian roulette. There is no mountaineer prepared to escape the fate. There are also first-rate mountaineers who use it as a way of descent, after they have climbed the White pillars. As well as passing alpine guides. In short, the risk is for everyone, it is objective, and it is not nice.

I'm not an engineer, but I think a solution like the one that the Swiss adopt for the crumbling trails (see the one in EuropeHutte, with trains inside a tunnel), whose track is made to pass through the narrow tunnels (a sort of metal pipe) or, a Tibetan bridge that by-passes the area can be realized ... it's just a matter of political will, I think.


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13/11/2017 09:02 #1508 da Flavio melindo
It is much simpler and less expensive to equip the right orangular side of the canal ... You can read all the possible solutions in the Ratti dossier presented at the time on Mountcity ( ).

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13/11/2017 21:13 #1510 da Raffaele Morandini
At the time, I had read - and shared several points - the Dossier of Luciano Rat. Of course the solution of the equipped route would be the simplest. However, the important thing is that something is accomplished, because it is not good to read the victim bulletin every year.

It is true that mountaineering has the inherent risk, and that everyone should be aware of it. It is also true that climbing up the Mont Blanc "do not order the doctor" as they say, but it is also true that it is the highest mountain in the Alps and therefore the most sought after. So crowding is understandable. White is a bit of a symbol.

Other normal pathways are also without objective dangers. The normal Italian would be the relatively safer one, but with climate change it is becoming risky as the others. Except for the infamous Gouter Canal, the normal one would be the safest. It is therefore desirable to have an intervention aimed at resolving the problem, which, then, is paradoxically "small", as much as the trait.

What puzzled me is the incongruity of having reshaped a high altitude refuge and doing absolutely nothing for the dangerous access.


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06/03/2018 20:29 #1523 da Paul Brunatto
Document sent to me by Luciano Ratto:
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07/03/2018 23:06 #1524 da Raffaele Morandini
It would seem that something starts to move .... thanks to the perseverance of our Honorary President Luciano Ratto.
Let's hope!


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