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Star French Alpinist Charged With Theft of Fixed Gear

Metal stakes added to Mont Blanc were removed and the situation has wound up in court

On Mont Blanc’s famous and very busy Goûter Route, metal stakes were added in an area where the glacier had become increasingly dangerous to pass. Legendary French climber and mountain guide Christophe Profit removed at least two of the metal stakes, which led to the mayor of Saint-Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex, pressing theft charges. It was on Peillex’s orders that the stakes be installed.

Profit claims that if climbers don’t have the skills to climb the route naturally then they should climb a safer one. In a report here, Profit is quoting saying, ‘“I removed these stakes to prevent amateur mountaineers without experience from taking unnecessary risks.” The case is in court until the start of June. If found guilty, Profit would have to pay 4,000 euros.

Classic alpine routes in the Alps are often altered to make them easier and to keep the flow of climbers moving. For example, the Cosmiques Arête on Aiguille du Midi has holes drilled for crampons on a rock slab.

In 1985, Profit soloed the three classic north faces of the Alps (Eiger, Matterhorn and Grandes Jorasses) in 24 hours. Three years later, he soloed all three in winter in less than 42 hours. Profit is one of the world’s most respected alpinists.