Shoeless climber helicoptered off France's Mont Blanc

Auberge de la Maison, sitting right at the foot of the snow-covered Mont Blanc, France. A climber who had his shoes stolen at a refuge on Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, had to be rescued by helicopter on Monday, police told AFP. -- PHO
Auberge de la Maison, sitting right at the foot of the snow-covered Mont Blanc, France. A climber who had his shoes stolen at a refuge on Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, had to be rescued by helicopter on Monday, police told AFP. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

GRENOBLE, France (AFP) - A climber who had his shoes stolen at a refuge on Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, had to be rescued by helicopter on Monday, police told AFP.

Mountain rescue authorities from Chamonix, on Mont Blanc, came to the man’s aide as he was left helpless at the Gouter refuge, which stands nearly 4,000m above sea level.

“When we find people in that situation, we extract them by helicopter. We don’t leave them in their socks. It’s pretty dangerous,” explained mountain rescue chief Jean-Baptiste Estachy.

The Gouter refuge is on the route used by most climbers as they ascend Mont Blanc. The return requires several hours walking through snow down into the valley.