Overcrowding on the mountain has again been severe this summer. AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES
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French police on Mont Blanc duty try to keep climbers in lineStanding outside their yellow hut on a ridge 3,200 meters above sea level, two French gendarmes peer through binoculars at a group of foreign climbers making their way across a scree-littered stretch on what has become one of the deadliest routes to the top of Mont Blanc. "Rocks, rocks!" one of the climbers suddenly yells, prompting them all to scurry for shelter in the Gouter corridor, on the most popular route to the summit of Europe's highest peak.Last month, authorities began turning away climbers who did not have reservations at the 120-bed Gouter refuge, which has been overrun by climbers who have found the challenge too exhausting.The highly popular "Royal Route" up Mont Blanc is not considered a very technical climb, but officers say people can still quickly find themselves in over their heads while attempting the 4,810-meter peak.
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