• Matthew Paul Disney and his rowing machine. Credit: Facebook
    Matthew Paul Disney and his rowing machine. Credit: Facebook

The mayor of Chamonix in the French Alps has urged French President Emmanuel Macron to act against "wackos" climbing the nearby Mont Blanc, after a series of incidents including a British tourist dumping a rowing machine on the famous mountain.

Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex said a member of Britain's "Royal Commandos" hauled the exercise machine up the mountain for a charity challenge over the weekend but couldn't bring it back down and left it in an emergency hut situated at 4,362m.

Matthew Paul Disney, a Royal Marine veteran, attempted carrying the 2.5m, 26kg rowing machine up to the 4,809 msummit on his back.

After reaching a shelter at 4,418m, the weather window he had been given lasted seven to eight hours less than planned, leaving visibility at just 50m.

"I spoke to others and I then turned around. Safety is paramount to me. Even more so for others and the fact that I was carrying the rowing machine. I made a decision that the safety of others' lives was more paramount. I went down to place the rower in the shelter," he said.

Mr Disney said he already had plans in place to retrieve the machine and had been in contact with the manager of the shelter. He said he had found the appropriate team to collect it but he was confident he had the skills to bring it down himself.

"I've been to 13 countries' highest mountains with the rowing machine. I have appreciation for nature and mountains as a whole. I'm not there to make a mockery of the mountain. I do feel like the mayor has blown this out of proportion. My intentions were to raise awareness of causes for veterans."

It's not the first time that a bizarre object has been left on a mountain:

  1. In 2006, a piano was found within 200 metres of the peak of Ben Nevis in Scotland
  2. In 2011, a 4x4 vehicle was found near the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales
  3. In 2013 the remains of an octopus were found on England's highest peak, Scafell Pike

For hikers, the most famous walk in the Mont Blanc area is the Tour du Mont Blanc. It circles the Mont Blanc massif, covering a distance of 170km with 10km of ascent/descent and passes through parts of Switzerland, Italy and France.

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