| || Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, attracts 3,000 climbers every year. They make their approach via the Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit route of 13,110-foot (4,000-m) summits, or they climb via the Dôme du Goûter. Every day during the high season, 300 to 400 people crowd this glamorous peak. This heavy traffic, which is the chief economic resource of the valley below, threatens the site itself. A cleanup operation that lasted from 1999 to 2003 removed almost 12 tons of trash from the mountain. The high number of visitors also means an increase in health problems: half of those who attempt to reach the peak fail, and one-third return with frostbite, injuries, or serious illnesses.
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