British commando leaves rowing machine 4,300m up France’s Mont Blanc

British commando leaves rowing machine 4,300m up France’s Mont Blanc

British commando sparks fury in France after leaving his rowing machine 4,300m up France’s Mont Blanc after carrying it to the summit to raise money for charity

  • Marine vet. Matthew Disney forced to abandon machinery during charity climb
  • He had been climbing Mont Blanc in the Alps with rowing machine on his back
  • However weather took unexpected turn and he had to leave it at the summit 
  • He insists he will go up and fetch it, while angry local French authorities have threatened to ‘send the bill to the British Embassy’  

A former British commando has infuriated French authorities after he abandoned his rowing machine at the summit of Mont Blanc. 

Royal Marine Veteran Matthew Paul Disney set out on a charity climb on Friday, August 30 and made it to the top of the mountain, which is the highest in the alps, towering 4,808m above sea level.  

On his back the ex-Marine, who is described as ‘an elite fitness enthusiast’ and ‘global adventurer’, carried a 2.5m long unbalanced Concept 2 rowing machine. 

The climb was to raise money for charities for ex-British soldiers suffering from PTSD.

A former British commando has infuriated French authorities after he abandoned his rowing machine at the summit of Mont Blanc

Royal Marine Veteran Matthew Paul Disney set out on a charity climb on Friday, August 30 and made it to the top of the mountain, which is the highest in the alps, towering 4,808 m above sea level

An avid climber, ex-Marine Matthew Disney (pictured) is no stranger to grueling mountain climbs and has previously mastered Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, all with the rowing machine on his back

He insisted he was forced to make an executive decision to leave his rowing machine at the top of the mountain for safety reasons, rather than due to exhaustion, but angry local authorities have reportedly said they will ‘send the bill to the British Embassy’.  

Once he and his fellow climber reached the summit, Disney told MailOnline the so-called ‘weather window’ came seven or eight hours earlier than expected, significantly reducing their visibility on the climb down.  

‘We got a weather report that we were safe as houses until 12. Our turnaround time was 12 anyway. But by 4pm you needed to be off that mountain. The clouds come in and the wind picks up. 

‘We turn around at 8.19 and it was an absolute white-out. An absolute full-on whiteout,’ he said. 

‘There were 212 other people [at the summit] who I had to take into consideration.’

Once he and his fellow climber reached the summit, Disney told MailOnline the so-called ‘weather window’ came seven or eight hours earlier than expected, significantly reducing their visibility on the climb down

Disney explained how they had originally meant to be a team of four – however two people pulled out last minute, adding another two hours to their descent.  

After consideration, he decided to leave his machine in an emergency shelter at the top of the summit in order to make it down the mountain safely.  

‘I made the executive decision, because the time was ticking and I was sleep deprived, I could not put other people’s lives at risk,’ he said. 

Bringing the rowing machine down from the mountain will reportedly cost the local municipality $1,800 and the mayor of St. Gervais has warned he will ‘send the bill to the British Embassy,’ according to local media. 

But Mr Disney insists he had always planned to return to the summit to collect his machinery. 

‘It was not my intention to make a mockery of the mountain.

‘This is a £700 piece of equipment, not a piece of litter,’ he told MailOnline. 

An avid climber, Mr Disney is no stranger to grueling mountain climbs and has previously mastered Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, all with the rowing machine on his back.

His climb was in aid of Rock 2 Recovery, a charity which helps ex-servicemen work through issues such as PTSD, and The Royal Marines Charity (RMA). 

He has set up a JustGiving page for those who wish to donate.  

 

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