According to a study by the Alpes 1 Radio Statio the number of people visiting high mountain areas is decreasing. They compared summer 2009 with 2008 and found that the number of people reserving places in high mountain refuges had dropped 5%. Experts blame poor weather early in the season.
The Glacier Blanc refuge in the Pelvoux recorded 600 fewer nights than normal. The French Alpine Club (CAF) for the Ecrins region confirms that this is part of a long term trend. CAF spokesman Jean-Louis Flandin says that walkers are less interested in long multiday tours and prefer walks that can be completed in a day.
Of course some of this may be down to the poor state of some refuges in France compared to Switzerland and Austria.