A French politician has hit back at claims he changed the angle in a photograph to make the his ascent of an icy summit in the Alps seem more perilous.
Éric Woerth, a senior right-of-centre MP, insisted the picture he tweeted of his climb up the Aiguille d’Argentiere was genuine and said he was astonished French media had judged mocking of him on social media newsworthy.
One tweeter discovered two people in the background who appeared to be walking upright at a 90 degree angle from the snow covered mountain.
Others pointed out that the zip of Woeth’s jacket was at a strange angle if he was climbing upwards.
Woerth held two ministerial posts when Nicolas Sarkozy was the president and is currently president of the Finance Commission in the French national assembly.
When Woerth challenged Twitter users to contact the mountain guide who had taken the photo, the social network exploded. “I’m the glacier and I can confirm that Mr Woerth climbed me,” wrote one. Another added: “I’m the green cord and I helped with this climb…”
One tweet showed Woerth taking part in the moon landing.
Mountain guide Jean-Franck Charlet insisted the photograph was genuine. “I am the guide who accompanied Eric Woerth,” he wrote on Twitter. “This photo is 100% real, even if the slope at 45 degrees appears a little steeper than it is in reality. This slope is not a simple one … it’s one that has been the site of numerous accidents in the past.”
He said Woerth was “an excellent Alpinist” who had made a number of big ascents, including the Eiger, the Cervin and the Grandes Jorasses.
“I am astonished that a simple photograph has sparked so many critical and ironic comments from internet users and climbers, comments widely taken up by our great national media … who have simply picked this up easily and without any professionalism made no effort to contact the person who took the photo and by doing so establish the truth,” Charlet said.