The pitches just below the top of the spur are steeper ice than the famous fin of snow leading up to the Rognon. Wouldn't have wanted approach shoes in the conditions I saw (which, I take it, were pretty typical). I mean, it's low angle ice for ice climbing; but, on the other hand, it's pretty freaking steep ice for "approach-shoeing"!
Glad they are safe. Agree with Donini that people can go for it however they wish, and also that they should not expect or depend on rescues. Also agree that people should try to be "responsible" when their actions might put others at risk (e.g., SAR, though in this case that's not really an issue).
The rescue from your link happened in Italy (Aosta Valley). The Valdotain SAR function as the article states, charging for a rescue if in a non life threatening situation (does not mean the rescued party has to be injured just that injury or death is a real possibility if not rescued).
There is indeed a current debate in France and in the French Alps especially as to whether or not to charge for "unnecessary rescues," but as of now people who are rescued are not billed.
French Alpine Club (CAF) is not expensive, roughly 25 € per year, but only available to members at this price.
This insurance covers rescues in other European countries as well as any treatment or care related to an accident.