Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
mrefranklin

Avalanche at 13,000 ft on Lib Ridge on May 28, 2001

Recommended Posts

Hi Mike,

I think that given the rescue of climbers that this is a expense that is part of what Mr Jervis on KIRO 710 (1pm) says is part of the budget nationally for all rescues. The conclusion of the show was that there is other rescues that cost just as much as a high altitude rescue. Think of the boating rescues that cost just as much to the Coast Guard or the guy that smoked and started the fire--is he billed for the fire response? I think that if the climber(s) showed as blatent disregard for what is stated as the rules of climbing (your Rangers screen every one very well) then there should be a recovery of costs, but there are circumstances that if they are prepared, and there is a rescue, then this is part of operating costs. Think of the rescues that are incurred in a N Park like the Grand Canyon, where several people a year are rescued from dehidration.

My neighbor is one of those in the Chinook and they count this as part of their training (they love it). I think that if the group follows the rules enough, then this is part of what is the cost of doing something in a Ntl Park. I don't think that climbers should incur the costs unless they go out of bounds. I don't know the circumstances of the recent rescue, but being involved in rescues there hasn't been any that I have seen where the climbers are grossly negligent. I couldn't imagine asking for reimburesment for helping out. I have been rescued and I know that for me, you feel embarrased. Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you read those Morning Reports, every couple of days there's a rescue of some kind -- lost hikers, canoers, canyon explorers caught in flash floods... and, of course, the odd climber. Which of these should be required to carry rescue insurance or pay for their rescues?

Every time a climber needs a rescue this issue crops up, but when a berry picker gets lost and has half the King County search and rescue out looking for them for days, that's reported as a heartwarming news story about how "there are still heroes."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's probably worth noting that many of the Search and Rescue crowd are also climbers. Anyone hear about the massive search for a missing police dog last week? I'll bet a large minority of the search team are climbers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want rescue insurance join the AAC. I belive it is free with your membership. It is good for stateside rescues below a certain altitude. I think 20,000 feet. I also think it only covers costs not covered by something else.

Forceing rescue insurance is a bad idea. If you want it get it for yourself.

Mandatory recue insurance will only cause more idiots to take unclaculated risks, because a rescue would be mandatory. They know someone will come and get them. Presently the Park Service/Forest Service does not have a duty to rescue anyone.

------------------

Have a nice day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the current system. I definitely think that singling out climbers to foot the bill is an extreme prejudice that has largely been fueled by the way the media dramatizes everything. I also know that the costs of rescues that are usually quoted are misleading since the military writes off chopper rescues as training exercises and this money has already been allocated anyway.

I would not have a problem paying a small fee upfront as long as hikers, boaters etc.. also payed this fee. Since stupidity is subjective at best I don't think this should be used as a parameter for personal payment. My 1/50th of a dollar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just spoke with co-worker and friend who is in the "Hookers" the Army unit with CH-47's that does most if not all the plucks off the Mtn.

The 244th Brigade Training Budget pays for the flights. So in the long run and sense, it's Joe Taxpayer... You're right though, those boys do love to fly around the mountain...

I've got some input on this and have been working on a draft for quite awhile. I spoke with Gator a couple times a while back about access issues and fees, rescue fees, and RMI and guides in general in the park. I've wanted to spend my time coming up with something that is cohesive and presents all the issues that I feel are important. I'll try to dig it out and put some up here...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooops. I need to correct my previous post - this is straight from the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group's web site:

Q: "Will I be charged for a search and rescue in Colorado?"

A: In most cases, no, you will not be charged for the actual SAR (search and rescue) effort. The volunteer mountain rescue teams in Colorado, including RMRG, do not and most likely will never charge for services. There have been some cases where a few county sheriffs have charged for SAR operation. The Boulder County Sheriff has not and does not plan to charge victims of search and rescues. See the next question.

Q: " I know that part of the fee that I paid for my Colorado hunting/fishing license and or hiking certificate goes towards search and rescue insurance. Will this pay for any possible bills for the SAR and hospital?"

A: NO! You may have been informed that your license or certificate is insurance but it is not! Again, in most cases, you will not be charged for the SAR itself. However, you may be charged for ambulance rides to the hospital (by ground or helicopter). Your license or certificate will not cover these charges nor will they cover hospital expenses. The money that is taken out of the fee for licenses and certificates go to a general fund where a county sheriff may ask for money as a result of a particular SAR. In addition, each year SAR teams in Colorado may obtain grant money from this program to acquire new equipment.

Anyways, I still agree with the rest of the replies. Insurance needs to be optional, and people should be stuck with the bill in cases of gross negligence. This might encourage people to have their act together when they go in the woods.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that the current system on Mt. Rainier fits the needs and palates of most climbers out there. We pay the $15 fee to have those rangers up there on the mountain. They're there to save your butt when stuff happens, not merely to check permits and enforce quottas. If all they did was check permits, I think the program would be a little less accepted (do I hear a NW forrest pass?) My guess is that these rescues generally do not impend much of a cost on the NPS beyond the salaries of the climbing Rangers. Rescues are generally short lived (compaired to searches), and not terribly resource intensive. As it's been said, helicopters used for rescues on Rainier are Chinooks which come as "training" from the military.

Rescue insurance is great, but where are you going to use it around here? Rescues outside the Park are generally done by county sherif-lead mountain rescue groups. These are volunteers, along with the use of county helicopters. The public flips the bill for the copters (usually), and they sherifs don't want to charge because they're afraid people won't call in the future if that precident is set. Rescues inside the Park are covered by the military and your climbing fee. Does anyone know if someone's been charged for a rescue on Rainier since the ranger program started?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't like the idea of having rescue insurance forced on anyone, which is exactly what will happen if rescue costs are billed to the climbers.

I happen to think that the system that is in place is about as good as it can get. I mean, after all is said and done, I would bet taxpayers spend more money dragging drunk drivers out of their wrecks and into the hospital than mountain rescues.

Besides, the training commander from Fort Lewis was on NPR this morning and pointed out that the money that was spent on the helicopter portion of the rescue would be spent, no matter what, on training this year anyway. So they were able to help some people out along the way.

Anyway, I think the rescue pilots and the climbing rangers do a great job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

A certain, yet unnamed climber fakes distress so the burly rangers come rescue him. Oh behave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A very contraversial topic, rescue insurance. If climbers are required to carry rescue insurance, what other groups should be paying for rescue insurance- hunters? ATV riders? canoeists? hikers? The european model used in the Alps works for the Europeans but can it be transposed on the American model of outdoor recreation?

A basic tenant of most SAR teams-most of whom are volunteers (Mountain rescue, ATV fast response rescue, 4x4 jeep SAR, Mounted SAR, the variety of SAR teams is pretty amazing) is the rescuers engage in rescue activities accepting the risk and sometimes at considerable personal cost- time lost form work, gas, feeding your search dog, whatever.

Having been involved in rescues myself I've "lost" SAM splints, emergency blankets, pairs of mittens, as well as spending a lot of time out in marginal conditions. There's no rational reason why any one would want to do this except a desire to help others.

Costs incurred for most rescues are administrative and "bean counting" for agency reimbursments for salaries of involved personnel, and billable hours for equipment use of helos and those types of expenses.

The park superintendant was stating a less understood facet of rescue operations at Rainier, the bulk of rescue costs are for nontechnical SARs. The most expensive search to date, if i've got my facts straight, was the search for the missing NYC journalist that went missing while birdwatching on Rampart Ridge.

 

Will birdwatchers need rescue insurance, too?

Beck

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To pay for rescue or not? Rescue insurance or not? I was a member of 2 volunteer mountain rescue teams in colorado. We covered all our own costs. Personal expense for gear and transportation. Grants for team gear and vehicles. Fundraisers and donations to cover the rest. I have not since been with such dedicated and professional groups, a group against charging for rescues. I too strongly oppose charging for rescue's. The various "rescue insurance" programs around the country like CO's $5 is NOT insurance, however, the $ goes into an account that all teams state wide can apply to for grants to defray rescue costs. This is similar for climbing Denali, the $150 you pay to register helps defray the cost. Also, medical insurance covers any "flight for life" rescue pick ups, and ambulance rides...

to make people pay for rescues will prevent many responsible people who can't afford such fees from enjoying our wilderness areas and ntl parks. To do this properly there would have to be a charge up front before entering the backcountry, this would clearly limit access for most of us. Paying for a rescue after the fact would clearly tie up the already clogged court system not to mention greedy insurance companies selling overrated and hiked up policies. State Farm and Allstate at the trail head....yikes.

No on paying for rescues...Leave it to volunteers and the park rangers..that's what we pay them for....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike, In general I'm opposed to singling out climbers to pay for rescues when large segments of the population don't have to worry about that, ie: hikers, boaters, cross-country skiers, etc. Having said that I also believe that climbers should be self sufficient, be prepared to get themselves out of the crap they get themselves into. Most parties are of course. In my earlier days, I was involved in a rescue. (my brother fell on Del Campo Peak, was airlifted by a Chinook) In retrospect we should have payed a portion of the rescue costs, we were just stupid kids and in over our heads. Climbing insurance?.....sure, but don't make it mandatory. And I'm VERY opposed to user fees that go into the general fund. Why should I pay for sewage transport from Muir if I'm climbing the Tahoma Glacier???? And day hikers to Muir don't pay. They shouldn't be allowed to SHIT up there!!!!! By the way thanks for analyzing that pic of Lib Ridge a week ago.

------------------

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×