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sobo

"Why don't we charge 'em for gettin' rescued?"

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I've been here for about a week...thats enough for me..I was drawn to this site from somewhere else because of the tradegy on mt hood...I can't believe the way you people bicker...I'm leaving here with the opinion that a good part of you are irresponsible...I wouldn't be caught on the mountain with a good portion of you...The Kims in their tradegy were partly at fault but also the park system was at fault for not monitoring their LOCKED GATES...as far as you climbers, it should be a requirement to take a transponder or locator if you choos to do this activity that involves a certain amount of "high" as equal amount of "real danger"..you sit here and act like a bunch of teenagers...good bye...act on the side of safety..it wont hurt..

 

Ya know, I'm really going to miss you. :cry: No wait a minute, that was someone else. Who the hell are/were you anyway? :ass::pagetop:

Edited by Doug

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I've been here for about a week...thats enough for me..I was drawn to this site from somewhere else because of the tradegy on mt hood...I can't believe the way you people bicker...I'm leaving here with the opinion that a good part of you are irresponsible...I wouldn't be caught on the mountain with a good portion of you...The Kims in their tradegy were partly at fault but also the park system was at fault for not monitoring their LOCKED GATES...as far as you climbers, it should be a requirement to take a transponder or locator if you choos to do this activity that involves a certain amount of "high" as equal amount of "real danger"..you sit here and act like a bunch of teenagers...good bye...act on the side of safety..it wont hurt..

 

Thanks for telling us how to climb mountains from 1000 miles away from the nearest hill. We appreciate your advice, and will reciprocate soon with a jam making safety manual.

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if you are used to climbing a lot there are some theories about becoming addicted to adrenaline.

 

my theory is that everyone that climbs and cant get out comes here to get all pissed off at someone. right now we are pissed off at you shavdog!

 

yeah, it aint the same, kind of like comparing the right hand with your gf, but hey, it will have to do in a pinch....

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you guys apparently missed my sarcasm and earlier post. many people want to help others in need. thats great and as it should be.

 

Yep, missed the sarcasm. I hate when I do that. :blush: I need some sleep.

 

the problem i have is when climbers are singled out over wayward travellers, fishermen, hunters or lost hikers....nobody called for rescue costs from Ms Kim. and i am glad they didnt.

 

I agree completely.

 

 

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As for the military cost for rescue...

 

I've been told by several military folks that they have funds set aside for this type of "training activity." It provides the military valuable training, they're using funds already set aside, and they are more often than not bored as shit and can't wait till something like this happens.

 

They also burn off helicopter fuel sometimes it goes stale.Of the military reserve rescues I have been around, I have found the guys very exited to do it.

Edited by Roy

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the guys that picked me up, after 5 days out in winter storm , told me they where simulating somewhere else when they got the call and they found it very gratifying and rewarding to pick up a living dummy for a change.

 

 

all the climbing rescues amount to less than one case of them high tech millitary toilet seats.

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AFTER A SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER OF BAD WEATHER IN THE ROCKIES(HENCE NO CLIMBING) I WAS ON MT TEMPLE AT LK LOUISE. I SAID IF WE ARE A LITTLE BIT LATE THE WARDENS WILL LAUNCH THAT CHOPPER. THEY HAVEN'T USED ANY OF THEIR SAR BUDGET THIS YEAR. AS WE WERE DESCENDING(4 HOURS LATE) WE HEARD THE CHOPPER COMING. THEY JUST HAD TO DO IT EVEN THOUGH WE WERE A VERY EXPERIENCED PARTY OF 4 AND THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT. THIS WAS IN THE 1980'S. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR AND IT IS IN THEIR BUDGET. IF CLIMBING WAS BANNED ALTOGETHER THE LOSS OF TAX REVENUE FROM THE SALE OF EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES WOULD NOT BE OFFSET BY THE MINIMAL SAVINGS OF SAR BECAUSE THEY WOULD STILL BE NEEDED FOR THE HIKERS, HUNTERS, ETC. WHO TAKE UP MOST OF THEIR TIME AND BUDGET.

A

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I have worked with this particular SAR-coordinator in the past and she does a bang-up job. She turned a county that had no real SAR resources at all into one with a well equipped and prepared SAR team. She does a bang-up job and knows her stuff. The problems arise when multiple counties are involved..that is when communication breakdowns occur and turf-wars begin. The same happended on the Hood incident.

 

I'm outraged that a wireless engineer estimated the Kims' location to be within the immediate vicinity of Bear Camp Road, but the rescue coordinator did not order a search with a heat-seeking helicopter for two days, even though the National Guard had one fueled and awaiting orders. Not to mention, she had no prior SAR-related experience prior to being hired. But here's the thing that takes the cake...her direct supervisor said he ignored a late-night call from her about the case because he was watching a football game on TV. Absolutely disgusting.

 

If Wampler and the rest of his team had been in charge, I bet James Kim would be home safe and sound now.

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But the DHS made SAR folk study and pass NIMS/ICS tests... you mean the material learned for the tests wasn't practically useful?

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ICS/NIMS (Incident Command System and National Incident Management Systems for those that don't know) can be learned by a monkey, that doesn't mean the implementation is as easy as it says in the paper. That’s like someone reading Freedom of the Hills, and then thinking they are ready for Everest.

 

As far as the Kim’s search, the real questions that should be asked should include why did the Oregon State Police (who have no SAR training or resources) get involved in the command at all. It is very easy to spread the blame around afterward, and as a SAR member I can tell you, only about 15% of the correct information ever makes it out of the command structure in time for the media and armchair rescuers to get it right. I am sure you could find people out there who would say Wampler was in over his head as well (and maybe it’s true).

 

Most searches and rescues turn out to be nothing at all, and very few people ever get to see all the work that is done behind the scenes. I have been privileged to work under some great SAR coordinators, and some horrible ones, and am happy to say that in most cases there are enough seasoned volunteers with lots of knowledge who are able to "step in" and make it appear to be a success in the eyes of the public, when in reality it is nothing but a cluster....

 

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The following article was gleamed from a link in the AAC news. It's a good read:

 

Teton Climbing Ranger Reflects On Mt. Hood and Winter Mountaineering

 

By Todd Wilkinson, 12-21-06

http://www.newwest.net/index.php/main/article/a_renowned_grand_teton_climbing_ranger_reflects_on_mt_hood_costs_of_rescues/

 

The tragic end for three climbers on Oregon’s Mt. Hood has caused many serious alpine veterans in the Rockies, where winter mountaineering is a popular, cherished sport, to reflect on the risks of climbing, the need for proper seasonal preparedness, and the ever-present wild card of avalanche danger.

 

This week, New West caught up with Renny Jackson, who oversees the world-renowned team of elite climbing rangers in Grand Teton National Park. Over the years, Jackson has organized or been a part of several high-profile search and rescue efforts in the Tetons. The unique corps of public servants has, on several occasions, been awarded special recognition from the federal government for putting their own lives in danger to aid others.

 

In the short interview with Jackson that follows, he refrains from speculating on the motivation of the Mt. Hood climbers and on technical aspects of search and rescue efforts there. But he does put the issue into focus.

 

On Wednesday, authorities in Oregon decided to call off SAR based on the grim acknowledgment that it was highly unlikely Brian Hall and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke were still alive after more than a week on the mountain.

 

Within the climbing community, there is widespread speculation that they may have been lost to an avalanche caused by an unstable snow pack created by recent winter storms. Earlier this week, the body of their companion, 48-year-old Kelly James, was recovered from a snow cave. The SAR to find the trio commenced on December 10 when James made a call from his cell phone seeking help.

 

With some people in the media, including FOX commentator Bill O’Reilly and others, questioning whether it’s right for government agencies to pay for massive, sometimes expensive search and rescue efforts for climbers who willingly set out into danger zones, many government agencies and climbing groups have argued that it's justified.

 

Of timely relevance is a 2005 report titled “Climbing Rescues in America: Reality Does Not Support ‘High-Risk, High Cost’ Perception" written by Lloyd Athearn, deputy director of the American Alpine Club.

 

As background, Athearn noted that media attention of events like the Mt. Hood tragedy often result in calls for publicly-subsidized SAR to be scaled back or that backcountry users sign waivers agreeing to pay all or some of the costs for their rescue if they get into trouble.

 

“Over the past decade, some states have passed laws allowing the recovery of rescue costs—in some cases prompted by high-profile climbing rescues,” Athearn writes. “ Lost in the dramatic coverage of climbing rescues is an accurate, thorough and dispassionate analysis of the underlying issue.”

 

In its unprecedented examination of alpine-related rescues and the costs associated with them, the ACC found that “climbers are not a significant drain on the public safety system, and it debunks many of the arguments used to support charge-for-rescue policies specifically targeting climbers. It also explains why turning a humanitarian public safety activity into a business service is an inappropriate response that may cause more harm than good, as well as open up government agencies to costly lawsuits.”

 

Among the salient points worth noting that are found in the report:

 

 

 

Despite the possible public perception created by the Mt. Hood tragedy, the fatality rate for climbing in the U.S. has actually dropped dramatically over the last several decades. Even as the number of climbers has grown at some popular climbing venues, it has not translated into a corresponding rise in the number of rescues and/or fatalities.

 

 

Although mountaineering and technical climbing come replete with inherent and obvious risks, the number of rescues affiliated with those endeavors is actually less than seemingly safe activities such as hiking, boating, hunting, swimming, and various kinds of motor vehicle use.

 

 

 

At Yosemite National Park, among the top worldwide destinations for technical rock and ‘big wall’ climbing, rescues of climbers made up 14.7 percent of all rescues between 1998 and 2004, while rescues of hikers represented 67.2 percent, Athearn found. “Rescues of climbers exceed those for hikers in only a few remote, mountainous and largely trailless parks, including North Cascades and Denali. Climbing also ranks lower than many perceived ‘low risk’ activities on the list of most frequently rescued groups for the entire state of Oregon.”

 

Between 2000 and 2004 in Yosemite, more than three times as much rescue resources were devoted to assisting hikers than to climbers. Charging for climbing rescues, the ACC contends, “runs counter to national search and rescue policies, opens government agencies up to costly lawsuits and tends to delay the call for help, putting rescuers and victims at greater risk.”

 

Though several states have laws allowing the recovery of rescue costs, "most have been used in only the most egregious cases—and none has been used to recover costs from a mountaineer or rock climber,” Athearn wrote, highlighting.Oregon’s pioneering law aimed to recovery SAR costs.

 

That law was enacted in 1995 following a rescue on Mt. Hood. “The bill’s sponsor opened its initial hearing by announcing, ‘This bill is about those jokers up on the mountain,’” Athearn notes, adding that five states—California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire and Oregon—have charge for rescue laws on the books. “These laws were often enacted by legislators who felt taxpayer funds were being spent to rescue irresponsible people.”

 

However, county sheriffs, who are elected officials, often decline to go after recovery costs, recognizing that it is difficult to determine after the fact if a recreationist demonstrated sound or poor judgment. With or without SAR recovery laws, federal agencies like the Park Service do possess the power to levy fines against users found to violate regulations that mandate recreationists to follow rules and behave safely.

 

 

New West Interview With Senior Grand Teton National Park Climbing Ranger Renny Jackson

 

 

NEW WEST: As you watched from afar the search and rescue efforts for the three climbers on Mt. Hood, what went through your mind?

 

JACKSON: Following the saga as it unfolded, my thoughts were primarily with the families of the two remaining missing climbers, especially as Christmas nears. My thoughts are also with the folks who are involved with the Search and Rescue operation, the risks and challenges that they are facing and their frustrations and sadness.

 

NEW WEST: Long before speculation began in the media about the potential of the lost climbers possibly succombing to avalanches, folks in your circle of friends already had identified that as a possible fatal outcome. Elaborate a bit about the challenges of winter mountaineering not only in a place like Mt. Hood but in the Tetons where you live.

 

JACKSON: I am not familiar with the climbing challenges on Mt. Hood, as I have never been on the mountain. I am very familiar with winter climbing challenges here in the Tetons, having done the Grand many times by several new winter routes as well as first winter ascents elsewhere in the range. The biggest challenge that I have faced is having all of the stars line up so that a winter ascent is even possible. By that I am referring to, first of all, being able to recognize when the “window” has opened up, that is, the period of time during which weather, avalanche conditions, and multiple other factors have stabilized enough so as to make a winter ascent even possible. Other factors include coordinating with wives, significant others, kids, partners, etc. I have found that this can actually be the biggest challenge. Another thing is learning how to do a particular climb. This learning process can take place over a period of years, sometimes, and can include several failed attempts, which has been the case several times when I have set my sights on a particular climbing objective.

 

NEW WEST: How much traffic do the Tetons get as far as mountaineers and backcountry skiers?

 

JACKSON:There is much more ski mountaineering that goes on here in the Tetons than technical climbing, I would say. The Tetons, during the last 10 years have become a kind of ski mountaineering Mecca. The Grand Teton was skied last winter, for example, on at least five separate occasions, including one new ski descent route-the East Ridge. Prior to last year it was kind of unheard of, or at least rare, that the Grand would be skied in winter, cold snow conditions. It is happening now, however. Besides this, there are more and more people venturing into the mountains each year. Most of these are either backcountry skiing or doing some ski mountaineering- usually consisting in either skiing a peak or skiing a steep couloir or portion of a peak.

 

NEW WEST: You’re a veteran backcountry skier. What kinds of conditions are you finding out there now and what are you warning visitors about?

 

JACKSON: This year the season began slowly with some early season snow resulting in a fairly thin snowpack initially with accompanying cold temperatures, which is the kind of set up that you don’t want to have, since that is conducive to the formation of temperature gradient snow sub-surface and surface hoar formation on the snow surface. These layers are now buried and we had some low elevation rain and heavier snow deposited last week which resulted in a big avalanche cycle last weekend. There was one snowmobiler killed last weekend and several big slides reported on all aspects and over quite an elevation range. That is basically what I know. I tell park visitors to go to the local, daily avalanche forecast put out by the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Forecast center because those folks are the professionals who are observing the snowpack on a daily basis.

 

NEW WEST: For a time, search and rescuers in Oregon thought that maybe the climbers would be all right by retreating to shelter in snow caves. How long can a person hunker down in a snow cave comfortably without succombing to hypothermia and dehydration?

 

JACKSON: Apparently, according to a report by MSNBC that I was watching last night, one guy they interviewed spent 13 days in a snow cave on Mt. Hood and survived a few years ago. I have no idea exactly where he was, how much food, water, or what type of equipment he had with him, but he did survive. Snow caves tend to be wet and cold places depending upon what you have for warmth (down versus some sort of fiber fill) and how much food and fuel you have.

 

NEW WEST: What’s on the checklist of stuff you put in your backpack when heading out?

 

JACKSON: This really depends on where and for how long I am going out for. For a day ski trip in the hills that does not include a mountain climb I would say just the regular stuff: food and liquid for the day, extra, insulated clothing, lighter, avalanche transceiver, collapsible probe pole, shovel, light first aid kit, tool/repair kit (light). If I am on a work day I usually have a radio and a cell phone along with me. If I am climbing a peak I usually try to throw in enough stuff so that I could spend the night out safely if I had to. This might just be a down parka and a pad to sit on in the snow cave that I dug with my avalanche shovel.

 

NEW WEST: You’ve spearheaded the response for some pretty harrowing rescues on the Grand and other Teton peaks. In terms of assessing risk, what’s the Achilles Heel you often see?

 

JACKSON: One thing that I have seen with folks is that they might know about the light/fast philosophy but they don’t follow through with it. That is, if they find that they are going too slowly or they come up against their turnaround time, they continue instead of bailing and coming back another day. Sometimes it may take several failed attempts in order to learn what you need to learn in order to be able to be successful on a particular climb. This learning process never stops- I’m 54 and I am either learning new stuff or relearning the old stuff that I have forgotten.

 

NEW WEST: What’s the worst winter climbing experience you’ve had?

 

JACKSON: When my partner Hans Johnstone and I were trying to figure out how to climb the Grand Traverse in the winter. During one of our attempts, I was following him on the section between Teewinot and Mt. Owen. I knew we were a little too close to a cornice edge at one point and, sure enough, the bottom dropped out from under me as several tons of snow dropped onto a steep starting zone. Somehow I instantly did a backflip onto the windward side of the cornice and was OK. The cornice that broke hit the starting zone and started a large slab avalanche that ran a few thousand feet down to Teton Glacier. My partner and I were quite shaken by that and eventually bailed off the Traverse a little further along the ridge.That was my closest call and I was ignoring the warning bell that was going off in my head telling me that I was too close to the cornice edge.

 

NEW WEST: There’s been a growing debate over the question of whether rescuees should have to pay all or part of the bill for any mounting of a search effort. What are your thoughts?

 

JACKSON: In the national park setting I would say that rescuees should NOT have to pay for their rescues. All of us pay taxes and there are entrance fees to get into parks and fees for backcountry permits in some places. Tragedies such as the one on Mt. Hood bring a ton of media attention to the sport of mountaineering. Because of the sensationalism, people begin to believe that it is, without question, one of the riskiest endeavors that recreationists undertake. If you actually look at the statistics of what types of incidents occur on Federal land, some of the ones that generate the highest costs are not what one would expect. For example, searches for lost hikers or simply kids who wander off from campgrounds generate enormous costs. Boating accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other similar incidents occur at statistically much higher rates.

 

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Love this part "This learning process never stops- I’m 54 and I am either learning new stuff or relearning the old stuff that I have forgotten."

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I've been here for about a week...thats enough for me..I was drawn to this site from somewhere else because of the tradegy on mt hood...I can't believe the way you people bicker...I'm leaving here with the opinion that a good part of you are irresponsible...I wouldn't be caught on the mountain with a good portion of you...The Kims in their tradegy were partly at fault but also the park system was at fault for not monitoring their LOCKED GATES...as far as you climbers, it should be a requirement to take a transponder or locator if you choos to do this activity that involves a certain amount of "high" as equal amount of "real danger"..you sit here and act like a bunch of teenagers...good bye...act on the side of safety..it wont hurt..

 

 

What a fucking pussy. When you're dumb you suffer.

 

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I've been here for about a week...thats enough for me..I was drawn to this site from somewhere else because of the tradegy on mt hood...I can't believe the way you people bicker...I'm leaving here with the opinion that a good part of you are irresponsible...I wouldn't be caught on the mountain with a good portion of you...The Kims in their tradegy were partly at fault but also the park system was at fault for not monitoring their LOCKED GATES...as far as you climbers, it should be a requirement to take a transponder or locator if you choos to do this activity that involves a certain amount of "high" as equal amount of "real danger"..you sit here and act like a bunch of teenagers...good bye...act on the side of safety..it wont hurt..

 

Buhhhh Byeeeee!

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