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  
cluck

News poll: require climbers to carry beacons?

Recommended Posts

When the day comes that we get cell service everywhere, sat phone style, I predict most will always carry a phone with them in the back country. It'll be for various reasons: call the wifey, get the weather, watch some YouTube, but in the back of our minds will be the added assurance of the "possiblity" that one could summon help if needed. I also predict that few will take issue with

the practice.

 

Noah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets say that MLU's were mandated, who would be held liable if a climber was not found because of an inacurate signal (or lack of one)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MLU's, Cell Phones, GPS, Avy Trancievers,

 

"Freedom of the hills"

 

It is why we go out. Most can not even begin to understand.

 

Godspeed to those who do not come back.

 

B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....

"Freedom of the hills"

It is why we go out. Most can not even begin to understand.

Godspeed to those who do not come back.

 

Let me pick on your comment :)

 

I go out to climb....and come home again. All so I can do it all over again. If I thought a beacon (reliable and of reasonable size and weight) would up my chances to make that possible I'd carry one. Just like I carry a rope, helmet and crampons.

 

I work hard at not needing Godspeed while climbing, thanks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When/if you come down off of your soapbox, please try to remember that the freedom in all aspects of climbing is what draws/grips/captures many of us. I know you know this, but it seems that you are actually advocating regulation in our pursuit. Your in fact stated that you choose not to wear a helmet at times, a decision that I will not begrudge you, but will not make the same choice myself. I certainly do not want to see a "climbing helmet law."

 

If a reasonably affordable/reliable long range locator device became available, a large number of climbers may make the choice to use it. That technology is not available at this point, and the Oregon legislature mandating the use of any device, now or in the future, is not the answer.

 

We can make our own choices, as climbers have been doing for many years.

 

Happy, safe climbing.

Jimbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said Jimbo.

 

This was posted earlier (thanks Cluck), but here is Portland Mountain Rescue's stance on requiring climbers to carry mountain locator units (MLUs).

 

SPOILER ALERT: THEY ARE AGAINST IT

 

Still wishing the best for the lost climbers and their families.

 

A MUST read as well--->

 

A Summit Technology Can’t Reach By JIM WHITTAKER Published: March 9, 2007

 

 

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No question it is a soap box. And just as obvious it is not the popular opinion. While I would like to advocate regulation on Hood specifically, even I don't want to go that far.

 

from the PMR site linked above:

 

Our belief is that without the false sense of security created by the beacons, these climbers would not have climbed into the winter storms. The beacons were not only unsuccessful in reducing risks but arguably helped facilitate situations which resulted in the need for rescue.

 

Similar info posted before about not supporting mandatiory beacons but a cell phone and a GPS be used instead.

 

Both thoughts I disagree with. Cell phones done't work over much of the Cascades and often as not don't work on Hood. I don't believe that people intentionally climb into winter storms thinking any type of technology is going to get them out of it.

No one with any common sense would.

 

You guys actually believe any different?

 

You may agree with their final result (no regulation) but I find it hard to believe you would agree with the opinion beacons cause more rescues. Certainly more people having the ability to ask for help causes more rescues.

 

One might make the same arguement with Sat. phone use on Denali or Everest. Both places where almost every professional climber will have a sat phone these days.

 

From Whitaker's essay:

This is what I fear the Oregon bill would do. It creates too much potential for a nonprofessional climber to be cocky, to take risks he otherwise wouldn’t and to fail to pack well and otherwise be self-sufficient. Skills like being able to interpret signs in the weather, assess the danger of avalanches and rescue a companion from a crevasse are vital to a safe climb, and they cannot be replaced by an electronic device. Viewing technology as a quick fix is more likely to cause tragedy than prevent it.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.....No one with any common sense would.

 

You guys actually believe any different?

 

You may agree with their final result (no regulation) but I find it hard to believe you would agree with the opinion beacons cause more rescues. Certainly more people having the ability to ask for help cause more rescues.

 

One might make the same arguement with Sat. phone use on Denali.

 

well there's this ->

 

YUPPIE 911

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i do agree that these plb/mlu's offer a false sense of security. if im wearing it and brown stuff hits the whirly thing, then its my get out of jail free card right?

 

sure it will help in certain situations but this opens a big door for possibility of people going further than they should when conditions are bad etc... and expecting that they will get rescued.

 

i am a pilot and on aircraft we legally have to fly with an elt. thats fine and dandy but one thing i have learned over the years from reading accident reports and though all the aviation classes i have taken, the likely hood of rescuers (SAR, CAP, Law Enforcement...) is alot lower than one would expect and i believe it is very important to expect these things to actually NOT work and be conservative with youre actions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skills like being able to...

The problem with any conversation around skills development is that if there were a skills-based test for climbing Hood, what percentage of the annual number of climbers on the mountain would likely possess the skills to [personally] respond appropropriately if things went badly wrong? Beacons or no, the skills situation up on Hood isn't great on the whole - probably better than on the cable route on Half Dome, but not by a lot relative to the potential objective hazards and risks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another problem with the effectiveness of any kind of beacon is that it has to be activated by the climber carrying it. In the event of a climber, or even a whole party, being struck by avalanche or icefall, they might never have a chance to turn on their PLB's or MLU's. Current limitations on battery life and the lack of a remote- or searcher/base-activated system need to be overcome before you have anything approaching a truly useful system.

 

Also, the Mt.Hood MLU's, given the current level of technology, are are about 30 years behind the times in size and weight, and in the method of deployment. I know any number of people who have taken one look at those things, myself included, and said "No way am I packing that damn thing up there." They're like the early cordless phones and walkie-talkies compared to a current state-of-the-art cellphone or Bluetooth. The SPOT locator beacon is about 8 oz. I think, about the size of an avy beacon or GPS unit. And c'mon, mounted on a SASH? Like that won't just get ripped right off during an avalanche or tumbling fall. Ridiculous. Lots of room for improvement there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I to believe the folks searching are being shafted. They do a awesome job, get payed nothing, and go above and beyond. The last time I climbed Hood, Chris from PMR passed me asending the old chute, and her climbing form blew me away. Talking to her on the summit revieled she had been up there "80 something" Times. I would want the at kind of person searching for my broke ass carcass any day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how much of the MLU resistance is related to climbers being singled out as a user group? As has been said why not require others who cost more in terms of rescue $$ and time to have transmitters. The simple reason - climbing compared to hunting/hiking is seen a high risk activity but ATVing is not???. As always not always the most logical.

 

I say this with no disrespect - but an MLU would not have saved Luke Gullberg, I am not sure even a cell phone call would have been possible. About the only thing that would have possibly helped would have been an ELB (which I believe he could have activated). But would each person in their group have one?

 

Personally, I am in favor of the euro system - everyone gets charged for rescues just like everyone get charged for an ambulance ride. In my book it is called personal responsibility. (BTW I do have it through several sources, my only gripe is that they have to arrange any services).

 

 

BTW In the early days of avy beacons when they were relatively expensive, it used to be that shops would have a minimal mark up on them. Just enough to cover their costs. Why so people would not use the excuse that they were too expensive to own one. I wonder if they same could be done with plbs today?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i do agree that these plb/mlu's offer a false sense of security. if im wearing it and brown stuff hits the whirly thing, then its my get out of jail free card right?

 

sure it will help in certain situations but this opens a big door for possibility of people going further than they should when conditions are bad etc... and expecting that they will get rescued.

 

i am a pilot and on aircraft we legally have to fly with an elt. thats fine and dandy but one thing i have learned over the years from reading accident reports and though all the aviation classes i have taken, the likely hood of rescuers (SAR, CAP, Law Enforcement...) is alot lower than one would expect and i believe it is very important to expect these things to actually NOT work and be conservative with youre actions.

:tup: The take home message here: don't rely on anyone or anything else to save your ass - you can really only rely on your own skill and experience to keep out of situations where you would need a mlu/plb...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skills like being able to...

The problem with any conversation around skills development is that if there were a skills-based test for climbing Hood, what percentage of the annual number of climbers on the mountain would likely possess the skills to [personally] respond appropropriately if things went badly wrong? Beacons or no, the skills situation up on Hood isn't great on the whole - probably better than on the cable route on Half Dome, but not by a lot relative to the potential objective hazards and risks.

Skills are important, but bad things happen to the most skilled climbers too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Link to a good article concering manditory MLUs.

I used to poo-poo technology in the backcountry, but having been in a situation this summer where a PLB would have been useful, I now carry one. It is light (5 oz) and GPS enabled. I can think of no good reason not to carry it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just out of curiosity, has a MLU ever been a key component to a rescue? I seem to remember a number of years back a news report about a rescue where the MLU was used to "help" find the injured party. If I remember correctly it was some relatively minor injury on the south side in an easily accessible location on a day with near perfect conditions. Even though the MLU was used it wasn't really needed. I agree with Mtguide, the MLU technology is outdated and that sash blows. There is better technology out there and even that can be improved. It is just another toy in our bag of tricks. That being said I would not like the state to tell me what I will be putting into that bag.

 

Dane, Thank you for your comments. Agree or disagree it's nice to see an educated, reasoned argument that differs from the masses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

trent: what PLB do you carry?

 

from what I can tell about MLUs, I liken them to giving a skydiver a toothpick martini umbrella and expecting it to help if their chute has a problem. If there was something more effective than an MLU I'd be much more inclined to rent it. This most recent accident though is giving me some pause to think about investing in a PLB or Spot II (in a few months once the recall is done)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you made MLU's mandatory, every Texan who made it to 9k on Mt. Hood would be activating it at the sight of the first cloud that floated by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skills are important, but bad things happen to the most skilled climbers too.

Yep, there are just way more objective hazards involved with alpine. The point, however, was relative to beacons compensating for lack of skills and the problem with that line of reasoning is the average skill, experience, and knowledge level on Hood isn't all that great to begin with - a lot of folks just get away with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I used to poo-poo technology in the backcountry, but having been in a situation this summer where a PLB would have been useful, I now carry one. It is light (5 oz) and GPS enabled. I can think of no good reason not to carry it.

 

Trent,

Was it needed or would it just have been nice to have?

 

Just out of curiosity, has a MLU ever been a key component to a rescue?

 

This same question keeps popping into my head regarding MLU's and PLB's with respect to climbers.

 

Of the accidents and rescues that I can recall in the last few years I don't remember any where having an MLU or a PLB would have saved anyone's life or limbs? (Please correct me if I'm wrong though!)

 

Avy beacons are a different beast in my mind and I certainly carry one when in Avy. country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. I went up there is May and it was a total s*** storm. People freaking out on 30-40 slopes while roped up and we had to get down quickly because of the falling ice. Also people heading up way late in the day, putting them at huge risk for ice fall. Sometimes fast and light is the only option and if you can't pull that off you can get into a pickle.

Edited by summitchaserCJB

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  

×