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MtnHigh

More Jabs at PMR by the Oregonian

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This is in response to the post by Monty on the Oregonian website:

 

Mandating beacons would be poor public policy. Encouraging the public to use them appropriately would be good public policy!

 

I find parts of the post from Portland Mountain Rescue (i.e. Monty) frustrating, anecdotal and unhelpful. What, I think, is enflaming the discussion is the perception that Portland Mountain Rescue is adamantly demonstrating how beacons won't work and aren't useful instead of cultivating a discussion on things that improve the information and resources available to climbers who are attempting Mount Hood. Maybe this is a defensive reaction because of proposed legislation about beacons? Regardless, beacons and/or locator devices can and do work in the mountains and saying they won't doesn't stick. Boaters and pilots have been using similar technology and such devices have saved lives, or, at a minimum, helped rescuer's find wreckage or remains. After watching the news and various posts on the web, you get the impression that Portland Mountain Rescue is dug in on the issue. One of rescue leaders actually told the TV and print media that having a beacon could increase a climber's chance of being caught in an avalanche or rockfall because of its weight?! This comes off as either silly or evasive to a fair question.

 

Instead of contriving every possible reason why a beacon (broadly taken as PLB, MLU or Spot Beacon etc) won't work, it would make more sense if the USFS with Portland Mountain Rescue worked together to educate people on ways these devices work effectively. The technology is rapidly improving and these devices are getting better, more affordable, and user friendly every year.

 

This latest incident, and the 2007 winter incident, strike many as good examples of where and how a locator beacon could have helped the rescuers. In both cases, strong clues indicate that at some point during the climbing trip, there was an accident. And after to that accident, the climbers attempted to save themselves. Given that these climbers attempted self rescue, it seems quite likely that one of the survivors could have alerted a locator beacon - if they had one. And though alerting a beacon may not have allowed rescuers to save the climbers in time, it could have helped the recovery team later. Spot Beacons, for example, send a GPS coordinate - and having seen and used them before, I found them to be "spot-on." As grim as this may sound, a GPS coordinate of an accident site or emergency snow cave is very useful information, but why can't Portland Mountain Rescue acknowledge this? We understand that weather and mountain conditions can prevent active field rescue, and that an avalanche (or an earthquake or a meteor as PMR might point out) could potentially move the bodies if that rescue doesn't happen in time. But come on Portland Mountain Rescue, a known GPS location is useful information for recovery teams and investigators.

 

Also, I don't buy the argument that the public will rely on such devices and therefore start making reckless choices while climbing. This point is actually quite insulting to the public if you think about it too. Similar arguments were made about cell/sat phones, avalanche transceivers, 2-way radios, and other devices and tools as they entered the mainstream market. But cell/sat phones have proven to be very useful during many well publicized rescues on Mount Adams, Rainier, Whitney and even Mount McKinley.

 

Portland Mountain Rescue does some wonderful volunteer work, and I believe that they did the best that anyone could have done to rescue or recover these climbers. Somehow though, they lost their way with the defensive and confusing communication strategy about the appropriate use of the various types of locator beacons.

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I still don't understand how a PLB would rescue someone who is dead? If you are alive, then you can save yourself. You could easily crawl off that hill. If you are dead....well then you're dead.

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I think we should hand the mountain over to a private company that would be free to do whatever they want with it. They could claim it was for "safety" reasons that anyone wanting to climb would have to buy a lift ticket and rent a locator device to get above the Palmer. All other routes on the mountain would of course be closed. Poof...no more cluster fuck on hood.

 

 

Thanks for your efforts Monty but as you can see it may just end up being a waste of your time. Sad, sad, sad.

 

I can't wait until I can travel up a mountain in my own little personal, climate controlled ascent bubble and all risk will be removed from the climb. Perhaps then this d-bag with the crayons can feel good about trying save me from myself.

 

Fuck that.

 

(Sometimes I don't wear my seatbelt...while speeding!)

 

 

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I've been following this story here and elsewhere. I'm just a nobody and keep my mouth shut. But since I'm stepping out, the first thing I'd like to express is my condolences to the family and friends of the missing and diseased.

 

I can't imagine how hard it must be on these folks. As a climber, that's the thing that scares me the most.

 

I appreciate the detailed and thought-out responses listed on line. I waded through their shitty sign-up process to register mine:

---

 

Dear Mr. Bors and the editors of this publication,

 

I have been visiting this site (and others) over the last couple of weeks to gather information about the climbers lost on Mt. Hood.

 

The lead story on your site at this very moment is "Mount Hood climber's memorial service draws hundreds"

 

As a morbid mockery of your lead story, I find the last panel of this strip entirely offensive. You owe a family and hundreds of people an apology, at the very least.

 

Would it not be common sense to display some common decency and respect?

 

What's even worse: you didn't even bother to report on the funeral yourself. The story and the photo were wired in from the Associated Press. Rather you chose to invest your resources in this vulgar comic. Come to think of it, your readers could use an apology, as well.

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sorry, the sign up process really isn't that hard.

 

I just don't get the point of the cartoon. only the third frame was funny, the rest was a bit stupid. beacons could save lives all over the state. think "i've fallen and i can't get up". but that really isn't the idea. Its fixing a highly publicized issue, and that gets the talking heads trying to fix things for us I guess.

 

there would be this little patch of oregon that you dare not enter with a government mandated homing beacon. sounds reasonable.

 

but if i go hunting or hiking one mile from that patch, I don't need one? sounds like i took up the wrong hobby. in winter esp.

 

i'd have to say that the family is us. in this case, we lost a person close. he is a "belayslayer" and he shared his personal adventures here. his family and his friends who shared the rope are at the center of this family, but he was one of us.

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Jake, I'm sorry - I was referring to the sign-up procedure at oregonlive. It kept crashing on me. I met a photographer from the paper last week who said the site sucked - yep, he was right.

 

The longer it took me, the more time I had to think "why am I doing this?" And if gave me a moment to realize that as a participant in the media business - as well as a climber - sometimes I just have to say: NO! That is unprofessional, and that behavior is unacceptable.

 

Sure, the third frame was cute, but the last frame was simply WRONG. If they want to discuss beacons, that's one thing. But you do not mock the cards and wreaths which a family is currently laying on the casket of their child.

 

Discussions here or on other message boards are one thing. SummitPost, somewhere its gush of ego diarrea, referenced the respectful handling of the subject here.

 

But a professional organization such as The Oregonian (I have a sick feeling this came out in print) is duty-bound to hold itself to journalistic standards. They are not entitled to piss on the graves of their own front page.

 

No joke. That was completely insensitive; let's see if they have the guts to apologize. I would.

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This is in response to the post by Monty on the Oregonian website:

 

Mandating beacons would be poor public policy. Encouraging the public to use them appropriately would be good public policy!

 

I find parts of the post from Portland Mountain Rescue (i.e. Monty) frustrating, anecdotal and unhelpful. What, I think, is enflaming the discussion is the perception that Portland Mountain Rescue is adamantly demonstrating how beacons won't work and aren't useful instead of cultivating a discussion on things that improve the information and resources available to climbers who are attempting Mount Hood. Maybe this is a defensive reaction because of proposed legislation about beacons? Regardless, beacons and/or locator devices can and do work in the mountains and saying they won't doesn't stick. Boaters and pilots have been using similar technology and such devices have saved lives, or, at a minimum, helped rescuer's find wreckage or remains. After watching the news and various posts on the web, you get the impression that Portland Mountain Rescue is dug in on the issue. One of rescue leaders actually told the TV and print media that having a beacon could increase a climber's chance of being caught in an avalanche or rockfall because of its weight?! This comes off as either silly or evasive to a fair question.

 

Instead of contriving every possible reason why a beacon (broadly taken as PLB, MLU or Spot Beacon etc) won't work, it would make more sense if the USFS with Portland Mountain Rescue worked together to educate people on ways these devices work effectively. The technology is rapidly improving and these devices are getting better, more affordable, and user friendly every year.

 

This latest incident, and the 2007 winter incident, strike many as good examples of where and how a locator beacon could have helped the rescuers. In both cases, strong clues indicate that at some point during the climbing trip, there was an accident. And after to that accident, the climbers attempted to save themselves. Given that these climbers attempted self rescue, it seems quite likely that one of the survivors could have alerted a locator beacon - if they had one. And though alerting a beacon may not have allowed rescuers to save the climbers in time, it could have helped the recovery team later. Spot Beacons, for example, send a GPS coordinate - and having seen and used them before, I found them to be "spot-on." As grim as this may sound, a GPS coordinate of an accident site or emergency snow cave is very useful information, but why can't Portland Mountain Rescue acknowledge this? We understand that weather and mountain conditions can prevent active field rescue, and that an avalanche (or an earthquake or a meteor as PMR might point out) could potentially move the bodies if that rescue doesn't happen in time. But come on Portland Mountain Rescue, a known GPS location is useful information for recovery teams and investigators.

 

Also, I don't buy the argument that the public will rely on such devices and therefore start making reckless choices while climbing. This point is actually quite insulting to the public if you think about it too. Similar arguments were made about cell/sat phones, avalanche transceivers, 2-way radios, and other devices and tools as they entered the mainstream market. But cell/sat phones have proven to be very useful during many well publicized rescues on Mount Adams, Rainier, Whitney and even Mount McKinley.

 

Portland Mountain Rescue does some wonderful volunteer work, and I believe that they did the best that anyone could have done to rescue or recover these climbers. Somehow though, they lost their way with the defensive and confusing communication strategy about the appropriate use of the various types of locator beacons.

 

Nicely written!! and along the lines of what I wanted to say just did not have the frame of mind to write it as eloquently.

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Most who have been involved in climbing for any length of time have lost a partner, loved one or known someone in the community that has. It is never easy. It is a part of climbing.

 

My heart goes out to anyone in that circumstance. It is not easy.

 

The debate on Hood over climber registration, SAR and how the mountain might be better managed is a worthy topic we should all be involved in when it is appropriate for you.

 

The Oregonian's recent "stump" cartoon under discussion flames the fire of the debate just as it was intended and should.

 

It is no better or worse than the editorial cartoons that run almost daily in one paper or another world wide denouncing the US lead wars in Iraq or Afganistan and using the dead in each instance to make the point.

 

It is a normal human response. When people die with no easily understood reasoning those left alive want to identify the problem and keep it from happening again. That response is as old as human history, "go no further...monsters lay beyond".

 

Viewed by the non-climbing public..climbers walk from safety, willingly into the land of monsters. They don't understand why we would or the dangers that obviously live there. The non-climbing public sees and does understand the fear of dying, cold and alone.

 

It shouldn't take much for us as a community to understand why

the incidents on Hood draw such attention from the rest of the population.

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I think we should hand the mountain over to a private company that would be free to do whatever they want with it. They could claim it was for "safety" reasons that anyone wanting to climb would have to buy a lift ticket and rent a locator device to get above the Palmer. All other routes on the mountain would of course be closed. Poof...no more cluster fuck on hood.

 

 

Thanks for your efforts Monty but as you can see it may just end up being a waste of your time. Sad, sad, sad.

 

I can't wait until I can travel up a mountain in my own little personal, climate controlled ascent bubble and all risk will be removed from the climb. Perhaps then this d-bag with the crayons can feel good about trying save me from myself.

 

Fuck that.

 

(Sometimes I don't wear my seatbelt...while speeding!)

 

 

My seatbelt is broken and I have an '89 Pathfinder with power windows and no Onstar on board....wish me luck should I drive off the road into a lake. and to other points...I don't like the idea of paying $5 or $500 for a beacon just so some one can find my dead body...just so family can then pay another $5000+ to bury me again in a rectangle plot. If I'm alive, I'll come home and do my best not to die. Hey remember that some old guy drove off the Marquam and he didn't have Onstar. Some Trooper saw hole in the barrier and got curious...they later found the old dude in the car in the river.....No one was demanding Onstar to be put in every car after that....to drive over the bridge.

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Viewed by the non-climbing public..climbers walk from safety, willingly into the land of monsters. They don't understand why we would or the dangers that obviously live there. The non-climbing public sees and does understand the fear of dying, cold and alone.

 

how does the non-climbing public understand these things, since they are, as you said, non-climbing? Are they afraid of dying cold and alone because they fear that they might get locked in a freezer after falling off the basement stairs of their house?

 

The debate should take place in a public, open, forum but not so a vote can be made on whether or not MLUs should be required, but so that the limitations of such devices can be understood, along with their strengths.

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This latest incident, and the 2007 winter incident, strike many as good examples of where and how a locator beacon could have helped the rescuers.

 

A beacon could have helped rescuers find the trio that had to bivy under their dog, too, but no one mentions that since they were found and survived.

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Fook me running, please let me explain! Dying...we all do it at some point or being cold or alone? Everyone will experience all three at some time in their life.

 

Way more people die of exposure (inside and outside) every winter than climbers ever have.

 

Pretty basic human feelings (fear of death, being cold or being alone)) shared by most everyone to one degree or another.

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Fook me running, just how dense are you? Dying...we all do it at some point or being cold or alone? Everyone will experience all three at some time in their life.

 

Way more people die of exposure (inside and outside) every winter than climbers ever have.

 

Pretty basic human feelings (fear of death, being cold or being alone)) shared by everyone.

ok, we can agree to disagree, because there is no way that johnny and joanna non-climber understand the death consequences the same way i do. maybe they are afraid of dying, but they don't understand the climber's fear of death and they won't unless they climb! How dense are you old timer?

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The non-climber's fear of death is what keeps them from going into the mountains. A climber's fear of death is different and the same: a climber must face this fear and learn to manage it in order to meet his/her objective. yes, everyone dies, but the non-climber doesn't have to face their fear of dying EVERYDAY unless they are a general, stereotypical basketcase.

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there is no way that johnny and joanna non-climber understand the death consequences the same way i do. maybe they are afraid of dying, but they don't understand the climber's fear of death and they won't unless they climb!

 

That is laughable.

 

When you gain the maturity to be called "old timer" and have faced the reality of your own death dozens of times you might realise that dying climbing is no different that being run over by a bus, being shot in the head or a long lingering death by cancer. You think it is only climbers that have to over come their own fears (of death) to accomplish their goals? I'd venture that most of a climbers fears are unrealistic incomparison to a few other activities...as LE/military/firefighter come to mind off hand.

 

Few rational people get to choose how they'll die. Damn few climbers ever died "doing what they love". Dirt dives, sleeping on ice blankets and banging your head against a rock not withstanding. Generally we (climbers) die from really stupid mistakes. And no one, including the DEAD climber is happy about it.

 

What you miss is everyone fears death. How/why you fear death has nothing to do with climbing.

 

We all know death is coming, only difference for each of us is how much pain we'll go through before its done.

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there is no way that johnny and joanna non-climber understand the death consequences the same way i do. maybe they are afraid of dying, but they don't understand the climber's fear of death and they won't unless they climb!

 

That is laughable.

 

When you gain the maturity to be called "old timer" and have faced the reality of your own death dozens of times you might realise that dying climbing is no different that being run over by a bus, being shot in the head or a long lingering death by cancer.

 

Few rational people get to choose how they'll die. Damn few climbers ever died "doing what they love". Dirt dives, sleeping on ice blankets and banging your head against a rock not withstanding.

 

What you miss is everyone fears death. How/why you fear death has nothing to do with climbing.

 

We all know death is coming, only difference for each of us is how much pain we'll go through before its done.

Dane, are you a televangelist, cause that would really be laughable!

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oh yeah, dane, not everyone fears death. for example i don't fear death because, like you said, it happens to everyone. its a part of life. falling on the other hand is something that i am afraid of... my choices and decisions while climbing are what keep me safe from falling and it is mental toughness and maturity that has taught me to ignore that fear long enough to finish what i am doing so i can return home.

 

also, i am master of my own opinion (flawless or faulty). do you respect other's for their opinions and try to learn form them or do you just try to push yours on them?

 

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... other readers may see this strip and find a different message... one that mocks and degrades

 

Exactly...it all depends on your point of view.

 

My thought is we as climbers really ought to be happy that their is a debate and that we get to be a part of it. By the look of it the climbing community (SAR included) can defeat that atitude....if you get involved past the Internet forums.

 

I agree. You get out of it what you bring to it. When I saw the cartoon yesterday I was more than a little irritated. I had to remind myself that it is an OPINION piece. It happens to be one contrary to my own, but he is entitled to it. Its sad that he shares that opinion with a majority of the public.

I think that when it comes down to law makers are not going to listen the "people"(they don't when it comes to more important legislation) but are going to listen to people in the know. Failing that, once they look at the cost of actually enforcing a beacon mandate they'll balk. If for some strange reason legislation is passed you can log your protest by not carrying one.

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I agree. You get out of it what you bring to it. When I saw the cartoon yesterday I was more than a little irritated. I had to remind myself that it is an OPINION piece. It happens to be one contrary to my own, but he is entitled to it. Its sad that he shares that opinion with a majority of the public.

I think that when it comes down to law makers are not going to listen the "people"(they don't when it comes to more important legislation) but are going to listen to people in the know. Failing that, once they look at the cost of actually enforcing a beacon mandate they'll balk. If for some strange reason legislation is passed you can log your protest by not carrying one.

nicely put, bob :tup:

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My mistake for not again qualifing my statement, "What you miss is everyone fears death".

 

my previous comment:

Pretty basic human feelings (fear of death, being cold or being alone)) shared by most everyone to one degree or another.

 

The Hood issues are in debate right? We are here to share an opinion and exchange ideas/views. My opinions might well differ from the majority voiced but are nothing more than my opinions.

 

do you respect other's for their opinions and try to learn form them or do you just try to push yours on them?

 

I respect others and your right to have an opinion. I may or may not respect your opinion depending of course if I find any value to that opinion based on my own life experience. You are obviously free to do the same.

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I respect others and your right to have an opinion. I may or may not respect your opinion depending of course if I find any value to that opinion based on my own life experience. You are obviously free to do the same.

thanks. back at ya.

Edited by LostCamKenny

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We all know death is coming, only difference for each of us is how much pain we'll go through before its done.

 

Hear that. Big respect for you Dane, but I want to choose to be able to carry one or not. I also do not believe that the public should pay for rescues of idiots like myself and I'm in the minority there as well. Once you ask the goverment to pay to come save yer ass, then they should be able to tell you when, where - perhaps even why, you can climb.

 

...and I'm again' that.

 

 

 

and as a side note to my brothers here: since I have 2 posts on the front page of this very important and soon to be lengthy heated discourse: I am willing to sell one of these spots so that you can get your most important point in front of everyone who will be perusing these thread .....if anyone is interested.

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Once you ask the goverment to pay to come save yer ass, then they should be able to tell you when, where - perhaps even why, you can climb.

 

...and I'm again' that.

 

yup, and requiring MLUs are the first step to government-controlled climbing.

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Seems all the energy and money these toolbags are trying to put in to mandating beacons could save many more lives being spent on starving children, or the homeless, or any number of things more important than worrying about us climbers. I mean why help those that could use it when you can force "help" on those who don't want it? :P

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