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Doug

PLB Legislature introduced in WA Legislature

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So ya'll, I'm gonna chime in to point out that WE ARE NOT IN SPRAY and a little more civility would be appropriate.

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Vested interest perhaps? Of course you are going to support a bill that mandates hundreds of people a year rent/buy your product.

 

And I wholeheartedly disagree with your sentiments about PLB use leading to better, more efficient rescues. Ask any one of the members of this forum who has had to deal with a false alarm from a PLB and I'm sure you'll not see your opinion of them mirrored. More PLBs will lead to more rescues of parties whose water taste salty and waste the time of volunteer rescuers.

Edited by rocky_joe

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They'd be better off mandating everyone carry a micro-stove and a fuel canister, that would have a much greater chance of saving your life than a PLB.

 

But of course, practical climbing safety gear like stove/fuel, a bivvy sack, a shovel, etc. doesn't play as well with the general public as the Magic Rescue Button, so we aren't likely to see that sort of legislation any time soon.

Edited by Julian

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As someone who has a reasonably fair idea how we may most effectively really defeat this ludicrious, wrongheaded and very narrowly focused bill, I can't overly stress the importance of following Off White's comments posted just above.

 

 

Directly attacking a legislator, or his friends for that matter, will not sit well with anyone in our state's legislative bodies. In fact, we will lose ground on our conquest and be viewed as a fringe element, that is unworthy of being listened to.

 

Let us be reasonable, curteous and cordial to the legislators we contact. Don't forget this bulletin board is 'an open book' to essentially anyone who takes the time to register and view or comment as just evidenced by Mr. Stolz' recent post.

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I've gotta jump on Dan's bandwagon here. This bill will never pass, but I prefer it happen in a civil manner with the sponsors understanding and accepting the opposition's position. I would be willing to bet that PMR, as well as other SAR organizations are willing to help endorse and educate on the proper use of these items. What I think all of us agree on is that we don't want the state to mandate what we can and can't use.

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I think this being a bill certain to fail, Matt should preserve his political capitol and keep his head down.

He may need the assistance of these legislators for some other purpose in the future and he will gain nothing by dog-piling on them now.

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Hello Everyone:

 

HI!

 

 

After reading all the comments on this forum, I thought maybe a couple of you might be interested in first hand information instead of the speculation and insults

 

Sorry about all that.

 

that seem to have run rampant. I’ve copied a response I made yesterday to the topic on Rep. Liias’ facebook thread below which hopefully will provide more information.

 

Thanks!

 

The only part I’ve had in this legislation is a one time conversation with Rep. Liias where the recent 3 climber deaths on Mt.

 

K

 

 

Hood came up. I told him about legislation proposed in Oregon in 2007 after the 3 deaths in 2006. I also told him about the opposition in Oregon (some valid and some not)

 

Please define and discuss the valid and invalid opposition

 

which killed the Oregon legislation. After that conversation, I had no part in the legislation that was ultimately proposed.

 

I wasn’t supportive of the Oregon legislation proposed in 2007 for some of the same reasons most of you are opposed to HB 2619.

 

Which reasons do you agree with?

 

However, here we are 3 years later and we’ve had a repeat of 3 more deaths on Mt. Hood of experienced climbers who chose not to carry a PLB (or even the Mt. Hood specific MLU) and that decision very likely cost them their lives.

 

It was a tragic accident, they are all tragic accidents, but they were the types of people that were fully aware of the risks involved in their actions.

 

 

There is a lot of very bad information floating around regarding PLBs as well as all of the 406MHz technology some of which is referenced on this forum as well as the links supplied.

 

Such as?

 

I don’t claim [sic] the have the expertise of all of you regarding most aspects of climbing but I do have expertise regarding PLBs.

 

The reason I now support HB 2619 is because we need to get accurate information out regarding PLBs and where they fit and don’t fit.

 

How does mandating the use of a certain device "get accurate information out regarding PLBs and where they fit and don’t fit"?

 

Past attempts at education haven’t worked.

 

What were the types of education used and what were the goals of the programs?

 

 

I fully expect HB 2619 to die an ugly death just like it did 3 years ago in Oregon. But the important thing is we’ll have an opportunity to get some factual information out there.

 

Isn't there a better way to dispense information than to propose legislation that mandates that citizens perform a specific action?

 

Oregon is in a much different situation. Because the legislation failed 3 years ago, and now they have a repeat of the same situation, there will be a lot of pressure to pass some sort of legislation on Mt. Hood.

 

That's regrettable.

 

It’s in everybody’s best interest to figure out how to get accurate information regarding PLBs out to those climbers who are going to climb Mt. Hood in the winter because if someone doesn’t come up with a solution, there will likely be a solution imposed that nobody is happy with.

 

 

Why does this problem need a "solution"? Isn't the outcome of this type of behavior, or any type of behavior for that matter ( such as sitting in a seat in an airplane and typing on a laptop) death, a small percentage of the time? I agree that reducing the probability of bad things happening is a good idea, but should we also legislate that people wear helmets, body armor, and life jackets while they are flying in an airplane, in case something bad happens?

 

 

PMR is reconsidering their previous position based on the recent deaths

 

That is also regrettable.

 

and we’re (PLB Rentals) working with them to make PLBs available in place of the MLUs at a nominal charge.

 

 

That's awfully generous.

 

If we can get the word out about PLBs, legislation in Oregon might be avoidable but at this point I wouldn’t bet on it.

 

 

I agree. I'll head down for some Civil Disobedience.

 

Arriving in Portland as I write this so gotta go…..

 

Have a safe landing!

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Kstoltz,

 

it seems you have positive intentions, however, those alone do not make for reasoned or accurate judgment. I appreciate you taking the time to respond here and to lay out your views.

 

I don't know how you can speculate that the 3 climbers on hood in december 2009 would have had a different outcome. There is some information and theories, but to say their lives would have been spared if they had some additional electronics in their hand is inappropriate speculation that I would rather not hear.

 

You say you do not know about climbing as much as the people on this board, but that you do know a lot about PLBs. There is a disconnect in that statement, when you are advocating for a mandated change in climbing behavior/protocol. I am at a loss how you logically arrive at the conclusion that mandating PLB use for a minority group (as in less climbers than ATV, hiking, fishing, hunting) is preferential when statistics and hard numbers conclude that other usergroups require more S&R resources than climbers. These figures are available for the state of oregon and if you request I will consolidate them and present them here, if you would like.

I cannot imagine the state of washington has dramatically different figures than oregon, as far as percentages of resources used for various S&R activities.

 

If you want to increase your business or increase the safety of outdoor users, or some combination of this, through education, why not partner with the state or try to get a grant or matching funds for educational courses or information packs, and/or develop a method of renting them at major climbing areas for a nominal fee, WITHOUT making it mandatory. There is no way to enforce it and S&R will always go after lost people, climbers or otherwise, whether they have a PLB or not.

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letter sent!

PMR is reconsidering their previous position based on the recent deaths and we’re (PLB Rentals) working with them to make PLBs available in place of the MLUs at a nominal charge. If we can get the word out about PLBs, legislation in Oregon might be avoidable but at this point I wouldn’t bet on it.

Let's let PMR speak for themselves please.

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Kevin, thanks for braving the waters and posting up. A few comments.

 

Given the way legislation works these days with all the special interests most people are very skeptical anytime a business and an elected official propose legislation where a specific business will gain from it.

 

For quite sometime, the general public has perceived winter time climbing above timberline to be an unreasonable risk. And the accidents that do occur are costing the states large sums of money. This is a myth, has been debunked several times by the state of Oregon and by organizations such the AAC which did a study on this subject. (Sorry, I do not have the links handy). On the cost scale climbers are a ways down on the list. As such, the climbing community is rightly upset that they are being singled out when they are not the problem.

 

I disagree that education can not be successful without legislation. One only has to look at laws regarding motorcycles and helmets or cars and seat belts. Many states still do not have laws regarding wearing helmets or seat belts. Yet many many years of education has made people realize that wearing a helmut or seat belt is smart. Further, when laws are passed it affects everybody who rides a motorcycle or drives a car no just a select few.

 

Carrying a PLB is just one tool that people have available when they find themselves up a river of excrement in a native american vessel without any means of propulsion. Just like a driver does for winter driving (some carry chains, some rely on 4x4, some use studded tires). All are a good idea by themselves and some times all are needed. Further when some form of additional traction is required, everybody is required. Though using them, like a PLB, GPS, Sat Phone, does not guarantee you will not crash.

 

If your goal is to get factual information out there please do not speculate on the incident on Mt. Hood this past December. While you may feel that not taking a PLB could well have cost the climbers their lives. I feel the opposite. Without speculating too much and for sake of argument say all three climbers did have a PLB, it is hard to activate a PLB if you have fallen and are unconscious, further if during the fall you have lost your pack which has dumped it contents it will be hard to activate a PLB that is lost.

 

Finally, I complement you on willing to work with the community. However, forcing the usage of PLB on a small user group is not the answer.

 

Sincerely,

 

Allen Sanderson

 

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This is part of a broader issue of legislative principles. Principle means having a world-view and a theory of government that informs your decisions on legislation. What we see here is a bunch of people signing on to something that doesn't jive with the current state of law & order in WA.

PRINCIPLE: MONEY

If anybody wants to talk about money, please turn your attention to the 10394 other choices people make that cost WAY more money to the government.

PRINCIPLE: SELF-DETERMINATION

If anybody wants to talk about individual choices that have no bearing on anybody else, please turn your attention to the 38923 risk-laden activities that we're still allowed to do.

Even if this was an activity that had risks to innocent bystanders AND it cost the state money, passing a law and enforcing it would have to be worth the cost of doing so. As a society, it is worth it to have police patrol the streets to keep them from becoming anything like California's. The cost to insure vehicles is double in CA as in WA, and that's thanks to a complete lack of enforcement. WA is saving its innocent drivers from the injuries and damages inflicted by transplanted Californians while saving its own money for more legitimate uses of emergency services, and that's a legitimate use of law and enforcement. I can't believe how one could conceive that legislating and enforcing the PLB issue would provide any net gain to society, and I'm shocked to see so many names on the list of sponsors. Where's the principle, people?

Legislating condom usage would be a far better source of savings to the state, and enforcement is as easy as 1-2-3! (catch a disease, go get treatment, GOTCHA!!!) It even parallels climbing in so many ways! Your only endangering yourself and your partner, getting a solution means calling for help, and the very fact that you called for help is the only way you'd ever get caught. And it's one of the best activities you could engage in on this earth. OK, I'll stop now.

A principled legislator deserves your vote whether he/she's a D or an R, and one that blows with the wind deserves a serious consideration of the alternatives.

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Does any one know how much money we spend annually on emergency services responding to car accidents? They should pass a law banning those things. Dangerous...

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PMR is reconsidering their previous position based on the recent deaths...

 

That's not true.

 

PMR's position has always been and still is in opposition to legislation requiring specific equipment. We also have always supported the (intellegent) use of MLU and PLB technology.

 

If anything has changed, it's that we are taking a more active role in trying to get PLB technology available in the Portland market. And that is where Kevin Stoltz and PLBRentals.com can help.

 

Also - here's a link to PMR's recommendation on how locating devices fit into the overall 'Safety Plan' for climbing Mt. Hood. http://www.pmru.org/safetyed/Climb_Safe.html

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Although I hope to not get in the middle of the arguments, I thought I’d post a response from PMR. For the record, I'm the VP of PMR, chair of their Public Education efforts, and have been asked to take on the expected fallout regarding beacons after the unfortunate tragedy last month.

 

I have been the one working with Kevin Stoltz and PLBRentals.com; the generous $5 winter rental program was conceived through a conversation together. Kevin’s offer works for everyone – it gets better safety devices in the hands of climbers, increases awareness, and of course is also smart marketing that helps build business.

Our next step is to develop a pilot program to rent the PLBs locally (Portland). There are mutual benefits to working together and it is PMR’s hope that we can continue to collaborate to improve availability and awareness of locating beacons – MLU, SPOT or PLB.

 

However, we respectfully differ on the value of legislation.

Please be assured that PMR is not “reconsidering their previous position based on the recent deaths”. Our position is that legislation is misguided, unenforceable, and will not achieve increased safety. It is also our goal to not be perceived as an outspoken opponent to legislative efforts. If legislation is going to be introduced, we would rather work with the legislators to educate and if necessary help craft a bill that provides the greatest benefit (or at least does the least damage). To be seen as an opponent and barred from providing input wouldn’t serve anyone’s needs. So if anyone hears that PMR is working with legislators, it is to educate and minimize any short-sighted legislation. So far our efforts are working. A bill will likely be introduced in Oregon, and we believe our outreach efforts will include SAR experts in the crafting of the bill. After a bill is introduced we may also lobby against it, too. But of course we have to see what gets introduced and act accordingly.

Washington’s HB 2619 is a good example of how things can go awry. This bill would mandate the use of an EPRIB, ELT or PLB. The first two are marine and aircraft beacons and have no place in a land-based solution. Other obvious choices such as SPOT or satellite phones (and arguably, cell phones) currently are not part of the bill, and clearly indicates the original drafter was not well-informed.

 

What will save peoples’ lives (and I know I'm preaching to the choir on this board) is education. Surviving long enough for searchers to reach you is CRITICAL. Providing your exact location is sure a great bonus, but is of no value if you’re already dead when rescuers arrive. What will keep you alive is basic snow survival skills, and at a minimum, a shovel, pad and stove. Any climber knows those are far more critical to saving lives than any sort of electronics.

Our task, and for which we’re asking for your help, is to get this point across to legislators, the general public, and most importantly, TO CLIMBERS.

 

In our efforts to build safety awareness, we've put together a one-stop shopping page for safety information for climbing Hood’s S Side. This has a map with GPS and bearings, weather and avy links, and lots of info on beacon use and how to obtain one, including info on the $5 winter PLB rental from PLBRentals.com.

Check it out at http://www.pmru.org/safetyed/Climb_Safe.html

And remember:

-KNOW the conditions

-KNOW your route

-Be PREPARED

-HAVE a BACKUP PLAN

 

Monty Smith

VP, Portland Mountain Rescue

 

Edited by Monty_Smith

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One more post and I'll go back to lurking.

I was asked to prepare an article for the Mazama Bulletin on the current state of locating beacons. I've approached it as a non-biased informational article that highlights the pros and cons, but also educates people on the issue. I'm posting it here as an FYI.

Many folks on CC.com are also from the Seattle area, and if you want this printed locally, just let me know.

 

 

Locator Beacons – MLU, PLB and SPOT

By Monty Smith

 

Since locating beacons and mandatory usage are again in the news, I was asked to provide some information. In this article I will describe the various systems in use, how and when they’re used, advantages and limitations, current issues, and how to stay alive.

First, let me define the different types of beacons or locators; three which apply and one that doesn’t. There is a new device called a RECCO reflector that is often discussed alongside new locating technologies. Popular in Europe and growing in popularity here, these are tiny devices that are sewn into clothing or built inside ski boots. A specialized RECCO receiver sends out a signal which bounces back when the receiver is pointed toward the reflector. They are used like a passive avalanche transceiver. The receivers are too big and expensive to be carried on a climb and are typically used by ski areas to locate skiers caught in an avalanche. Like an avy beacon their operating distance is quite small, on the order of tens of meters, so are not an option for locating climbers lost on a mountain.

Locating beacons used to find lost climbers are the MLU (Mt Hood Locator Unit), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) and SPOT (Satellite Personal Tracker). Most Mazamas are familiar with the MLU, developed by a mandate from the Oregon legislature after the Oregon Episcopal School tragedy in 1986. They transmit through snow, can be picked up many miles away, and have batteries that will last weeks when activated. Their limitations are that they are line of sight only and must be manually activated. Many people think once activated they will initiate a rescue, but there is no monitoring. The receivers (there are six in Oregon) remain tucked away until 911 is called, and then one is assembled and turned on. Mount Hood is the only mountain in the world to have such a system. MLUs are available for $5 rental at most Portland outdoor stores as well as 24/7 rental at the Mt Hood Inn in Govt Camp. There is no place to obtain an MLU at Timberline.

PLBs and SPOTs are similar to each other in that when activated, they’ll notify authorities via satellite and provide them with GPS coordinates. Both are about the same size and weight as an avy beacon. A PLB is a rescue-only device and works via the military satellite system; once activated NASA notifies local authorities. It also transmits a homing signal similar to an MLU which allows searchers to zero in. A SPOT is consumer-oriented and communicates through the troubled Globalstar satellite phone network. This is a commercial system (for-profit) with features such as Google Maps tracking and an “All OK” signal sent to pre-programmed email addresses. The biggest differences are reliability and cost. PLBs are built to military specifications, while a SPOT has the reliability of a consumer GPS. PLBs currently cost $3-400 but do not require an annual fee. SPOTs are ~$100 but have a $100/year annual fee, more if you want Google Map tracking or roadside assistance. Like an MLU, both require manual activation in case of emergency. One nice feature of the SPOT is if Google Map tracking is being used, friends at home can tell something is amiss if they keep reading the same location for an extended period.

Most people agree that the new satellite based locators are a big improvement over the old MLU technology. But whereas MLUs will work through snow and transmit for weeks, PLB/SPOTs use a higher frequency signal that is blocked by snow, and have a battery life of only 1-2 days. Both are available for purchase at most outdoor stores but only available for rent by mail-order.

Portland Mountain Rescue has worked with one rental company, PLBRentals.com, to provide winter-only PLB rentals for the same price as MLUs ($5 + shipping). This deal has been made available to Mazamas by using coupon code MAZAMA, or to the general public with code MTHOOD.

PLBs and SPOTs are two-way devices only insofar as they receive a high-frequency signal from a GPS satellite and transmit a lower-frequency signal to a communication satellite. There is no confirmation that your signal was received, so they’ll transmit multiple times. Their accuracy is only as good as the GPS signal received.

One issue being tested is the extent to which a snowcave will limit the functionality. In order for them to work, they must reliably receive the high-frequency signal from GPS satellites. But the higher the frequency, the more the signal is blocked by water. As any GPS user knows, the location accuracy and time to get a reading is dependent on good signal quality. When used within snowcaves, the depth of the cave and density of the snow may impact GPS accuracy, or even preclude receiving any GPS signal. Initial testing indicates greater location error than would be required to pinpoint lost climbers. Further testing by PMR is ongoing.

Cell phones have also been discussed as two-way communication devices. When you call 911, your location is picked up by the operator; quite accurately if you have a GPS-enabled cell phone. But as every user knows, reception can be spotty outside of urban areas. On Mt Hood, cell phones generally do not work anywhere other than directly above Timberline. A GPS and a cell phone can be a good combination, but only if you have service. Although of limited accuracy, cell towers can triangulate phone location based on the signal received from multiple towers. For this to work the phone must be turned on, the phone company must cooperate (sometimes they don’t) and if you’re having trouble connecting to one tower, it is unlikely you will you be able to connect to multiple towers.

This is an area that is changing rapidly, but among the available choices there still is no panacea. No solution is currently what anyone would consider a ‘good’ solution that could be relied on to save your life. Only you can do that.

However, there are currently bills being introduced or discussed in both the OR and WA legislatures that will mandate the use of locating beacons during the winter months. These bills assume that a beacon will increase safety and significantly improve rescue efforts. Carrying a beacon sure can’t hurt, unless you’re relying on it and/or have prioritized it over survival gear. Lost climbers are usually lost due to storms, when it can take days to locate and reach them. During that time, survival is critical. Items such as shovel, pad and stove can keep you alive, but a beacon won't. Always make sure you bring those critical items, then pack the beacon too.

 

 

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Their stated lack of survival gear did far more to endanger them than their lack of a beacon.

 

Monty, while I respect the work your organization does, the above statement in regards to the accident on Mt. Hood in December is utter BS. I realize my statement is harsh and I know I was not there when Mr Gullberg was found. But how can you or PMR make such a statement? His companions were not found and to my knowledge there was zero trace of them. As such, they could have has all the survival gear in the world from a stove, to sleeping, to a PLB. None which would have done them a damn bit good if they were laying unconscious in the bowels of crevasse. More than one climber has died from exposure not because they lacked the resources but because they could not functionally use them. With no disrespect to Mr Gullberg but from what information I gathered his gear was spread out over the mountain after the accident. Rather hard to retrieve it when you are injured. ( i have dealt with such a partner after a serac avalanche that swept him into a crevasse and almost led to him to being buried alive). Ringy - dingy is the term I want to say.

 

Now I noticed in your second post which is similar you do not make the above statement. If PMR is to have any credibility with in first the climbing community and the lay public PLEASE, PLEASE think very carefully about your statements in the public. I was not impressed in the least bit with the PMR statement and reasoning regarding locator beacons last month. I really want to see organizations such PMR be on front lines and give my support but at the present time I am just not reading statements that allow me to give such support.

 

The stakes are very high for climbers in the PNW right now.

 

Sincerely,

 

Allen Sanderson

 

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Great posts. Thank you.

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Monty thanks for what you and PMR are doing. It is appreciated.

 

I do hope that as you are working with the OR legislature you emphasize that a requirement placed specifically on climbers is both unfair and ineffective if cost reduction is the goal. If climbers are required to carry a "signaling device" then every other outdoor user group requiring occasional SAR services should be required to as well - that means snow-mobilers, mushroom pickers, hunters, fishermen, back-country skiers, boaters, hikers, snowshoers, winter campers, and every other user group that accounts for more SAR calls and expense than climbers ever have...

 

I'm certainly not advocating this...but I'd be willing to bet that if someone DID, the legislation would get shut down in a hurry.

 

cheers.

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Hello Everyone,

I've become frustrated with this whole process and the message regarding the effectiveness of PLBs in general. I'm not sure why climbers and the SAR community are so anti-PLB but it's clear that even absent the legislation arguments the message being sent is not a positive one. So, we've decided to back out of the on-site rental program pilot for Mt. Hood. Below I've pasted the e-mail I sent to Monty who has been great to work with.

Kevin Stoltz

 

Hi Monty,

 

I'm going to "unplug" from all of this. Everything has become so twisted and the facts misrepresented to the point where we're really not interested in fighting this battle. The only reason we attempted to get involved in the first place is to offer our resources to help prevent future deaths on Mt. Hood. The biggest problem as I see it is 3 years ago in 2007 when legislation was proposed in Oregon it was strongly opposed by climbers and the SAR community. I get that and I agree. If there has been an increase in education and public awareness in the past 3 years, it hasn't been very noticeable. The loss of the 3 climbers in December 2009 is probably the worst thing that could have happened to underscore the point that nothing has changed to prevent deaths in the future.

 

Based on our discussions, I had thought that what PMR was reconsidering were the statements which could be interpreted as anti-PLB such as the "unnecessary risk" arguments. Rereading some of my posts, I can see how it might appear I was referencing the legislation issue. That wasn't my intent and I apologize for that. However, after reading the recent news articles and seeing the comments by PMR representatives Steve Rollins and Ian Morris, it seems as if PLBs are being lumped in with everything else and are being portrayed as a detriment to SAR and saving lives. I consider those types of statements to be highly irresponsible.

 

Despite the PMR comments and the message they seem to send, the fact remains that winter is our off-season and we do literally have PLBs sitting on the shelf doing nothing. I had thought PMR, the SAR community, climbers and all those who actually opposed legislation would jump on board and take advantage of our $5/week PLB rental offer. To me, It seems like $5/week on-site PLB rentals available and promoted locally would be strong ammunition against future legislation. While we are still committed to making our PLBs available on-line for $5/wk for activities on Mt. Hood and in the Cascades through 4/1/10, it really doesn't make sense for us to spend time putting together an on-site program for Mt. Hood. Contrary to popular belief, there's not a very strong business case for doing this, especially if those who stand to benefit are fighting it and misrepresenting the effectiveness of PLBs.

 

As far as the legislation in Washington State goes, I want to reiterate that I didn't author or propose this legislation. The topic did come up when I met with Rep. Liias and I'm grateful he proposed something if for no other reason to get people talking about this issue. In reality, we're not even to the point Oregon was 3 years ago and I fully expect HB 2619 to die an ugly death. Saving lives and minimizing risk to SAR personnel is the objective but we clearly have have a long way to go before that's going to happen.

 

I enjoyed working with you albeit briefly and wish you the best.

 

Kevin

 

 

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Monty,

 

Thank you for your work on this!

This is clearly a hot issue in our community.

Your efforts to provide level headed input are appreciated.

 

Keith Schultz

 

Edited by Bug

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House Bill 2619 has been referred to the Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee for review. It might be effective to express your opinions to the Committee members, you'll find them listed here.

 

You can track the progress of this piece of proposed legislation here.

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Hello Everyone,

I've become frustrated with this whole process and the message regarding the effectiveness of PLBs in general. I'm not sure why climbers and the SAR community are so anti-PLB but it's clear that even absent the legislation arguments the message being sent is not a positive one. So, we've decided to back out of the on-site rental program pilot for Mt. Hood. Below I've pasted the e-mail I sent to Monty who has been great to work with.

Kevin Stoltz

 

Hi Monty,

 

I'm going to "unplug" from all of this. Everything has become so twisted and the facts misrepresented to the point where we're really not interested in fighting this battle. The only reason we attempted to get involved in the first place is to offer our resources to help prevent future deaths on Mt. Hood. The biggest problem as I see it is 3 years ago in 2007 when legislation was proposed in Oregon it was strongly opposed by climbers and the SAR community. I get that and I agree. If there has been an increase in education and public awareness in the past 3 years, it hasn't been very noticeable. The loss of the 3 climbers in December 2009 is probably the worst thing that could have happened to underscore the point that nothing has changed to prevent deaths in the future.

 

Based on our discussions, I had thought that what PMR was reconsidering were the statements which could be interpreted as anti-PLB such as the "unnecessary risk" arguments. Rereading some of my posts, I can see how it might appear I was referencing the legislation issue. That wasn't my intent and I apologize for that. However, after reading the recent news articles and seeing the comments by PMR representatives Steve Rollins and Ian Morris, it seems as if PLBs are being lumped in with everything else and are being portrayed as a detriment to SAR and saving lives. I consider those types of statements to be highly irresponsible.

 

Despite the PMR comments and the message they seem to send, the fact remains that winter is our off-season and we do literally have PLBs sitting on the shelf doing nothing. I had thought PMR, the SAR community, climbers and all those who actually opposed legislation would jump on board and take advantage of our $5/week PLB rental offer. To me, It seems like $5/week on-site PLB rentals available and promoted locally would be strong ammunition against future legislation. While we are still committed to making our PLBs available on-line for $5/wk for activities on Mt. Hood and in the Cascades through 4/1/10, it really doesn't make sense for us to spend time putting together an on-site program for Mt. Hood. Contrary to popular belief, there's not a very strong business case for doing this, especially if those who stand to benefit are fighting it and misrepresenting the effectiveness of PLBs.

 

As far as the legislation in Washington State goes, I want to reiterate that I didn't author or propose this legislation. The topic did come up when I met with Rep. Liias and I'm grateful he proposed something if for no other reason to get people talking about this issue. In reality, we're not even to the point Oregon was 3 years ago and I fully expect HB 2619 to die an ugly death. Saving lives and minimizing risk to SAR personnel is the objective but we clearly have have a long way to go before that's going to happen.

 

I enjoyed working with you albeit briefly and wish you the best.

 

Kevin

 

I don't wanna play with you! I'm taking my ball and going home!

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Hello Everyone,

I've become frustrated with this whole process and the message regarding the effectiveness of PLBs in general. I'm not sure why climbers and the SAR community are so anti-PLB but it's clear that even absent the legislation arguments the message being sent is not a positive one.

 

Kevin, I think the climbing community understands the effectiveness of a PLB. But PLBs are just one tool in the quiver that will help one survive. Like any tool it can be misused and overly relied on. Just like the knuckleheads who blindly relied on their GPS and drove down a snow covered road only to get stuck.

 

I think perhaps what you are seeing is that as climbers we do not want to be told what to take on a climb. The NPS used to do that 30-40 years ago. Further, climbers do not want to be singled out as the only user group to be legislated. Especially given that the resources being used are not in proportion to those of other user groups. As such, there will be lots comments some true, some false. Kinda of like the health care debate.

 

I can understand your frustration but do not leave the table.

 

 

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