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Doug

PLB Legislature introduced in WA Legislature

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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-MANDATORY 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

 

 

While there may be a few that are anti PLB; I believe I speak for most in saying that climbers are anti mandatory PLB. Please try to understand this. Get the word to everyone who could use one and let them make their choice. Use marketing and advertising, not legislation. The negative reaction is largely based on the notion that someone is proposing to legislate something that should be a personal choice and it singles out a group that accounts for a single digit percentage of SAR activity.

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I am all for safety by any means necessary as a matter of personal responsibility and experience and learning and NOT through legislation.

 

Legislating anything even slightly dangerous will overwhelm our elected officials. Next would be a bill prohibiting 4 cops from being in Starbucks in Seattle at 8:00 a.m. because a freakazoid might walk in and shoot them all. Life is unpredictable.

 

And while we have chatted about this over days, many thousands have died in automobiles or from cancer or heart attacks or drugs or murder or an earthquake in Haiti. I don't want to sound callous but a few climbers on Hood pales in comparison to death and destruction elsewhere.

 

Let climbers be safe by knowledge and experience and DON'T mandate.

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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

It's a good point, Allen, that nobody knows what really would have helped them in reality, but I think Monty was just pointing out that bringing a few key pieces of survival gear is more useful than bringing a piece of electronic equipment. It won't keep you warm, sheltered, fed, hydrated, etc, and therefore shouldn't be any more mandatory than the things that actually would keep you alive in a large percentage of situations. This is a discussion on legislation and we're talking about various things that reduce your risk of death after an accident in general, not about specifics of their situation, and his wording actually reflects that (their stated lack of gear "endangered" them [risk], not "was responsible for their deaths" [direct causality]).

Semantics be hanged, I really appreciate PMR's thoughtful approach to involvement with this issue on every level. I moved away from the PNW temporarily but I'll be back and I'm glad to know people are working hard to preserve common sense in the laws that particularly affect me. Prost!

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Kevin, I'd also encourage you not to leave the table. As mentioned above...many climbers don't have anything against actual PLB usage and availability. Making it mandatory is the problem - for many reasons.

 

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.

 

Supporting legislation isn't a great way to go about entering this discussion regardless of your reason...imho. You start from that position and you will get a LOT of opposition from this crowd...before you have a chance to even enter the discussion. The only message that support for these bills sends is that you have no interest in a discussion, are uninformed, have not done your research, and have no intention of doing any research. Whether that's your intent or not...that is what I hear.

 

On another note...it looks like your company provides only ACR products for rent. The size and weight of the unit alone keeps me from considering one...and I would be unlikely to use one even if available for rent. Any chance you will offer the newer McMurdo FastFind in the future? Much smaller and lighter.

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

 

But the important thing is we’ll have an opportunity to get some factual information out there.....

 

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....

 

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.

 

Kevin

You yourself have said that you are an expert in the area of PLB’s. But if you chose to leave the discussion, and stop your efforts of providing the equipment, how do you expect anybody to learn?

 

I appreciate the time and effort you have put forth thus far. I, as well as many others here, am not against the use of electronic equipment in the wilderness. I am against mandating said equipment.

 

Without a teacher, how can anyone learn?

 

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I am a TAY'er and only visited this site thanks to a link from TAY. While I agree with the general sentiment regarding a mandated use of PLB's and similar devices we should be open to educating ourselves with how in the hands of an educated user, streamline the rescue process. I see two key issues with PLB's; 1) uneducated and possibly unprepared users initiating a rescue when not required and 2) communicating info between the PLB and the SAR boots in the mud and snow.

 

Kevin Stoltz and Marko Liias are both friends of mine and I am proud to say that I voted for both of them, why, because they listen and they typically vote the same way I would. The comments about Kevins motivation for profiteering are way off base. Yes, he has a business, but that business is in a position to help provide a tool that in the hands of an educated user has the potential to streamline the rescue process.

 

Marko's legislation may not be the right approach in our opinions, but what the heck he got our attention and now we have his. He is in a position to help both with SAR, Northwest Avalanche Center, education etc. he is more friend than foe.

 

Kevin and Marko, may not be climbers but they are both in a position to help should we be willing to sit down and talk. I challenge the professional guides, local SAR teams and other groups educating climbers to both work with Marko and Kevin to bridge the gaps between the technology, users and SAR teams. At the same time we need to educate users that many peoples lives are interrupted and potentially put at risk as soon as a PLB, SPOT or any other similar device is activated.

 

Accidents will always happen and as users we should do everything possible to minimize the hazards and exposure our dedicated SAR teams are subjected to. We would be foolish to not seize the opportunity to have this discussion with our state representatives and businessmen who are in positions to help. Seems like PMR realizes this and is trying to bridge the gap between climbers, Legislature and Technology.

 

Kevin, you are in a unique position to potentially help improve communication between PLB's and SAR teams. Please don't let a few poorly worded comments deter you from working with PMR.

 

JoeE

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. Please don't let a few poorly worded comments deter you from working with PMR.

 

JoeE

 

I don't think the comments were poorly worded. I think they were spot on. (no pun intended) I think this whole thing is nothing short of absolutely ridiculous.

 

A bunch of social do gooders (and one butter fed hog) trying to save me from myself. Can anyone explain to me what the actual problem is that you are trying to solve?

 

I'm sure the fact that the PLB company with the most to gain from this in the immediate future is pushing this legislation has NOTHING to do with the mountains of cash that would come his way if this were to pass. He surely just wants to save lives and hang out with his butter fed hog.

 

Please take your PLB and go home. Climbers do not need or want this rammed down our throats.

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These are not all poorly worded comments. These are people that are for the most part outdoor experts and are humans and like freedom and depend on individual responsibility and knowledge for their safety.

 

The AMGA would recommend this if they thought it was really important because they know more about climbing safety than 99.9% of the people on this board. (The remaining .1% post here).

 

Educate and don't legislate and mandate.

Edited by matt_warfield

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A few days back in one of my posts on the PLB brouhaha, I invited any readers who held the position that HB 2619 was a prudent idea to kindly post they're 'well reasoned' views here. This would allow us to discuss the merits of mandatory, winter, above treeline PLB use.

 

To date not a single, solitary person within the general climbing community has done so. This should, it seems, stand for something. The offer is again extended! Aren't there any non-choir members out there?

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A few days back in one of my posts on the PLB brouhaha, I invited any readers who held the position that HB 2619 was a prudent idea to kindly post they're 'well reasoned' views here. This would allow us to discuss the merits of mandatory, winter, above treeline PLB use.

 

To date not a single, solitary person within the general climbing community has done so. This should, it seems, stand for something. The offer is again extended! Aren't there any non-choir members out there?

 

I'm going to play devils advocate for you. Before I get flamed, I don't support the legislation, but figure playing devils advocate makes people think about issues, so here goes.

 

I'm not going to try and argue the mandating of PLB's across the whole state. Instead, I'll argue the merits of mandating their use at specific, high volume, mountains, AKA, Rainier, Baker, Adams, Helens. Because of the vast amount of inexperienced and ill prepared climbers that attempt these summits, and because of the substantial risks that exist on these mountains, implementing a low or no cost rental program as part of the climbing permit process would ensure that those climbers who would have climbed unprepared anyway now at least have one tool to alert rescue teams as to their location and notification of a dire situation. Making them mandatory and in low or no cost program as part of the climbing permit process would ensure that novices did not fail to receive a beacon because of cost purposes. This idea is similar to many ski areas that require special equipment to ski out of bounds, notably beacon, probe and shovel.

 

End devils advocate. I just can't argue that point anymore, I disagree with it too much. Additionally, I wrote my district reps about this bill and expressed my opposition along with some personal experiences of why it won't help people. Hoping this bill goes up in flames. Oh, and I do actually own a beacon, I just don't want to be told to carry it if I'm not feeling like it.

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This bill is now scheduled for Public Hearing on Tuesday January 26 2010 @ 9:00 am and will be heard in the executive session on January 29 2010 at 8:00 am.

 

I encourage any and all who have an opinion on this bill to attend the public hearing.

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This bill is now scheduled for Public Hearing on Tuesday January 26 2010 @ 9:00 am and will be heard in the executive session on January 29 2010 at 8:00 am.

 

I encourage any and all who have an opinion on this bill to attend the public hearing.

 

I can't make the hearing, but I did just call Rep Liias's office and they sent me the following information (nothing really new.) I sent back a response with a few questions. If anyone goes to the hearing, please post a trip report. :)

 

 

 

The Leg Aid's note begins:

 

Here are some links about the issue. I have also attached an press release. At the bottom is an email response we have sent out explaining Rep. Liias’ position on the bill. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

 

 

Story in the Sandy Post regarding the Mt. Hood locator/beacon issue (http://www.sandypost.com/news/print_story.php?story_id=126334956046933000.)

 

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2619&year=2009

 

The PLB Rentals, LLC PLB information document:

http://www.plbrentals.com/PLBInfo1007.pdf

 

A good opinion piece with good reader feedback

http://www.sandypost.com/opinion/story.php?story_id=126092816929688000

 

Portland Mountain Rescue's position statement against requiring PLBs

http://www.pmru.org/pressroom/headlines/20091213PMRStatementRegardingMissions.html

 

Another very interesting article with both sides of the argument and names

http://airamerica.com/breakingnews/14614/

 

 

“I am glad to hear that word is getting out about HB 2619, because I do think that public safety is an important issue. As you well know, thousands of people enjoy Washington’s beautiful mountain terrain every year, and each season, there are well-publicized cases where individuals are killed or seriously injured due to the dangers inherent in this type of recreation. Just a few weeks ago, there was a story from Mt. Hood in Oregon, where a group of hikers was lost for several days.

 

The search and rescue efforts in these cases can cost thousands of dollars, and I want to make sure that we are using these resources efficiently. Kevin Stoltz, a local small business owner, shared with me a bill that was considered in the Oregon Legislature in 2007 that would help address this situation by requiring climbers in the most dangerous conditions to take along an emergency locator device. These devices are small and easy to carry, and in an emergency, they can help searchers pinpoint emergency situations immediately. They are also cost-effective, simple models can be rented for a few dollars a day, and they can be purchased online from dozens of retailers for around $100.

 

So, since this seemed like a smarter use of public resources at minor cost to those people that are out enjoying our beautiful scenery, I decided to copy the Oregon bill and propose it here. I am not an expert on mountain climbing, but there will be a lengthy public process to vet this bill, and see if it is the best way to tackle this challenge.

 

As for the conspiracy theories surrounding the bill, I have often gotten good ideas from local business owners and residents, this bill is no different. I will not personally profit from this proposal, I just think it’s a creative way to keep the public safe, and I think it deserves to be considered.”

 

 

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I'll be there. The Sandypost links are retread arguments containing fallacies regarding the cost of rescue; PLB Rentals sells and rents beacons. They would and should tout their merits.The Airamerica link is invalid.

 

We're going there loaded for bear to get this killed, but the foe may be much more ferocious than bear....politicians :rolleyes:

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I have created an online google document to collect names of those who oppose this bill.

 

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFZPUy1QMXdCMUhmUV9HWWFEajVoMEE6MA

 

In the event you cannot use the google site, feel free to email me your:

1)Full name

2)City, County of residence

3)Any additional Comments you may have (be civil)

 

Send email to cwcguides@gmail.com

 

Edited by summerprophet

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It's a good point, Allen, that nobody knows what really would have helped them in reality, but I think Monty was just pointing out that bringing a few key pieces of survival gear is more useful than bringing a piece of electronic equipment. It won't keep you warm, sheltered, fed, hydrated, etc, and therefore shouldn't be any more mandatory than the things that actually would keep you alive in a large percentage of situations. This is a discussion on legislation and we're talking about various things that reduce your risk of death after an accident in general, not about specifics of their situation, and his wording actually reflects that (their stated lack of gear "endangered" them [risk], not "was responsible for their deaths" [direct causality]).

 

The whole argument of PLBs saving lives assumes that:

- the subject is physically capable of triggering the PLB

- the PLB signal is received (how does it work if in a canyon or buried under something?)

- the rescuers can reach the subject in time, even if having an exact location

 

In winter on Hood, the weather / avy danger can suck so bad that rescuers have to sit and wait for their personal safety, even if they know where the subject is.

That is why it is essential for the subject to have survival gear.

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maybe PLB, FULL survival gear, weeks supply of rations, 100 sherpas, and fixed lines to the car should be mandated by law for any outdoor recreationalist.

Edited by genepires

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Jeebus, Gene! You forgot the most important piece of survival gear of all!

 

The mandatory tauntaun!!!1

tauntaun.jpg

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This bill is now scheduled for Public Hearing on Tuesday January 26 2010 @ 9:00 am and will be heard in the executive session on January 29 2010 at 8:00 am.

 

I encourage any and all who have an opinion on this bill to attend the public hearing.

 

Looks like the hearing is at 10:00, 2nd floor of the John L O'brien Building which is SW of the Capitol Dome. I hope to see some of you there.

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The bill got removed from the agenda earlier this morning at the request of the primary sponsor, taking it off the table for this session. Unfortunately, this wasn't apparent until arriving at the hearing. The implication is that it will be re-tooled and rewritten and come up again, but at least the Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee is aware of the various SAR groups' position and likely they will be involved in any proposal from the get go.

 

There was a strong turn out of great SAR folks from around the state prepared to testify, and written information was passed to each of the committee members. Certainly a battle won, but it will likely come up again. The guy from the state who's in charge of rescue coordination was also there, and it sounds like he's well aware of the minimal overall impact of climber rescues in the big picture of search and rescue operations for the state and is no fan of mandated beacons.

 

 

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The bill got removed from the agenda earlier this morning at the request of the primary sponsor

 

I'm sorry Off_White...but what a douche.

Edited by dberdinka

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The bill got removed from the agenda earlier this morning at the request of the primary sponsor...

I heard that, too, OW.

 

GREAT JOB, EVERYONE, for writing in and voicing your opinion on this issue!!!1 :tup: :tup:

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Great turn out this morning. A heartfelt thank you to all of you that took the time to give your input. As Off_White said, the probability that the bill will get re-written is there, but the House Committee was impressed with the information they received. If this bill is re-written I strongly suspect It will not target climbers and probably won't get much further.

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Let's all of us give a very big thanks to Seattle Mountain Rescue and the many others involved who sent letters and emails on HB 2619. Most hopefuly, everyone's strong efforts will result in a complete quashing of this misguided attempt to limit the freedom of a quite small number of hardy wintertime climbers and backcountry skiers. I certainly feel better following today's collaborative efforts.

 

Do please bear in mind that: 'it's not over, until it's completely over'!

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The guy from the state who's in charge of rescue coordination was also there, and it sounds like he's well aware of the minimal overall impact of climber rescues in the big picture of search and rescue operations for the state and is no fan of mandated beacons.

 

Chris Long, State SAR Coordinator.

 

Thanks OW and all who tried to show in person! Also to everyone that helped to knock it down by writing in. Stay tuned, I guess...

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Thank you Cascade Climbers, Department of Emergency Management, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Central Mountain Rescue, Everett Mountain Rescue, Washington Mountain Rescue Association and the Mountain Rescue Association for representing the best interests of the general public, climbing and SAR communities on this bill.

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