Mountain Rescue: Questions In The Wake Of Mount Hood

I came across this article at the Salt Lake Tribune website while surfing about earlier. It poses some difficult and important questions about the nature of mountain rescue, especially in the wake of the three men dying on Mt. Hood a few weeks back.

The article states that there are many questions that surroind such activites suchs as: “Who’s paying for all this? Why aren’t mountain climbers required to carry emergency locator devices? And what were these men doing on Mount Hood in December? ” The article then goes on to to explore some of these very issues, such as the “who pays for it” one. Several states have a policy in which the person being rescued has to pay, but there are groups that are against such policies as it encourages people to stay home, play it safe, and avoid risks. On the other hand, the arguement against requiring locator beacons is that it might encourage people to take more risks thinking they always have a back-up. Personally, I’d bet you’d have more people setting off their beacons when they really weren’t in trouble at all.

What’s your take on this article? What responsibilities to we have for our own safety when we’re in the backcountry? When should we expect to be rescued? I’m sort of torn on this whole issue, as obviously I think it’s important that we conducts these rescues, but in the case of the three men on Mt. Hood, it wasn’t just that they were there in December, but also that they were there in December without proper gear.

3 thoughts on “Mountain Rescue: Questions In The Wake Of Mount Hood”

  1. None of the solutions give the risk-taker much choice. I think a climber (or other risk-taker) should be allowed to say, “I’m going to risk my life and I don’t want to be rescued if I fail”. That should be free, even if it is frowned upon and somewhat impractical.

    For the rest of us, I like programs like Colorado’s Search and Rescue Fund. Buy your license, and the fund will pay for your rescue if you need it.

  2. Good point Dylan. We don’t really have a lot of choices, and it’s not like we set out to get into trouble, sometimes unforeseen things occur.

    The Colorado Search and Rescue Fund is really an interesting idea. I like that a lot as well, and I wasn’t aware of it. Thanks for pointing it out. Much appreciated.

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