Hiking/Mountaineering in the Northwest during the winter

I consider myself a pretty sympathetic guy, generally. And I feel really for bad for the families involved in tragedies such as these...but when the mourning ends, might we stop and ask what leads someone to climb an 11,000 foot mountain in the middle of winter - not to mention in the Northwest where mountain snowfall can and often is measured in meters. I mean, let's face it, weather here is pretty darn fickle...this just seems to me to be a tragedy that could have easily been avoided.

And I will not mention the tremendous amount of public dollars that will be spent trying to find these people. Perhaps adventurous mountaineers ought to carry a S&R insurance policy?

I can imagine that if these men were my relatives I'd eventually have to deal with some anger issues: Why did they insist on doing something so obviously dangerous at such an obviously dangerous time of the year?


Anonymous said…
The current sadness on Mt. Hood reminds me of 20 years ago. I was finishing school and the last Mt. Hood disaster was unfolding. It turned yout to be the "2nd worst" mountaineering loss in US history, and it involved someone I knew. Tom Goman,the Episcopal cleric leading the trip was ordained at my parish in around 1970. I had hiked and climbed with him, and realized then I would have trusted him on a trip like the one that killed him and a bunch of his students. It could easily have been me on a trip like that one. I have a hunch mountains like that do in so many people simply because not enough people are scared of them. So *many* people just walk up and down with no problem that it's forgotten just how much danger is involved. And there's the season. The climb is plenty respectable in good weather. Why go looking for trouble? --bob k.
Anonymous said…
This is clearly a nightmare for the climber's families. In addition, the rescuers who are searching in such dangerous conditions are heros.

Unfortunately, this is also a symbol of our times which worships "following your bliss." How selfish were these climbers? When people have to risk their lives to try and save them, the answer is extremely. Perhaps there was something else more valuable they could have done rather than provide creepy fodder for cable news.

Anonymous said…
I've been a mountain rescue volunteer - sometimes there's a really fine line between the daft things climbers do and the crazy things one has done oneself.

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