Monday, February 19, 2007

Peak Peril

I won’t pretend to not to know why these stories of stranded mountain climbers seem to always get media attention far beyond their significance. It’s obvious that these stories are covered so thoroughly because they are real-life dramas. Life and death situations against a dramatic backdrop. And there’s usually a “race against time” factor built in to raise suspense.

Still, they annoy me. These people aren’t victims innocently caught unaware by the forces of nature. No, they knew exactly what they were getting into when they headed up the mountain. I’m not suggesting rescue attempts not be made, obviously we shouldn’t let them die of their own stupidity. But they should not be made out to be heroes either. Again, they quite deliberately put themselves in this situation.

I’m not sure what the process is, if any, for getting permission to climb, say, Mt. Hood. But I’m thinking some sort of rescue insurance requirement might be nice. This would be used to reimburse the public for the expense of rescuing these folks.

If your airplane crashes on the side of a mountain and you survive to be rescued, you’re a hero and the trip off the mountain is on us. But if you deliberately place yourself in this situation, maybe you should buy your own ticket down as well.

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