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December 20, 2006



Your assessment is entirely reasonable and, I suspect, quite true.

I've personally not paid a bit of attention to it because I'm a reasonable man. I know that reasonable people - the type likely to be ready, or at least cursorily prepared for such a monumental undertaking as a winter hike of Mt Hood with a large winter storm brewing rihgt behind them (c'mon, 10 day forcasts are useful!).

A reasonable person, if they even undertook the trip, would plan sufficiently and would have started burning down huge swaths of trees to help send up a signal at the first sign that things were going poorly. Reasonable people - to say nothing of being particularly skilled - would not head for the peak of a mountain during winter when they are injured, short on supplies, and freezing to death; they would head down, towards safety (granted, they may have been aware that the top part of a mountain can be slightly warmer, but I doubt that adheres with known facts - or, at least, not to the facts as I understand them).

So basically, yeah, there's probably something to your theory. I hadn't even heard of the 2nd note - I basically just wrote it off right away as, "Yeah, idiots gone got killed. Call off the SAR, they're dead already."

Frankly, I'm surprised they made it as far as they did.


Could it possibly be that the "note" was simply a list of equipment they had planned on purchasing either now or at some point in the future?

No matter what kind of equipment they had with them, they shouldn't have been on that mountain in December with a storm less than two days away. I don't care how experienced a climber is...even if he/she is knowledgeable about the way Oregon storms come in like lions, they don't need to be on Hood in December!


"the second "note", being either totally misinterpreted (unlikely) or a bald-faced lie (most likely) deceived us all into supporting the huge rescue effort, and quieted the voice of reason that says that such climbs shouldn't be made or even allowed."

If in fact it was fraud some one should go to the slam..but I would never try to quiet the voice of reason that would prohibit the such climbs..I believe in the Darwin law. In addition, I believe in freedom. However, I also figure that when daredevils dare they are on their own..it is not society's responsibility to bail them out.

I think the second note you are referring to is the one found at the ranger station, which said they were bringing food, fuel, and bivvy sacks, all of which is perfectly true. This was parlayed into hope simply because hope is what people wanted to find. There was no deception.

I've done a little Winter climbing and can honestly tell you that it's not an inherently egotistical pursuit. There is clearly zero benefit to the rest of the world, but not everything we do is intended to benefit the world. How else do you explain SUVs? For me it's about being free, focused, and in the moment. All the cares of real life simply drop away for a time. It's what I imagine soaring like an eagle would be like.

Please know that the climbing community is mindful of the expense and that money is pouring in from all across the country if not world to defray the cost. I don't think we'll come close to taking the entire burden off the tax payer, but in our society we frequently share each other's burdens. For example, I don't live in a flood plain, but I'm sharing the cost of rebuilding for a lot of people that just had to live on the water. Please don't think I'm arguing that flood victims were somehow asking for it... I merely mean that many homes are built in areas that flood regularly, and the owners have decided that the risk is worth taking, just as we climbers do. Most often, they're perfectly right. Sometimes nature simply conspires against them.



Excellent deduction and analysis. I just found this blog and I'm beginning to love it.

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