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Posted: 10/21/2004 2:57:02 PM EST
We don't have "mountains" in Texas, so maybe I'm not qualified to have an opinion on this, BUT:

Since rescuing hikers costs so much, and since each year there seems to be more and more rescues, it seems that rescued hikers should be somehow made to pay at least a portion of the cost of their rescue. Not legitimate rescues (those who were caught by an unexpected blizzard, etc.), but those hikers--who should have known better.

What say you?
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 2:59:44 PM EST
I believe they receive public remuneration for the rescue costs.

I know some rescues done around Dalonagah (sp?) use Army Rangers from Camp Frank D. Merrill.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:04:28 PM EST
Washington state passed a law allowing them to charge for a rescue but so far no one has been charged as far as I know despite many expensive rescues.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:05:44 PM EST
As many of you folks out there know Kali-fornia was hit by a pretty serious pre-winter storm. A lot of hikers were caught off-guard, and and 2 paid for it with their lives.
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kfwb.com/content.asp?STORY=/stories/M/MISSING_HIKERS&groupName=AP%20Top%20National%20Headlines&LINEUP=USHEADS&table1tabCount=6&table1tabOn=1&table2tabCount=6&table2tabOn=2&tabParams=%26table1tabCount%3D6%26table1tabOn%3D1%26tab­le2tabCount%3D6%26table2tabOn%3D2

Oct 20, 11:49 PM EDT

Two Japanese Climbers Die in Yosemite
By BEN MARGOT
Associated Press Writer

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Two Japanese climbers were found dead Wednesday in Yosemite National Park, dangling from a 3,200-foot sheer climbing face amid an early blizzard that caught hikers throughout the Sierra Nevada off-guard.

Rescuers pummeled by heavy snow and strong wind struggled to reach several stranded backpackers.

The climbers on El Capitan, the granite monolith in the Yosemite Valley that is among the world's best-known rock climbing spots, were spotted Tuesday by Yosemite rangers but could not be reached because of driving wind and snow.

A helicopter crew took off Wednesday as the storm began to clear and spotted the pair dangling lifeless about two-thirds of the way up the rock face, park ranger Deb Schweizer said.

"They weren't moving," she said. "They didn't seem well-equipped."

Rangers expected to be able to retrieve the bodies Thursday.

The Japanese men were among seven people on El Capitan when the brunt of the storm hit Tuesday, Schweizer said. A solo climber was rescued Wednesday, while rangers reached a man and a woman and were going to remain with them on the face overnight, Schweizer said. The other climbers only asked for extra supplies.

The blizzard raged at higher elevations through much of Wednesday, frustrating rescuers who labored against 4-foot-deep snow and 50 mph winds to reach the areas where the hikers were thought to be, at elevations from 8,000 to close to 10,000 feet.

"It's miserable," said Erica Stuart, spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Department.

The stranded hikers included two groups of experienced backpackers along with a couple from San Luis Obispo County who apparently set out for a day hike.

Rescue workers believe the hikers can survive if they find shelter and wait for the storm to pass. Storm clouds were expected to clear Thursday night, when temperatures were expected to plunge to zero through much of the central Sierra.

"It certainly is a bona fide blizzard condition," said Mark Burger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The missing couple was believed to have started on a two- to three-mile hike in the Sierra National Forest east of Fresno when they were caught in the storm, said Lt. Toby Rien of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

He said rescuers were fighting conditions they described as "whiteout, zero visibility."

Also in Sierra National Forest, four members of a Santa Cruz County winemaking family were reported missing Sunday after they failed to return from a two-day hike at a 9,400-foot-elevation lake northeast of Fresno.

A break in the weather late Wednesday allowed the Fresno County Sheriff's Department to dispatch a helicopter toward the group's location. It was to drop supplies if it spotted the hikers, sheriff's officer Robert Osborn said.

In a cabin at Shaver Lake near the sheriff's command post, several members of the family were awaiting word on their relatives, ages 16 to 47.

"It seems foolish to undertake this (hike). But in all fairness, they didn't know this storm was coming," said Rita Bargetto, sister of one of the missing men. "We just hope and pray they were smart enough to know they shouldn't have moved when the snow came."

Early Tuesday, the Madera County Sheriff's Department launched a search for four men from the San Francisco area who were believed to be stranded in the Ansel Adams Wilderness near the southern boundary of Yosemite National Park. The men had apparently changed the itinerary they left with family members, setting back rescue efforts.

Rescuers, including searchers riding snowmobiles, were thwarted in their attempts to find the group Wednesday. Continued bad weather turned away a military helicopter that had been called in for the search, Stuart said.

Family members said the men, ranging in age from 45 to 75, have experience camping in the snow. Authorities arranged for a military helicopter from Mather Air Force Base to search for the men once the weather breaks.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:05:53 PM EST
I thought they did have to pay. at least in canada. I've heard of canoests who punch a hole in a major credit card & hang it arround their necks. if all is lost in the river, at least they can pay for the helicopter out (providing they are found...)
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:06:29 PM EST
In Colorado, they will charge you unless you buy a hunting or fishing tag. They add a $0.25 Search & Rescue surcharge so that you are covered if you do get lost.

I think it is a great idea, like insurance.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:07:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 3:08:35 PM EST by Garand_Shooter]
My county does about 35-45 searches a year for lost hikers. The rescue squad and fire departments are all funded by the county tax base and donations, and 99% of the searchers are volunteers. However 95% of those we search for are from out of the county so they don't pay into that system... most are from Florida.

Most are lost only due to sheer stupidity on thier part. I could in less than 2 sentances tell you a foolproof way to get yourself "unlost" that will work 100% of the time.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:08:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
My county does about 35-45 searches a year for lost hikers. The rscue squad and fire departments are all funded by the county tax base and donations. However 95% of those we search for are from out of the county so they don't pay into that system... most are from Florida.

Most are lost only due to sheer stupidity on thier part. I could in less than 2 sentances tell you a foolproof way to get yourself "unlost" that will work 100% of the time.



Waiting
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:10:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 3:11:41 PM EST by Garand_Shooter]
Walk down till you hit water, follow the flow. You will come down to a road 100% of the time.

Works to get you to civilization even if you were too stupid to bring a map and compass.

Note this applies in my home county and 99% of the country where we have real elevation changes, in the everglades YMMV.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:17:45 PM EST

99% of the country where we have real elevation changes


Anyone prepared enough for the amount of walking that would be necessary out in the Rockies wouldn't be without map and compass in the first place. Those that are unprepared might just get to meet Darwin.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:23:59 PM EST
The thing is that in the rockies just having a map and compass might not save you. I got stuck on top of longs peak overnight when an unexpected storm rolled in and stranded me and my partner. We downclimbed as much as we could and then spend the night freezing until daybreak when we could see well enough to move. Had to walk out the long way and by the time we got back to our car the rangers were ready to send out the search party. So yeah, it can happen to even experienced people. And I was a very experienced climber.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:24:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 4:26:27 PM EST by Bumblebee_Bob]
A few years ago Colorado established a "Hiking Permit." Purchase is optional. But if Search and Rescue comes looking for you, you may get the entire bill. The permit is $5 of cheap insurance.

All Colo. big game and fishing licenses include a 25¢ SAR fee. Very cheap insurance.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:26:05 PM EST
In Colo, if you get picked up you by helicopter you are required to leave your rifle where you were picked up.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:35:12 PM EST


Shit happens. Some people who go into the back country are just plain unprepared and dumb, others just have bad luck (break an ankle, step over a log and get snake bit, ect).

Who's going to decide " dumb from bad luck"?


Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:39:34 PM EST
I'm glad they get charged.

Some go into rough terrain with so much as a windbreaker and snickers.

If you're going to go into the wild prepare accordingly.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:42:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By Waldo:

Shit happens. Some people who go into the back country are just plain unprepared and dumb, others just have bad luck (break an ankle, step over a log and get snake bit, ect).

Who's going to decide " dumb from bad luck"?





yeah, but 90% of the time you hear it was a person who got separated from his group or whatever and only had a windbreaker.

this reminds me of the hiker from Co that got trapped in that ravine in Utah and had to cut his arm off with a chinese knockoff of a leatherman.

at any time I am out in the wild I have three blades on me.

Prepare accordingly.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:45:28 PM EST


They do bill them for it in NH.

I think the first group got hit last year.

~$5000 was the estimate.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 4:53:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 5:06:39 PM EST by Waldo]

Originally Posted By Tactical_Jew:


yeah, but 90% of the time you hear it was a person who got separated from his group or whatever and only had a windbreaker.

this reminds me of the hiker from Co that got trapped in that ravine in Utah and had to cut his arm off with a chinese knockoff of a leatherman.

at any time I am out in the wild I have three blades on me.

Prepare accordingly.



I agree, people should prepare when going into the backcountry.

But what's the difference about picking people out of the woods, having a fire department come and put out a fire, or having a PD, EMS , ects?

Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:01:50 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bumblebee_Bob:
A few years ago Colorado established a "Hiking Permit." Purchase is optional. But if Search and Rescue comes looking for you, you may get the entire bill. The permit is $5 of cheap insurance.

All Colo. big game and fishing licenses include a 25¢ SAR fee. Very cheap insurance.


Hey that is a good idea. Personally, I consider those fees cheap at twice the price. There are so many stupid people around it's not funny. I hate to have nanny govt, but now I can see why. These people really need protection from themselves.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:06:20 PM EST
Hell I know this is not climbing but if you ass gets bent on a dive and i've dove all the major wrecks including the Doria,,which in my opinion is not the "Everest' of diving you have to foot the bill for the chamber ride,,the coasties so far just enjoy the rescue but the chamber is over 5 grand now....got to get DAN dive insurance etc. as far as adventurers from other countries they should be required to have insurance or post a bond.....
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:06:50 PM EST
If you can catch some yuppies out lost in the woods, you can shove it in their shitter and take pics.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:27:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 6:08:57 PM EST by BangStick1]
Rescues should be free.

The price of a helicopter is in the millions, training of rescue personel isn't cheap and is ongoing constantly, not to mention the salaries of all in the rescue team.

I'm just guessing but the operational costs per hour has got to be in the $1000s. How many outdoor recreationalists could afford that? Should we tell families to stay home, don't go into the wilderness unless you can afford the cost of your rescue? If the rescuers do save your ass, your next stop will be bankruptcy court.

People do stupid stuff all the time and not everyone is a trained survivalist. Sometimes, unforseen events occur and catch people unprepared. Any number of things can occur that make your 2 hr outdoor adventure to turn into a 7 day struggle for survival. It's the gov't job to protect the people, even from ourselves, when neccesary. That's why we pay taxes.


If some unforseen event should catch you unprepared when you are out in the wilderness, I'm sure you will be extremely grateful that someone was there save you, regardless of how much money you have.



Me to rescue pilot:

"Hmmp. So my choices are a $10,000 helicopter ride or a long hike to get out. How much for you to just point the way?"






Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:42:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By Stormtrooper:
The thing is that in the rockies just having a map and compass might not save you. I got stuck on top of longs peak overnight when an unexpected storm rolled in and stranded me and my partner. We downclimbed as much as we could and then spend the night freezing until daybreak when we could see well enough to move. Had to walk out the long way and by the time we got back to our car the rangers were ready to send out the search party. So yeah, it can happen to even experienced people. And I was a very experienced climber.



Yeah, but thats not lost, thats just unprepared for coonditions.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:46:15 PM EST
Well we can't leave the damn yuppies up on the hills to turn to skeletons so they go get them and put them on the news.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:57:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 5:58:42 PM EST by azcopwannabee]
If I get lost It MAY NOT be an accident.

Some people are reported LOST that aren't. I bet you $20 that if i was a day or two late
coming home from a camping trip, my wife would call the rangers. That is without a phone call to
tell her about my extension.

They may come looking and NOT find me immediatly. Would I be liable for the charges? If so WHY?
I didn't need a rescue.


Could they FORCE me to go home?

"I didn't order a rescue!!!!"
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 6:35:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By thetruth:
If you can catch some yuppies out lost in the woods, you can shove it in their shitter and take pics.



(banjo music in the background)

Squeal Boy!
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 7:19:09 PM EST
My favorite "rescue of lost hiker" story was printed in the base paper at Norton AFB back in 90 or 91. The guy was flight crew, maybe a pilot, and went on a day hike with a mylar survival blanket but no food, no water, no compass, no radio, etc. and he managed to lose his sense of direction. His wife got nervous when he didn't come back home that night so there was a search party out and was found by a helo and airlifted to the hospital.

The funny part was that he managed to get lost on Big Bear mountain and not only would have been just fine if he'd just walked downhill, but would have been fine if he'd just walked towards the bright glow in the sky that comes from the city.

Afterward, he wrote the article for the base paper and credited his survival training with keeping him safe. Told all about how he ate ants to make it through the night.




Link Posted: 10/21/2004 7:35:56 PM EST
Some states already charge hikers for s and r fees if they were irresponsible, and it can be a lot.
In colorado they also have hikers certificates you an buy for 5$s, they're good for a few years, not certain what the details are, but they cover a lot of the fees if someone has to have s and r.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 7:44:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By JPPJ:
We don't have "mountains" in Texas, so maybe I'm not qualified to have an opinion on this,

Yes they do. More importantly there are areas where it is easy to get lost which also have environments that can make being lost life threatening. Give Big Bend national park a try some time and you'll see what I mean.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 7:51:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By Jon3:

They do bill them for it in NH.

I think the first group got hit last year.

~$5000 was the estimate.



Yep. Live free or die ...

But don't expect us to pay for rescuing your stupid ass if you tromp off into the wilderness unprepared and incapable. Personal responsibility, that's what I love about this state.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:49:42 PM EST
First, I just moved to Wisconsin from Washington state for work, so I was rather disappointed when I found out that I was a little late for Wisconsin's mountains - they got mowed down by a glacier thousands of years ago. No mountain rescue issues here.

When I lived in Utah I was involved in a mountain rescue. We had just climbed a ridge and saw a guy down in the next valley waving to us in a distressful manner. One of my ski touring partners had a cell phone. We sent another friend down into the valley with instructions to wave to us if it was serious. He waved, so the friend with the cell phone stayed behind to call from where he could get reception and called the local sheriff's office. (number kept in a small notebook just in case)

What had happend was that a guy had skied a convex face that terminated with a boulder field. He never saw it until it was too late. It was the only one in the area - very bad luck. He hit it full on and was pretty messed up - blood everywhere. This is a very humbling experience because here you are in the middle of nowhere and a guy has a puncture wound right where his spleen is located and multiple lacerations all over. Did I mention that another storm pulse was moving up the canyon? In short, we bundled the guy up with a tarp, bandaged what we could and waited for help to arrive. The helicopter came in between the storms, and the guy took a very expensive helicopter ride to the hosptial and survived. I always wondered what would have happend if we had gone into a different valley? Those guys didn't have a cell phone / ham radio, no tarps, no maps, no compass, limited food, no medical supplies, not even a whistle. They did have matches however for their bong! They should not have skied a face they could not totally see - it was a cluster %$@ that did happen. In short, sometimes people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time due to chance or stupidity, but I don't think they should be dinged for it even if they are not prepared.

I have to agree with SS109 in that Colorado has a great setup with the hunting / fishing tags. Obviouly someone has to pay for the misfortune, but I just don't think its fair for just hunters and fishermen to pickup the tab for everyone else. Washinton State should adopt Colorado's system, but the nature-faker liberals there want people to have a reason to stay out of the forests. Threaten bankruptsy and people will opt for a day at the park.

- long rant over -
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 2:39:10 AM EST
Our taxes pay for rescue services. If you are going to start a pay as you go system for EMS services, then it should apply to everyone.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 2:54:03 AM EST

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Our taxes pay for rescue services. If you are going to start a pay as you go system for EMS services, then it should apply to everyone.



Our EMS system in my county is pay as you go, but fire and rescue (who do the searching) are funded by the tax base.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 3:11:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/22/2004 3:17:29 AM EST by Noname]
They found the two groups of BayArea hikers today. IINM they were announcing storm warning since midweek. The two Nippon hikers were frozen tho...





While looking for a shot of "The Captain" I came across this young couple's travel log of Yosemite. Lots of good pic's for those who never have been there.


www.ics.uci.edu/~celio/yosemite/yosemite.html
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 3:28:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By JPPJ:
Not legitimate rescues (those who were caught by an unexpected blizzard, etc.), but those hikers--who should have known better.

What say you?




If someone is out for a day hike, there should be no 'unexpected blizzards'. If they're out for a few days then they should have prepared accordingly. I like the Colorado idea of a surcharge to make a fund for rescues. I shot a deer last year during a nasty blizzard. There was only about 1/2 hour of daylight left so I had to go back and 'rescue' the deer the next day.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 7:02:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Hoplophile:

Originally Posted By JPPJ:
We don't have "mountains" in Texas, so maybe I'm not qualified to have an opinion on this,

Yes they do. More importantly there are areas where it is easy to get lost which also have environments that can make being lost life threatening. Give Big Bend national park a try some time and you'll see what I mean.



+1

Davis Mountains come to mind also.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 7:22:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Hoplophile:

Originally Posted By JPPJ:
We don't have "mountains" in Texas, so maybe I'm not qualified to have an opinion on this,

Yes they do. More importantly there are areas where it is easy to get lost which also have environments that can make being lost life threatening. Give Big Bend national park a try some time and you'll see what I mean.



He's an East Texan - they like to use the rest of the state to show how large it is, but too often forget it's there otherwise.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 7:39:34 AM EST
Prevailing theory on not charging for rescues is that if someone is in a questionable life and death situation, they may not decide to call for a rescue out of fear of the cost involved. And if their situation turns out to be a life and death and they then die because they were too cheap to call for a rescue, the US has lost another tax payer. So most places take that thinking out of the equation so people won't hesitate in calling for a rescue, even if it was their own fault for being there at the wrong time. Some places in California will charge for rescues and possibly add criminal charges. Those places are near the ski resorts where someone skiing/boarding goes out of bounds and gets lost/stranded. That ski ticket is a contract and if someone breaks the contract they know the results. The local gov's will charge in that case. But other than that most placed don't charge. There are pocket exceptions, too, in use-fee areas. If if requires a permit and fee to enter and you don't have those, you've broken the law and will be charged accordingly. Those use-fee areas are well signed so no-one can plead ignorance. But it all comes down to who is going to pay. Use-fees just offset some of the costs. I'm actually glad that I won't get charged and that taxes would pay for any rescue of myself. Since I pay some much damn tax as it is and it goes to so many crazy social programs and entitlements, I look at the cost of a rescue for me as already been paid for by myself and the taxes I paid. I don't collect social security, I don't collect unemployment, I don't collect free health care, I don't take any handouts. I do drive on the roads, expect some security from the military, police and fire, have a child that will be going to school soon, and go to business and restaurants where gov regulation makes my visit safe. I don't get the benefit of all the taxes I pay today, but I look at the fact that a rescue cost won't be charged to me as my one time payback from the gov. My bigger problem would be my own potential death and the ridicule I'd get from the climbing community and me getting a reputation as a bozo who isn't prepared.
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