Lost In America

Between Britney’s cooter and Son of the Duke Lacrosse Players Scandal it’s hard to tell which spells slow news month more across the country.

Oh right, then we have The Great Oregon Mount Hood Rescue. If I have to hear anything more about three idiots who took to hiking in a snow storm I’ll hop a plane and go dig them out myself.

Think I’m being uncharitable? Get a load of what locals think in The Oregonian:

Lost climbers: Risk-taking annoys public

“Why are smart, “experienced climbers” lost on this mountain in December?

Is there something in climbers that makes them think they’re invincible? And do they ever consider that the risks they take impact the safety of those who might have to come searching for them?

SANDRA GOODRUM, Lake Oswego

We have a limited pool of searchers qualified to search Mount Hood in these treacherous winter conditions. Now we have a search in play that is taxing the most experienced of our people.

Lost are three climbers described as “very experienced.” I cannot understand how climbers of this caliber chose to take a cell phone over a radio locator. Is it weight? Can they only be rented?

I sincerely hope the answer is not “it comes down to choice,” because we now have rescue climbers on this mountain in the worst of conditions searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack, and they are all at risk for death or serious injury.

NANCY FORMAN, Beaverton

There is a vast difference between the vacationing Kim family, who had no idea of the risk they would be taking on that remote mountain road, and the three experienced climbers lost on Mount Hood who undertook a risky challenge on purpose, knowing full well the problems they might encounter. They made an “informed decision” to go out with minimal gear.

Mountain climbing in winter is, by definition, a high-risk activity. It is unrealistic for those who choose to risk their lives to expect others to come to their rescue if they have difficulties.

A good rule of thumb for the Oregon winter would be: Don’t count on being rescued. Stay within your ability and pay attention to the weather that can change quickly. If you have to be rescued, be prepared to pay for the cost of all that equipment and all those man hours.

PATRICIA ANDERSON, Wood Village

The plight of the missing climbers on Mount Hood proves, once again, that it doesn’t matter how smart, well-prepared or experienced one is. Their route, from Cooper Spur up Eliot Glacier and over the summit, was overly ambitious during most months, but to do so in December is to defy Mother Nature.

Mount Hood demands our respect. Unfortunately, Mother Nature will always get the last word.

P.D. TAIT, Northeast Portland

I’m with Ms. Anderson; rescue them, get them home where they belong – get them off the television 24-hours-a-day – and when it’s all over send them an invoice wrapped with a big bow.

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