Monday, December 18, 2006

    Mt. Hood Dummies: Lost VS Stupidity

    Earlier this month the Kim family became lost on their way to their destination. Their unfortunate mistakes, along with an lame emergency services coordinator and football happy sheriff, cost Mr. Kim his life. When about a week passed Mr. Kim made the heroic effort (in desperation) to try and find help for his family. Mr. Kim's body was found not by any efforts of Oregon officials, but by a helicopter hired by Mr. Kim's father.

    The Kim family was truly lost, yet official efforts to rescue them in a timely manner remain in doubt.

    Now, more deaths in Oregon. Three out-of-state hikers, ignoring many signs, attempt to climb Mt. Hood this month. Now dead, I have to wonder why these three received so much dedicated resources that the Kim family did not.

    The Hood Hikers didn't get lost - they knew where they were going, when they were going, and what they chose to do. They took a chance - and lost. Sort of like someone claiming to be an expert swimmer diving off the Golden Gate bridge (duh).

    So why was stupidity rewarded over innocence? Good question. Why do I say they were stupid while family members and others say they were experienced climbers? Two BIG signs they ignored:
    • Sign 1 ignored: They knew storms were approaching, yet they decided to Go For It

    • Sign 2 ignored: The climbing season for Mt. Hood is between May and July - NOT December, yet they decided to Go For It.
    While they have climbed other mountains (never Mt. Hood) they surely were not smart climbers:
    • No reliable communication devices

    • No GPS devices to relay coordinates should they run into trouble

    • No emergency radio beacon (such as a COSPAS-SARSAT or equiv.)

    • No adequate provisions - they packed light expecting a short trip
    Then I have to think of the lives at risk and the money spent because of these three dead guys that intentionally did what they did, when they did, and how they did.

    I am sad for the families, no doubt about that.

    I have to wonder if this same effort applied to the innocent and truly lost Kim family would have prevented the sad death of James Kim.

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