Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stupidity exacts toll from Montreal Skiers

News Item: Quebec skiers die in BC resort

The news has been chock full this week over how bad the RCMP are for not rescuing a Montreal couple fast enough. While I can't speak to their decisions regarding an SOS reported scratched into some snow, I can speak to the incredible stupidity demonstrated by this couple. The couple were incorrectly called experienced skiers. Nothing could be further from the truth. This pair defied posted warnings, crossed a fenced off area and headed into the back country with no food, no GPS, no compass, no map, no fire making equipment, no avalanche beacons or probes, no extra clothing, no route finding skills and most importantly, without anyone knowing where they were going or when they were to be expected back. Out of this list of 9 must-have essentials, even one of them could have saved their lives. You might as well jump out of an airplane without a parachute. I routinely travel in far more isolated mountain locations than this couple was "lost" in, but I equip myself with such supplies to ensure my safety and have a check-in procedure complete with intended route description. Traveling in the back country isn't a sneer at death, unless you make it so by taking no precautions or placing yourself in situations beyond your skill, experience and equipment.

The climbing bible for my neck of the Rockies, written by local legend Alan Kane says it best:

"Select a route within your level of ability and skills. If you don't know what your abilities are, maybe you don't have any."

Blaming anyone but themselves only excuses their stupidity.

1 comment:

CaptainOrange said...

But, people are leaping to avoid ´seeming´ responsible. Why is that? Government is always on guard. Their justification for being is the lie that they can keep us safe. If we find out they can´t then perhaps we´ll start doing it ourselves. Clearly that is what this couple should have done. While we´re at it, we might stop complaining about the state of the economy and start managing our own money, too.