Monday, December 18, 2006
Have you climbed Mount Hood?
Are you a climber? We want to see photos and videos any peaks you've scaled, especially Mount Hood, and hear why you did it. Did you narrowly escape trouble or have a problem-free adventure?
Posted By CNN: 6:45 PM ET
Are the searchers using dogs to find missing climbers?
Posted By Anonymous Tatjana, Irvine, CA : 6:58 PM ET
Dear Blog Producer:

I don't want to burst your bubble on this one. Good luck. I want to share with you some rules of mountain climbing I have learned over the years from DH.

1. You can't take your gloves off ever! Not even to go to the bathroom. When the wind is 60 to 120 mph, it is a climbing basic to keep your gloves on. Therefore it is very hard to operate a camera (digital or camcorder). When you take it out of your pack, it freezes. The parts of the camera freeze because it is freezing on a mountain in most cases even in the summer.

2. You must never over pack. So therefore, most climbers would never add unnecessary weight like a cam recorder. When DH climbs, they are prohibited.

3. What the climbers do carry are the cheap toss camera because they are light weight and they buttons are big enough to press. There is a science to getting DH packed for a trip. You have to buy the cheap toss ones with BIG buttons.

4. If you have the cheap photos, you never get them via digital.

5. Cell phones do not work. That is why most guides and guided trips ALWAYS have satellite equipment including telephones with the sherpas.

I hate to sound negative, but you probably will have very few photos or personal movie recordings on Mt. Hood, Mt. Shasta, Rainer, Killimanjaro or Everest. If you do, I would be very, very surprised in this case.

So to hear about the dead climber, the risks are just too high in the winter even for experienced, strong men and women. If you look at guided trips even for the experienced ones, they do not climb in the winter.

DH says it is no fun and too much work in the winter. Who wants to be blissed out at the summit when your body and spirit are maxed out to get there?
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 7:48 PM ET
I climbed Mt. Humphreys, the highest point in Arizona, at 12,633 feet in the summer of 2002. It was a relatively problem-free hike...we started at base camp in the morning and made it to the top by midday, only to come back down by evening. Then again, we were long distance runners used to the high altitude, and we were pretty prepared. The weather was perfect also.

My condolences and prayers go out to those involved, especially the families in this tough time, especially around the holidays. It takes special men and women to have the courage to scale any tough peak, and Mt. Hood is one of them.
Posted By Anonymous Jose, Columbia, MO : 12:21 AM ET
I'm not a climber, nor will I ever be. Too scared! But, you have to realize that these people took a chance in winter conditions to do this. While I empathize with their families and friends, we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and man hours looking for three people who knew better than to do this at this time of year.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Foley, Alabama : 11:54 AM ET
I am deeply offended by those in the media and the general public who have chosen to focus on the cost of the rescue in progress, as if to say that the victims of this incident somehow got what they deserved by undertaking their climb. The only morally acceptable response to a situation where other people are in dire need, whether it be fire, flood, hurricane, or three guys stuck on a mountain, is to ask, "What can I do?", not, "How much will it cost?".

Our response to this situation goes far beyond the question of whether or not the three men should or should not have tried to climb Mount Hood. Our country was founded on the notion that "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" are among our inalienable rights. Millions of men and women in uniform have given their lives to protect those rights, and millions more have sacrificed where our nation has fallen short of that lofty goal. The men on Mount Hood were pursuing a dream. With dreams come risks, in climbing as in all other pursuits. Our nation has benefitted greatly from men and women who took big chances and succeeded.

Unless we are prepared to curtail the freedoms of future generations, and accept limitations on our own freedom imposed by those who think differently than we do, we would do well to accept the fact that others may take chances which we would not accept ourselves, and to acknowledge a common responsibility to our fellow citizens when all does not go well.

Although details of the climbers' preparations and equipment are sketchy, I am satisfied that they were neither reckless nor irresponsible. To the contrary, my thirty years as a climber allow me to say with confidence that these men went into the mountains with the proper experience and gear to successfully and safely accomplish their objective. Even if that were not the case, I cannot imagine you would find a single person among the rescue team who thought that the men they were searching for were somehow unworthy of their effort. The sherrif's deputies, military personnel, and volunteer reascue team members are heroes in my book. They are an example of the best this country has to offer. They are not counting their money, trying to decide whether or not to continue their search, and their should we.
Posted By Anonymous Steve Larson, Glendale, CA : 5:36 PM ET
Dear CNN Blog Producer,

Last summer I summited Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the northeast. It was my first day out hiking, ever. I quickly learned to pack light, yet mindful and purposefully.
The risk, and joy, for me in climbing surmounts in overcoming the odds. There is never certainity and always danger. Summiting these world renound peaks is incredible and spectacular, but always involves a known uncalculated risk.
Posted By Anonymous C.M.H., Philadelphia, PA : 5:46 PM ET
I think the climbers were risk taking and foolish. Each had families that will now be affected dramatically. They knew the dangers and conditions of the mountains and risked their lives for a "high" that proved to be their demise. I have sympathy for the families but if this was my husband I would be mad as hell since this accidnet did not have to occur. Certain risks should not be taken when other people are depending on you. Now other rescuers are risking their lives because of risk-taking gamblers. Gambling with their lives and the lives of their families. Very selfish. Adventure is one thing, foolishness in another.
Posted By Anonymous L. Dousharm, Tivoli NY : 6:04 PM ET
Dear Renee Bradenton,

I hate to burst your bubble on this one, too. It appears that one of the climbers had a camera with him. I quote from CNN:

Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler said Tuesday that a camera was recovered along with James' body, and the pictures it contained were proving very valuable to investigators.

Renee, I hate this contradicts your previous statement. You sounded quite convincing. Let's not go bubble-popping too early.

Posted By Anonymous Schuyler Deerman, Berlin, Germany : 6:31 PM ET
I think they were selfish for taking such a big risk. They broke the hearts of their families, AND put the rescuers at a big risk trying to rescue them. What if one of the rescuers died trying to find them? That would have been another broken hearted family, and life lost during the holidays.
I believe in doing what you want and taking risks, as long as those risks don't take others down with you.
Posted By Anonymous Laura T., Dallas, TX : 4:35 PM ET
I am deeply offended by those in the the general public who have chosen to focus on the tax payers who foot the cost of the rescue in progress, and then have the audacity to imply that we think that the victims of this incident somehow got what they deserved by undertaking their climb. The only morally acceptable response to a situation where other people are in dire need, whether it be fire, flood, hurricane, or three guys stuck on a mountain, is to ask, "What can I do?", and then later say, "Families/estates of the climbers you owe
us $100,000 for attempting to rescue your loved ones". Us taxpayers did
not ask your loved ones to climb that mountain, we readily will try to save
them, but now, later you must pay for the actions of them!
Posted By Anonymous Jeff Pomeroy(tax payer), Portland Or : 5:13 PM ET
I also feel for the families but have a hard time understanding why anyone would want or need to take this risk. This was not something they had to do but wanted to do. They risked themselves and their families well being by doing this. It makes no sense to me. In fact I find it a bit selfish. I can not understand how climbing some mountain can be more important than being there for your family. It seems to me that this was a foolish loss of lives.
Posted By Anonymous Jen Denver, CO : 1:29 AM ET
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