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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 23, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Mountain rescues: Taxpayers should not take on risk

Aviators fly the CH-47D Chinook helicopter at 8,500 feet, practicing a live hoist extraction on 14,411-foot Mount Rainier on Wednesday. A test dummy simulating a hiker was lowered on a stretcher, tended to medically and hoisted back up within an hour. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

There will always be individuals among us who want to partake in adrenaline pumping, limit pushing, not-for-the-weak-of-mind activities [“Mount Rainier rescuers practice for the inevitable,” Local News, May 21]. I myself have enjoyed the thrills of skydiving in the past.

But there are certain risks associated with these sports, and all those who participate must accept responsibility for their decisions. It was this notion that got me thinking: How can climbers in Washington, knowing full well the risks of their sport, and the unpredictable power of Mother Nature, in good conscious climb the mountain knowing that the costs associated with a rescue mission will come out of the taxpayers’ pocket?

I’m not saying that we should start leaving people up on the mountain, but rather that there has to be a better way than holding taxpayers accountable for the cost associated with others’ choice to engage in high-risk sports.

Chris Toomey, Seattle

Comments | More in Climbing | Topics: Chris Toomey, climbing, Mother Nature

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