Monday, 9 March 2015

Mountain Rescue vs Muppets

…of course I don’t mean the loveable Jim Henson puppets, no I am of course referring to the oxygen bandits that frequently make Mountain Rescue’s job much harder than it already is. Let’s face it, Mountain Rescue do an amazing job, despite the lack of funding provided by the government. It therefore makes my blood boil, when every year I see article after article about moronic behaviour by ill equipped novice walkers and climbers doing irresponsible and reckless things,  that then require Mountain Rescue volunteers to put their lives on the line to rescue them. Let’s look at some case studies over the last 3 months, starting with this chopper who thought tackling Crib Y Ddysgyl  in a leather jacket, jeans and plimsolls, in winter, in 90mph gusts, was a good idea….

It defies belief that someone can lack common sense to such a degree that they believe climbing a tough Snowdonia ridge in Winter and high winds in jeans and plimsolls is a good idea. The quote that really stuck with me reading this article was:
“On the one hand we had a young walker in jeans, plimsolls and a leather jacket rapidly succumbing to hypothermia; on the other a responsibility not to put team members’ lives in such serious danger. There was a real possibility that we might have been forced to leave him there on the mountain.”

More examples of idiots from this weekend:

And… more:

But what really got me into this subject on this occasion, was the rant from Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team about a recent incident which involved experienced climbers. Mountain Rescue Teams often make a point of not slagging off people they rescue, regardless of the frankly idiotic circumstances that often lead to the requirement for rescue. However in this case this was an experienced group, who got into trouble in tough conditions, one of the group fell and MRT were called. What lead to rant was not the fact that they got into trouble, but the fact that when Mountain Rescue told the 2 uninjured climbers to stay put, they ignored the advice, moved, and fell down a cliff, making Mountain Rescues job 200% harder, putting more volunteers at risk for longer, and requiring more kit to be sacrificed. To me this is just sheer idiocy, if you’ve had to call the teams out, you do what they say, simple. You don’t know better, if you knew better you wouldn’t be calling them out. In my opinion Lochaber Mountain Rescue team were completely justified in airing their feelings on this matter. People need to know the crass stupidity that goes on behind closed doors. I am glad to see there was a huge outpouring of support for Lochaber after the comments were posted on Facebook. See the original post on this site:

But where do they draw the line? At what point does it become “they made their bed, now they need to lie in it”, or in this case, lie down and die in it. Now in my heart I know I wouldn’t be able to just leave that kid up there to die, and I know for a fact that that the mountain rescue teams share that sentiment, why else would they “put down their daily lives and head up a mountain in weather that no-one else would be out in, prepared to risk their own lives to save another, without pay, without expenses and many, many times a year.” But where do they draw the line? Is there a line? Or do Mountain Rescue just continue to stretch their limited resources to protect the freedom of novice walkers and climbers to be idiots? The answer I imagine is yes, because despite the obvious frustration they must feel, they are all part of the teams because they want to save lives, and given that there will never be laws preventing wally’s doing idiotic stuff, the outcome seems inevitable…

A roller coaster relationship with climbing.

Emma on Trident Arete (VD)
Over the last few years I’ve really struggled with motivation to enjoy myself in the outdoors, particularly with climbing. During my teacher training (and even the year preceding) I had very little time to do anything except work, plan, mark, and try and grab some sleep. (Incidently, anyone who says teachers have it easy, doesn’t have a clue)… I suppose I got it into my head that I couldn’t enjoy climbing anymore. I mentioned to Emma a few nights ago that ‘I didn’t enjoy climbing anymore’, this was after a particularly enlightening indoor climbing session where I realised I had lost much of previous strength and stamina, and I felt pretty useless I must admit. I suppose at the time, I meant it, but looking back I was probably still a bit miffed at my poor performance at the wall.

After I finished work early on Friday, Emma suggested we go climbing, and to be honest, at that moment, that was the thing I wanted to do most! So we literally grabbed the kit and headed over to Harborough Rocks, with the aim of getting Emma a couple of leads towards her SPA. As I watched Emma leading, it was the first time (in a very long time), where I actually felt like I wanted to climb; it was a feeling I hadn’t had for a long time. Previously when I’d gone climbing, I just sat there wishing I was home on the Xbox , or chilling, or doing anything else that wasn’t climbing. I was really happy to feel a genuine spark of passion, to get climbing again. With Emma doing her SPA training soon, and summer fast approaching, I find myself looking forward to getting out and getting some climbing done! It’s amazing what being with someone you really care about and you share so much with can rekindle in you; I really, genuinely thought I had fallen out of love with climbing, but as I sit here writing this article, all I can think is that I want to plan what leads I want to do when me and Emma head to Wales in a couple of weeks. #LetsDoThis