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After hearing about climber Joseph Bohlig's fall into the volcanic crater of Mount St. Helens, Richard Keith Beckwith couldn't help but think about his niece Leigh Castleton's trip up the mountain just a few weeks before. Castleton had some footage from the late January climb, so Beckwith helped her share the video with CNN iReport under the username kbeckwith9.
Castleton says her trip was her first big mountain climb. The Portland, Oregon, resident had taken backpacking trips before, but nothing like this adventure. She says she felt lucky to be traveling with her local alpine club and an experienced crew. She advises anyone else to travel with people who know what they are doing. "It was a huge accomplishment for me anyway, but then when you hear things like that, the reality is that you have to be careful."
One incident stands out in her mind in which she feels her guides helped the group remain safe. Castleton says a climber got too close to the rim and accidentally knocked a protective snow cornice down toward the crater. He lost his footing and began to fall. Luckily, she says, he was able to stop himself from going into the crater, but she says the cornice made a thud when it went down.
"[The climber] was able to jump toward us. I heard the boom, and he was rolling down the mountain, and then he stopped and stood up and everyone was shocked because he didn't go down with it."
Bohlig is thought to have died after stepping onto a snow cornice to have a photo taken, causing the cornice to give way. Castleton says the climber she saw during her trip was "very, very fortunate." The kbeckwith9 video includes footage of the mountain before Castleton witnessed the climber get close to the ledge. She says hearing about a person actually falling down Mount St. Helens was both sobering and a reminder of the importance of having trained guides to show you how to remain safe during a climb. "They knew exactly where to draw that line," she said, referring literally and figuratively to a line in the snow pointing to where climbers shouldn't go. Near the end of the video, Castleton talks about the point where she couldn't get any closer to the edge for fear of falling off.
What are your thoughts on this news? Have you ever climbed Mount St. Helens or another peak? Share your story with us, and tell us how you stay safe.
Sorry but I think people who create these kinds of situations that cost taxpayers millions of dollars shouldn't expect to be rescued if they are taking unnecessary chances May have been a great guy but sounded stupid where he was standing. Sorry but if you go into bad areas and put yourself at risk too bad. I don't want to pay for your thrill seeking.
Many locals summit St. Helens several times in a year -- as a climb, it is not technical or dificult, and poses little objective danger on the south side. Cornices do form on the crater rim, their width can be anywhere from 3-15 feet, hanging over the top. Snow density and relative water content changes their stability, so the 'safe distance' from the edge changes, too. Accidents do happen, even when precautions are taken, and even with guides. (PNW climber: 15 ascents of St. Helens, 250 ascents overall)
Ben Nevis http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-345308
Wow.... good story. What a rush it must be to do this.
Anyone that puts himself/herself in a dangerous situation for self-gratification should be left to his/her own means of survival. Save those in REAL emergencies and let the rock climbers, back packers, skiers, etc. fend for themselves. What are they trying to prove anyway?
Well, just charge the rescue effort to the climber or to his estate. We should not have to pay for careless mistakes.
I agree that if you go out on one of these adventures, you're putting your life at risk and it's unfortunate that others' lives will be at risk if you need to be rescued... That said... Most rescuers are volunteers who are climbers themselves, and therefore understand the appeal in climbing, as well as then inherent danger. I also learned recently when the local climbers were lost on Mt. Hood back in December, that when the Coast Guard, National Guard, etc are called in to assist (with helicopters, for instance), extra costs to the taxpayers aren't typically incurred as the time spent on search and rescue is generally logged as training exercises.
I don't mean any real disrepect...but stupid is what stupid does. You have to be mindfule and respect nature when you are out on these types of expeditions.
July will be my second trip to the Northwest volanoes; we didn't summit Rainier a couple of years ago but are hiking up St. Helens on 7/29; we're really looking forward to it. Everyone complaining about stupidity, cost to tax-payers, etc, remember that the next time you're doing something as simple as speeding. You're doing something stupid and, when you crash, you'll be wasting tax-payers money to come pull you out of the wreck. Obviously less of a magnitude but the principle is the same.
Quit judging - get out of your comfort zone. Come with us.
Stupidity over risk-taking? Dollar value over tragedy? Quite a number of heartless people here who believe that if a person makes a grave mistake, then they should not be saved by anyone. I guess these people tend to be social isolationists --but it only takes one time for a firefighter comes to save their kids because of a candle they forgot about, and they'll think differently.
Truth be told, ALL people make mistakes. Some mistakes are just more regretful than others. And we don't know the events that led up to this. On top of mountains there are variable conditions that change in seconds.
This is a sad tragedy. I would have offered any assistance to save them if they needed it.
Have you ever taken a risk? While it may be a little irresponsible all you are thinking about is 'wow, I'm actually doing this!' I've taken risks and wouldn't expect anyone to save me, but that is what people do. We save each other and we take risks for the thrill of life!
Reading some of these comments really makes me sad. People so eager to judge someone else and determine the value of that person's life. Emergency services are there for a reason and that's to help people whether the person was hurt because of a choice they made or not. They try to save the lives of drunk drivers, murderers, thieves and other criminals because a life is a life. And a man out in the world enjoying his does not deserve to be judged so harshly.
Kimro said "when the Coast Guard, National Guard, etc are called in to assist (with helicopters, for instance), extra costs to the taxpayers aren't typically incurred as the time spent on search and rescue is generally logged as training exercises."
Just because it's LOGGED as a training exercise doesn't mean it doesn't cost anything...if people are going to deliberately put themselves into dangerous situations they should either be able to pay for any rescue or have insurance to cover the cost.
Actually, Kimro is right. The point is that these hours are logged as training hours and that if they don't have these hours they end up flying around our country strictly for additional hours. If you want to talk about a waste of money, flying for the sheer purpose of gaining hours in the air is a waste. Put their time to good use and have them do these exercises that they would rather be doing anyway.
The friend who was interviewed said they went out taking all precautions and were experienced. But if they were experienced mountaineers, why were they not wearing harneses and roped together as EXPERIENCED climbers and Mountaineers would be. Sorry to say this, but if this accident did not happen on St.Helens it would of happened on some other climb because of their lack of experience. And throwing a person a avalanche beacon after they have fallen 1500 feet does not give them an atta-boy, what's that going to do, self inflate into a SAR Team?
Hey statsdoctor! Come with me and summit Glacier Peak this August 2010, that's at mid point on my trek down the K section of the Pacific Crest Trail, that is if you don't mind going with a busted up retired surveyor.
Wow, ginmill, I hope the next time one of your family members or friends dies in an accident that no one in their right mind would say what you have said. In case you didn't notice, someone DIED, who cares how much money it costs. Besides, I'm sure that there are plenty of other things you could concern yourself with about where our money is going. How about the health care bill? How about the wars? How about all the money we loose because of all the snow and Congress is shut-down?
w7rkd/statsdoctor....count me in if you don't mind a 56 year old retiree (an good physical shape) coming along too. I love summiting the Cascade volcano's. Done Rainier but haven't made it up Glacier, St. Helens or my main goal this spring Mt. Adams These people complaining about taxpayers cost probably live in Kansas and Oklahoma where the federal gov't spends more money cleaning up their toxic meth lab sites than every climbing expense ever incurred for mtn rescue. They take that trip without leaving the farm.
I'm sorry - I've climbed a bunch of mountains, including trudging up St. Helens, and only an inexperienced or foolish person knowingly walks out on a cornice without a belay. Because the rim of St. Helens is curved you can see how heavily corniced it is as it arcs away in both direction. In the black humor of climbers, "Ooops, look what mean old Mr. Gravity did."
Thank you, flss4, for clarifying what I thought seemed fairly obvious in my statement when I said there are no EXTRA costs to taxpayers. If not done in rescue, those training hours will be completed by flying aimlessly around.
Oh, and phantasma - I'm actually one of the people NOT complaining callously about taxpayers dollars, but I AM from Oklahoma. Careful about the assumptions you make! :o)
It's lunacy to think these folks should be left in the woods to die. Here's the concept that your self contentedness won't allow you to see. We are all in this together. People pay for your lapses in judgment everyday, as you pay for others. In this case their may not even be a lapse in judgment. Accidents happen. I applaud the folks who do these things. Their life's certainly must be more fulfilling than the average couch potato.
You people are something else! If we all thought like you there would be no need for rescue services. Everything is reduced to "what it would cost you". Those damn people on the Titanic, they should have know sailing across the Atlantic was dangerous and those folks that drive everyday and occasionally have an accident to hell with them too. Why should you pay for that.I would like to take all you antitax people and put you on your own little island without any services and then you would never have to pay for anything again.
There's the degree of risk one exposes oneself to. Some countries require climbers purchase insurance to cover the cost of rescues. Rescuing people at sea and rescuing adrenaline junkies who eagerly expose themselves to peril are two very different things.
I am not against rescuing somone or against the tax dollars put towards it, but when somone who just goes and buys a bunch of gear and does not have a clue how it is supposed to be used, then only leaves the big city 2 times a year for a hike and claims they are experienced or seasoned and then with their over blown ego endangers them or somone else in the group is rediculous, or should I use that bad word "RETARDED"! We get so many of those every year and it seems like no one heeds to their example of bad judgement, it's like a heard of cariboo running off a cliff each year, Dumb and Dumber! There is a way to get the experience if they would all get their pride out of the way and take some lessons from the Mountaineers Clubs. Yeah it's expensive, but it is nothing in comparison to the cost of a life or many other lives. I believe we all wish they would just think first and put safety ahead of every trek they go on so they all can come home to share their great ventures in the outdoors.
Breaking news! A volcano is dangerous! Let me break another hot story: It will be dark tonight in Nebraska.
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To all those that say the climber should be charged, I think you should be charged when the fire department pulls you out of your car after you cause an accident.
I think it is hilarious that this novice climber says that the dude was lucky that he didin't fall in the crater like Bohlig did only because they were with a trained guide!!! What does luck have to do with training? The guide should have prevented the client from getting near the edge!!! All these so-called experts. Bohlig has 68 climbs of St Helens and had climbed all over the world. He had one mis-step.....