Should climbers be required to carry locator beacons?
Mount Hood from space, August 5, 2009.
In 2007, a bill that would have required Mount Hood climbers to carry beacons on winter expeditions failed in the Oregon legislature. However, the recent deaths of three climbers on the mountain has reopened the debate among search and rescue crews, mountaineers, and politicians.
Those for the requirement cite the increased chance of a successful rescue, the safety of the searchers, and the cost of rescues. Those against a mandate cite personal responsibility and freedom, and the potential for unprepared climbers to devalue safety education and take greater risks if they're carrying a beacon. Portland Mountain Rescue supports the optional use of beacons on Mount Hood, but not a mandate.
At Mount Hood you can rent a basic line-of-sight radio beacon (a mountain locator unit or MLU) for five dollars. These beacons do not trigger a search or pinpoint your location like a GPS-enabled SPOT or PLB does. However, if activated and within a certain range and conditions, an MLU can help rescuers searching for overdue climbers find a climber, or body, via a radio signal.
Read the AP article "Mount Hood tragedy revives talk of requiring beacons".
Read Portland Mountain Rescue's position statementagainst the requirement.
via The Goat