Today is International Mountain Day 2014

International Mountain Day 2014

International Mountain Day is an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands

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New Group formed to promote Freedom in Mountaineering. Fear that attorneys and media will close the mountains based on fear and failure to understand forced the formation of Italian Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering

Liberty in Mountaineering to resist attempts by national or local authorities to constrain freedom of access and risk taking in mountaineering and climbing

Italian Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering

Ice climbing

Ice climbing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Motivation and purposes.

The “Osservatorio per la Libertà in Alpinismo” (Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering) is a Free Association, recognized by the Italian Alpine Club. Its purpose is the defense of liberty in the various mountaineering practices against the increasing tendency to restrain it. This tendency is typical of advanced societies, where the broad detachment from natural life generates an obsession against dangers in general.  This feature of the “société sécuritaire” is fostered by social tensions and by the wide diffusion of information.

The social rejection of the forms of liberty that imply dangers is particularly reactive to accidents in mountaineering, ski-mountaineering and climbing.   Out of it comes the restrictive interpretation of laws and the plan of oppressive ones.  Local authorities often set constraints to the access to mountain areas which are not justified by environmental concern.

The reaction to all this led the Italian Mountaineers to create the Observatory.  Its main purpose is to gather information about the threats to liberty and to react against attempts to constrain the freedom in mountaineering practices.  One of its main tasks is to deepen the understanding of the general public opinion and to let the public understand the values of the adventure in mountaineering and of the principles of liberty.

Obviously, liberty cannot reach as far as creating damages to anyone; the Italian Alpine Club runs powerful mountaineering and climbing schools all over the Country and steadily invites its members to have a sound approach to mountaineering.  But the Observatory does not accept critical arguments such as “dangers for the rescue teams” and “costs for the national health service”. No space here for details.

The negative vision of mountaineering can lead to constraints on access to adventure terrains, far beyond those that may be justified by environmental concern. This is a field of action for the Observatory, but even more important is the fight for freedom to take risks, which is an inherent feature of mountaineering.  Its importance is enhanced by the increasing tendency of advanced societies to infringe the right to risk taking in other fields of human activity.

This brief note is obviously confined to a few essential features of the menace to liberty, but an important point must still be mentioned, since it was recognized during the “Assises  de l’Alpinisme” that were held on 2011  in Grenoble and Chamonix:  the problem is international,  therefore it deserves attention by all Countries of UIAA.

Motivation and purposes.

Schitour am Hochkönig (Österreich)

Schitour am Hochkönig (Österreich) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “Osservatorio per la Libertà in Alpinismo” (Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering) is a Free Association, recognized by the Italian Alpine Club. Its purpose is the defense of liberty in the various mountaineering practices against the increasing tendency to restrain it. This tendency is typical of advanced societies, where the broad detachment from natural life generates an obsession against dangers in general.  This feature of the “société sécuritaire” is fostered by social tensions and by the wide diffusion of information.

The social rejection of the forms of liberty that imply dangers is particularly reactive to accidents in mountaineering, ski-mountaineering and climbing.   Out of it comes the restrictive interpretation of laws and the plan of oppressive ones.  Local authorities often set constraints to the access to mountain areas which are not justified by environmental concern.

The reaction to all this led the Italian Mountaineers to create the Observatory.  Its main purpose is to gather information about the threats to liberty and to react against attempts to constrain the freedom in mountaineering practices.  One of its main tasks is to deepen the understanding of the general public opinion and to let the public understand the values of the adventure in mountaineering and of the principles of liberty.

Obviously, liberty cannot reach as far as creating damages to anyone; the Italian Alpine Club runs powerful mountaineering and climbing schools all over the Country and steadily invites its members to have a sound approach to mountaineering.  But the Observatory does not accept critical arguments such as “dangers for the rescue teams” and “costs for the National Health Service”. No space here for details.

The negative vision of mountaineering can lead to constraints on access to adventure terrains, far beyond those that may be justified by environmental concern. This is a field of action for the Observatory, but even more important is the fight for freedom to take risks, which is an inherent feature of mountaineering.  Its importance is enhanced by the increasing tendency of advanced societies to infringe the right to risk taking in other fields of human activity.

This brief note is obviously confined to a few essential features of the menace to liberty, but an important point must still be mentioned, since it was recognized during the “Assises  de l’Alpinisme” that were held on 2011  in Grenoble and Chamonix:  the problem is international,  therefore it deserves attention by all Countries of UIAA.

Do SomethingUIAA Safety Label logo color1

Do you believe this is becoming a problem? I believe it is a very real problem. If you are a mountaineer you expect death. Yet the park service tried to yank a Denali permit from a commercial outfitter when they had one death. The permitee was given a non-preferential review even though the outfitter had a stellar record prior to the fatality. (See Top National Park Service Officials Reverse Decision Tied To Fatal Climbing Accident.)

I had a lady call me once about a zip line. The zip line was going in down the road from her and she did not want it.  I asked her why figuring she would say something about traffic on the road or the type of people zip lines attract and she said because they hurt and kill so many people.

See Jon Heshka and the Right of the Individual to Die Doing What We Love

It is our right to experience the world anyway we want. If that is sitting on a couch watching football, fine. If that is testing yourself against a mountain, the cold, testing yourself against yourself, then I believe it is fantastic. I understand I may die. I don’t believe I will die, but I understand the risks. I have looked at the risks and made the decision to live life rather than wait for death.

For more information about this organization see Italian observatory set to lobby for freedom in the mountains

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Review: Last Man on the Mountain

Jennifer Jordan has done it again and even better this time.

Jennifer Jordan’s latest book Last Man on the Mountain is a terrific and at the same time, horrific story about climbing K2 in 1939. This expedition was destined to be historical because of the attempt of Charlie Houston and Bob Bates’ team the year before: The expedition was broke and lacking solid team members. Yet a nearly middle age man, who most thought would not get out of base camp spent 3 weeks above 24000 feet during the attempt. The book also tells the story of the three climbing “Sherpa’s” who died trying to rescue Dudley.

Last Man on the Mountain is Jennifer’s second book. Her first book Savage Summit tells the tragic story of the woman who had summited K2, who all died. Jennifer’s painstaking research on K2 comes through when she writes about Dudley Wolfe and the 1939 American Expedition to K2. When Jennifer was at K2 in 2002, she found possessions and possibly the remains of Dudley Wolfe leading to this story.

Reading this book makes you want to find a villain, someone responsible for what happens. Jennifer has thoroughly researched the issues and presents several possible team members, but allows the reader to make their own conclusion as to why Dudley Wolfe died alone at Camp 7 in 1939. Weather, knowledge at the time, climber injuries and exhaustion as well as the squabbles and leadership issues of an expedition that was probably doomed to failure. But for the drive of its leader Fritz Wiessner, the expedition would have never left the states, let alone ascend the mountain.

How an East Coast Socialite came to that tragic ending and what happened to the rest of the team afterwards make this an exciting book as well as a great literary piece.

Jennifer’s talks about the book include rare footage and photographs that her research has uncovered provide the reader with the opportunity to understand the people and the time. Some of the footage can be found at Dudley Wolfe-Last Man on the Mountain.mov.

Last Man on the Mountain is well worth reading. The book is a treasure of early climbing history as well as a great story superbly written. If you have the opportunity to see Jennifer in your town, definitely make that a priority. The book and her talk are a true delight. Jennifer’s book tour can be found on her Facebook page: Jennifer Jordan.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2010 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law, Recreaton.Law@Gmail.com

© 2010 James H. Moss

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Well it’s happened: K2 will have its first true commercially guided climb this season

Fabrizio Zangrilli is working with Field Touring Alpine to lead a guided climb on K2 this late summer season. This is probably the first true commercial, guided climb on K2. By commercially guided I mean a guide is being paid to take clients up a mountain versus some people going for free or a trip leader making money on his group of climbers. By clients I mean people who may but probably do not have the total ability/skill/experience necessary or maybe desire to climb the mountain without a guide.

It was to be expected. Most people consider the 1984 guided climb of Dick Bass and Frank Wells as the first commercially guided trip on Everest. However commercial Everest expeditions took off after the 1996 mess. (I refuse to call a natural weather event a disaster.) Publicity good or bad does not deter either mountaineers or those with money and a desire to check a box. It has always been an unconfirmed rumor that after the 1996 Everest mess Mountain Madness added more phone lines, even though its owner and founder had died on the mountain.

This guided expedition occurs after a year where 11 people died on K2 which was reported worldwide for weeks. Publicity good or bad does not deter, just highlight.

See K2’s First Commercial Expedition