Re: Avalanche in Glen Coe
i think this is an incredibly emotive subject that touches on issues that anyone who goes into the hills cannot ignore. i dont want to pass comment on this tragedy, as i dont know enough about it, but i think that whilst arch could have worded it alot better, he is trying to make a valid point about taking risks whilst doing something you love. if these climbers were aware of the avalanche risk, then yes they took a chance, but what you dont know is their reasoning behind it or the full circumstances, and i think its a bit of an exaggeration to say they 'knew' what they were letting themselves in for - im sure if they knew what was going to happen they wouldnt have gone. but as people have said above, we take risks all the time, the alternative is too saty at home. i think the wording was a bit callous and cavalier, a bit 'well, tough luck' . but i appreciate that you are making the point that it is better to die doing something you love that of a slow-painful disease, personally i agree with that. the thing is that for the families involved, its probably a bit too soon to start reflecting on it and accepting that - some of them have already agreed with you from the quotes from the papers you posted, but they are in the early stages of grief and for the others simply coming to terms with the loss will come before the acceptance of it being a 'better'way to go. i dont think it should be taboo to discuss deaths in the hills, or the circumstances - if it brings the risk home to us and teaches us about safety then that all to the good, but i think you have to be incredibly careful what you say and where you say it - you dont know if any of these climbers families are reading it. i was on helvellyn with a close friend last january when he fell and died, and for weeks i was obsessed with reading eveything written on every forum. it was a horrible feeling but partly driven by a need for explanation as to the how hell these things happen and to get other peoples views on whether we did anything wrong. i was sensitive to every word i read, on the one hand i needed to know if i /we could have done anything differently, on the other hand it cut deep when i read a post saying basically that we knew the risks and so tough luck, it just sounded too harsh and didnt acknowledge the planning that went into that day. you can make a fair point if you word it with tact. in my experience (which i know wont reflect everyones) there is a huge amount of speculation and bad reporting associated with these things, comments about conditions, amount of experience and planning , actual circumstances, cause a lot of distress because you just want the facts straight.
as for the dying doing something you love/on a hill, so many people will say that- the first people to say that about dave were the MR man who helped me off helvellyn and the dr who told me he had died - it seemed blunt at the time but is something that all his family and friends agreed with as the initial shock wore off, and i know dave felt that way. i think its a sentiment we all agree with, but when it happens to someone close you have to get past the anger that it happened years too soon before you can evolve an acceptance of it.
anyway, theres a poem on my facebook site that was written and sent to me by the policeman who took my statement that sums a lot of this up if anyone wants to read it. i'll not write it here unless requested as it tends to being a tear to alot of people, but anyone who loves the hills read it and said 'yup, thats it'.