Moun­tain res­cue is a sport, says Bon­ing­ton

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Han­nah Fur­ness ARTS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

FOR some, am­a­teur climbers are the source of in­com­pa­ra­ble frus­tra­tion, wast­ing emer­gency ser­vices’ time by at­tempt­ing to con­quer moun­tains un­pre­pared.

But the am­a­teur who finds him­self in need of res­cue on Bri­tish peaks should not feel too guilty, Sir Chris Bon­ing­ton has sug­gested, be­cause vol­un­teers en­joy the thrill.

Sir Chris, the Bri­tish moun­taineer who be­came the old­est man to climb Ever­est in 1985, said moun­tain res­cue has be­come al­most a sport in its own right, with vol­un­teers vy­ing to be the most spec­tac­u­lar saviours.

Say­ing he was not wor­ried about un­pre­pared climbers need­ing to be res­cued, he ar­gued that, on the con­trary, peo­ple should be en­cour­aged to get out of doors and into the wild.

Asked at Chel­tenham Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val about un­pre­pared climbers and an al­leged over-re­liance on tech­nol­ogy to get them res­cued, he said: “As far as this busi­ness of peo­ple re­ly­ing on be­ing res­cued … in ac­tual fact, there’s quite an in­dus­try for res­cu­ing peo­ple. In Bri­tain, what is amazing is the moun­tain res­cue teams are to­tally vol­un­tary. They’re vol­un­teers and they love do­ing it.

“Moun­tain res­cue has al­most be­come a sport in it­self. I be­lieve there has even been cases where there’s been a moun­tain res­cue team from one val­ley and a team from an­other val­ley rac­ing to get the per­son first. They’ve never quite got to fisticuffs but it’s got quite heated.”

Andy Simp­son, from Moun­tain Res­cue Eng­land and Wales, thanked Sir Chris for his com­pli­ments about vol­un­teers, but he added: “I would cer­tainly never en­cour­age any­one to de­lib­er­ately put them­selves at risk, or to go out ille­quipped be­liev­ing it doesn’t mat­ter be­cause they’ll be res­cued.

“We are al­ways keen to help, but it’s a se­ri­ous busi­ness and we would al­ways en­cour­age peo­ple to be prop­erly pre­pared.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.