Moun­tain res­cue fees

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Un­like in many na­tions around the world, moun­tain res­cue ser­vices are free in Bri­tain. This goes back partly to its early years, when ca­su­al­ties were re­cov­ered in an ad hoc man­ner. The res­cue might in­volve mem­bers of the ca­su­alty’s party, nearby moun­taineers, po­lice or skilled lo­cals. Af­ter the Sec­ond World War a num­ber of in­ci­dents tested grow­ing in­for­mal ar­range­ments to the limit and civil­ian Moun­tain Res­cue teams were formed. The or­gan­i­sa­tion be­gan with moun­taineers look­ing out for moun­taineers and re­flects the ethos of the com­mu­nity: self-re­liance and re­spon­si­ble en­gage­ment with risk.

It’s not un­com­mon for crit­i­cism to be made of walk­ers who get into dif­fi­culty and for claims of ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity to be made. But this isn’t al­ways fair. Test­ing our lim­its is how we learn and how we progress. Risk is un­avoid­able in the moun­tains – it’s ar­guably an essen­tial part of the rea­son we ven­ture there, and teams are of­ten sup­port­ive of peo­ple who have slightly over­stepped their abil­ity or sim­ply had bad luck. Call­out fees have been sug­gested but are re­sisted in the main be­cause they could act as a de­ter­rent to those who would baulk at the cost; po­ten­tially in­creas­ing the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties and fa­tal­i­ties in the moun­tains.

In the UK, teams are vol­un­tary and raise their own funds. Find out more at www.moun­tain.res­cue.org.uk

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