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4 Japanese climbers presumed dead after avalanche on Mt McKinley

29 Comments

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29 Comments
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If they are dead, atleast they went out, with something they enjoyed doing...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I have no idea why people climb dangerous mountains that they know has absolutely nothing at the top. The joy of toying with fate? I don't know. I don't care. I don't want to read about these fools anymore, not even in the headlines. I think all it does is encourage more people to be so foolish.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

you have no idea why? You could refer to George Mallory who answered this question: "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?" with the retort "Because it's there"

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"Because it's there"

That is not a sane reason. They can do what they want. But I don't want to hear about what mildly crazy people are doing unless it actually affects the world.

-7 ( +3 / -9 )

For whatever reason, many Asians, Japanese and Koreans have died on this mountain.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Climbers love mountains, F-1 racers love driving so fast, hang-gliders love flying in the sky even if the sports are dangerous.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"Denali's infamous "Orient Express" acquired its name because so may Asian climbers have fallen to their deaths there. Some mountaineers avoid using the name because they consider it patently offensive."

Did some Googling and this is what I had read sometime ago.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Man.... my hats off to Hitoshi! Climbed out of a crevasse after falling 60 ft., and then looked for survivors! RIP to those who died -- seems mountain climbing is claiming a lot of victims this year.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I know someone will jump on me for mentioning age, but I am quite surprised at their ages to even attempt the climb. Sad story indeed and loss of anyone's life is a tragedy. How safe is this route normally? Is it something the average person can attempt much like climbing up Mt. Fuji? How much experience did they have before the attempt? Recently read where a woman was successful climbing a famous mountain I believe at the age of 76! Some people climb mountains and others tightrope across Niagara Falls. Amazing stuff . . .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If there weren't any risk it would not be worth doing. Hats off to them, at least they went out doing what they love.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

” McLaughlin said, adding that Hitoshi spoke through a translator and was exhausted.

Shouldn't the word be interpreter?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Is it something the average person can attempt much like climbing up Mt. Fuji?

Since they were roped together and there are crevasses, probably not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shouldn't the word be interpreter?

No. The connotations of Japanese do not apply to English. There is no distinction between translator and interpreter as there is between honyakusha and tsuyakusha, as if it was ever important enough to have one anyway. English is English and its fine the way it is.

Its odd to have a translator that cannot speak one of the languages or an interpreter that cannot read one of the languages anyway. Not important at all, just another fine example of over-use of redundant kanji for not good reason but a headache.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

kitzrow-

i believe the article mentions it is a very difficult mt. Nothing like Fuji. Most professional climbers consider Denali/Mckinley/ Alaskan mts to be more difficult than the big ones in the Himalayas. If these ppl were not experienced they were stupid. Mt climbing is a very popular hobby in Japan among older/ elderly, for one thing it requires some money, also if you happen to be retired, you have time. Furthermore it is a physical activity that while very demanding, you can do at your own pace, going slow and taking breaks. Unlike running or tennis or something.

I can't understand those who can't believe ppl climb mountains. Is it urban living? I grew up in the countryside, and love the outdoors, but there were no mts where I was. Later I started climbing after coming to Japan, more to "get back" to nature, than to climb, but being out doors, the views, the sweat and effort and sense of achievement, the relaxation and "spent" feeling in your body after you come back, the air the wildlife, could go on and on.

I can't do technical (rock climbing, ice, ropes) stuff, but am jealous of those who can and who go to these extreme places. Risking your life is a great way to live.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mount McKinley is one of the most dangerous mountains in the world to climb mostly due to its location as was said above, it being far in the northern part of the globe gives it some of the coldest temperatures on earth even in the summer time as it is now. Although these people presumably died from the avalanche not the cold. Just some info to put out there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tears not although one crappy week for climbing in the United States. We also lost a great guy in perfect climbing conditions on Hood who had summited about a hundred times before having a long tumble. On several occasions in the past, he had even climbed with some of the members of the rescue team who were eventually tasked with recovering his body.

On a similar note, die happy! That’s why I have always said from day one that you should love your work and try to achieve an order of happiness/sustainable income that fulfills your life. Life is short. Just the same, you should also participate in activities and hobbies that you love regardless if they might possibly result in your own death regardless of the risk involved

Because that is where the rush really is for climbers…not the view from the top.

That’s why I take obscene amounts of Viagra and testosterone supplements although I have a heart condition and will summit our real honey dew whore K2 solo without any controversy!!! Ready Federations? The race is on…

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That is not a sane reason

Waking up each morning to get on a jammed packed train or being stuck i rush hour traffic for two hours, then working 8 hours plus overtime in an office building is not something sane in my opinion either.

Do you have a hobby? I'm sure there are people who might consider that uninteresting as well. People got to do what they enjoy. At least these guys went out doing something they enjoyed in life. That's what "life" is about.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

First: RIP to the fallen men and condolences to their families.

Second:

Snowfall and wind have impeded a search for the missing climbers

Just like those of you in Japan who were angered at having to spend your tax money to rescue that foreign woman adventurer in the rowboat, I too resent my tax money being spent to search for the bodies of foreign adventurers. To paraphrase one of the posters about the woman's rescue . . . These people should be required to take out insurance (or post a bond) to cover any expenses they may cause during their adventure seeking.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Exactly four months ago prince Friso of the Netherlands was burried under an avalanche for 25 minutes in Austria. He was rescued but suffered massive brain damage due to oxygen shortage. It remains unclear whether he will ever regain consciousness and come out of his deeply comatose state.

Not sure which is the lesser of two evils...

The article states "presumed dead". Does this mean that the search will be completely called off?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's an interesting if scary thought. It may happen as these sports become more accessible to/ popular with greater #s of ppl. Helicopter rescue conditions vary in prefecture in Japan. Some it is free, some they will charge you something like 10,000 $US. This is tricky in prefs like Nagano/ Shizuoka, etc, where the mountain ranges stay right on pref borders. Where did you fall? Where did you get lost? Which airport is closest to your location, despite being a different pref? How is the weather on opposite sides of the mt/ border?

But Frank, how will you feel when your kid does something like this? Or if there is an earthquake and you are charged for being rescued from a tall building, or a subway and ppl call you stupid for being in one of those places. You say it is normal to be there? What about ppl who live in the country or on the coast or by the power plant, or in the mts.? As a society, we have to be able to accept each others' intractability and bad luck and accept some amount of our common money be used for these things.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's unfortunate, but I've met some of these Japanese mountain climbers in Alaska, and they are so very excited and happy to be where they are... it's tough to imagine that they died doing anything other than what they had planned. These are not ignorant people - they know that there is a risk of death - but you really have to meet them on the way to the slopes to understand their desire to go climbing. This is something that Alaskans (and Canadians in the Yukon) can tell you about.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It says the snow was a "random event". Was their resulting fall also a "random event"? Every event is strictly free of any randomness; there is no such thing as random. There were conditions that resulted in a snow event, then the resulting conditions from that caused their falls. Were they randomly in the spot they occupied,or did they deliberately take that route? Maybe they randomly decided to climb the mountain. At least they died enjoying their fall to death? Huh? I bet they would have enjoyed reaching the top and descending safely, much more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Lowly

If you read the piece on the woman row-boat explorer I'm sure you noticed that the people who made comments similar to your second paragraph received a lot of thumbs-down votes. Believe it or not I gave you a thumbs-up. Yes society has a responsibility to care for those caught in an event beyond their control when going about normal business and life activities. But for adventurers, I agree with the people in that article that said those people should be required to have insurance for any trouble they might have. You wrote above that there is something like a $10,000 rescue fee in certain places, I bet that does not cover the entire cost, but at least the taxpayer does not have to foot the entire bill for someone who places themselves at risk ON PURPOSE. I do not want to deny people the pleasure of an activity, but if you want to climb mountain "whatever" provide the controlling authority proof of insurance to receive your permit to do so. Back to the fee you mentioned, in certain communities in the U.S. rescue services bill people for the services even if it is an accident, thankfully most people's insurance pays the cost.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Man.... my hats off to Hitoshi! Climbed out of a crevasse after falling 60 ft., and then looked for survivors! RIP to those who died -- seems mountain climbing is claiming a lot of victims this year.

Mountain climbing claims a lot of victims every year.

From 1995 to 2005, deaths on Everest (by year) were 3, 15, 9, 4, 4, 2, 5, 3, 4, 7.

In other words, there are no death-free years, and regardless of whether we approve or disapprove of people going to Everest, every climber must understand and accept the risk. Death is part of it, the altitude alone ensures that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I screwed up the quote and response formatting, but I was replying to Smithinjapan...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Frank,

Well it's not an easy problem. A lot of aspects to it. Things were probably easier in the days of kings, when they could just say "we'll do it this way" and everyone would say, uh, ok. I have no idea how it would be regulated. First of all you can't fence off a mountain, never mind a range, and paying ppl, professionals, who are going to assess climbers strength vs difficulty of the course and insurance coverage would be unfeasible and surely more expensive than the cost of just having a rescue team available. And how to assess risk anyway. Mild mts can be treacherous when the weather suddenly changes, and treacherous mts can be no prob if you are in good shape and there is good weather. (In fact what often happens in Jpn and other places too is that whoever is working at the yama koya, mt huts/ hotels, go out and rescue ppl who've had an accident/ got lost/ exhausted, at great risk to themselves. These are homeowners (in the mts) or employees of a private business that have no real relationship with the climbers in trouble and get no money from the state).

And do you really want to put national parks out of reach of everyone, just because some of the ppl can't understand risky behavior/ sweating for no reason in a forest and don't want to pay for rescue? Again what about earthquake help or police for a school girl in trouble?

Finally the fact is that now it is a big tourist industry. Lots come, and ppl use various services and buy goods around and on the mts. There are also tiny towns in the country that really depend on little bus routes and train routes that are only viable because of the number of climbers coming. The state also gets some amount of tax from the goods and services bought in these places, must go a good way toward paying for the occasional rescue. (Even in Alaska this is the case). So there's a lot of aspects to it. But I know nothing about the reality of rescue costs and taxation, so who knows... I just wouldn't mind a state where we take care of each other in emergencies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lowly,

Ultimately you are correct, civilized society should just take care of people as best the can. Even if that person put their self at risk. Doing an actual rescue give better training to the rescue service members than a drill, although it could be dangerous. But a permit fee to climb a mountain, not excessive, could help offset the occasional cost of a rescue. In the U.S. it would be fairly easy to collect and essentially it would be the mountain climbers who are paying the cost spread out over the whole group. But we are human and a life is worth more than a few bucks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not a bad idea. Isolated mts like Denali that aren't part of a range and are hard to get to and also only have certain feasible routes up that might work. Big ranges and mts near towns, though, might be harder.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Waking up each morning to get on a jammed packed train...

That is how the bills get paid and one gets to feed oneself and family. Climbing dangerous mountains like this sometimes wipes out breadwinners.

I'm sure there are people who might consider that uninteresting as well.

Interesting or not was not my point. My point was deadly with no tangible benefit.

At least these guys went out doing something they enjoyed in life.

In their last moments I bet they wished they had taken up a different hobby, and would have sacrificed body parts to go back in time and make the switch.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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