The Mountain World is the work of outdoor writer and editor Dougald MacDonald. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post about the climber quotas on Denali in Alaska.
Incidentally, the media have reported that one justification for the cap is safety. This may indeed have been part of the NPS rationale, but statistics don’t back it up. The American Alpine Club last year produced a fascinating report on perception vs. reality in the risks and costs of mountaineering, and one section showed that while the number of attempts on Denali grew from an annual average of 751 in the 1980s to 1,240 in the first five years of this decade, the ratio of fatalities per attempt has fallen 93 percent in the same period. Along with better gear and training, the NPS’ educational efforts, and better-trained and equipped rescue services, the AAC report attributes the decline in fatalities to more people on the popular routes. More clmbers in the area generally equals quicker rescue.
Doug writes more about mountain climbing and skiing than hiking, but his posts are good reads even to folks who think cowardice in the face of 300-foot dropoffs is a perfectly normal reaction.
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