Yesterday, I came across a recent article in the Calgary Herald about a reporter and his mis-adventure while scrambling Mount Temple, one of the higher mountains in the southern Rockies. This article frustrates me, as you immediately learn and realize how foolish some people can be, especially when taking on an outdoor adventure. What the article also does is portrays scramblers as risk takers and irresponsible fools to the unknowing general readership. The truth is that these individuals exist in the scrambling sport, but thankfully are a minority, even though it seems that there are more and more stories of them.
Due to the worldwide prominence of the Rockies , "the mountains" attract all kinds of visitors. There are general tourists who visit, take photos, eat at restaurants, shop and generally enjoy what the area has to offer. Perhaps they may go on the occasional ‘hike’, which usually consists of interpretive signs, walkways and benches along the way, requiring very little preparedness beforehand.
However, there are many more activities in Banff National Park, ranging from kayaking to hiking, scrambling and technical climbing. To do these activities requires: researching and planning ahead, knowing your limitations, being prepared, taking adequate gear, carrying a map, making sound common-sense decisions, bringing food and water, the list could go on and on.
Getting back to the article, the reporter seems half-serious, comparing the gravity of his follies with another irresponsible group. Both groups are attempting a serious and challenging undertaking, by scrambling Mt. Temple. Due to the many deaths over past few years, climbing Mt. Temple should not be taken lightly (you’ll have to scroll down to the Mt. Temple section). However, some adventurers just don’t seem to get the drift.
Unfortunately, many people take outdoor mountain adventuring lightly due to the close proximity to highways and roads (and Calgary), easy approach trails, relative popularity, etc. In a growing number of cases, what you find are people from the ‘tourist’ group, attempting serious activities with a lack of everything mentioned above.
Sadly, it seems to be not only a trend in the Rockies, but in many other places, including in more extreme cases on the world’s largest mountain. With Everest, the topic is frequently debated among those in the climbing field. Furthermore, others have analysed some of the less prominent accidents in the outdoors — and offer some good insight into why they happen.
In the end, what people have to realize is that when they adventure irresponsibly, they put not only themselves and members of their own party at risk — but also other scramblers on the mountain who must now help them, including the would-be professional rescuers should an accident happen. Even though it sounds cliche, I feel it’s important to say: please adventure responsibly!