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Climb every mountain

Just have a plan for the way back down.

Accidents have almost doubled on Mt. Takao, Japan's most popular mountain for climbers, as people visit the suburban Tokyo peak in increasing numbers, police said.

There were 43 reported accidents on the mountain last year, almost double the average number from each year from 2004 to 2006.

Blamed for its growing accident rate is its proximity to central Tokyo, leading to a lack of sufficient preparations for its fickle climate, and the mountain's inclusion in a Michelin travel guide for French speakers.

"OK, so it's only a small mountain, but it's a mountain nonetheless," Kenichiro Maruyama, head of the Takao Police Station's Alpine Rescue Taskforce, said. "Not thinking enough about what's needed for mountain climbing is inviting trouble."

Takao is just under 600 meters high and an hour drive from Tokyo. The combination of the two makes it a popular place to visit.

However climbers appear to leave their brains at home.

On the night of March 23, Takao Police Station received an alert that a woman had got lost on the mountain. Four members of its Alpine Rescue Taskforce were sent out to search for her. About two hours later, they came across the 34-year-old company employee sitting down beside a mountain trial. She had gone to the mountain at about 3 p.m. that day. She reached the summit and planned to take a different route to the foot of the peak, but it started getting dark and she lost her way. She did not have water or a flashlight and had gone out as though preparing for a picnic.

Of the 43 reported accidents last year, six were serious, involving broken bones. Many accidents are reported among elderly hikers and women going to the mountain while wearing high-heeled shoes.

It appears I'm not the only masochist. Feel free to make your own wisecracks.

Hat tip- Japundit


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Comments (7)

I was told, when I was clim... (Below threshold)

I was told, when I was climbing Mt. Fuji, that rescue by helicopter was available but that the person rescued would be charged the cost of the rescue. Seemed pretty reasonable to me.

'Blamed for its growing acc... (Below threshold)
Yogurt:

'Blamed for its growing accident rate is its ... inclusion in a Michelin travel guide for French speakers.'

They trying to tell the French something?

There's one effective way o... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

There's one effective way of stopping climbers risking their lives without outlawing climbing mountains. That method is to build a road to the top. I don't know of a single incident where someone climbed a mountain that had a road to the top. Something about risking your life in an excruciating endeavor to reach the summit only to find tourists and a porta potty at the top.

"There were 43 reported acc... (Below threshold)

"There were 43 reported accidents on the mountain last year, almost double the average number from each year from 2004 to 2006."

Hmmm...three explanations spring to mind that the media may pursue. 1, global warming (of course) leading to "slippery mountain syndrome". 2, a completely collapsing worldwide economy caused by Bush and/or Iraq leading to people turning to cheap entertainment like mountain climbing instead of buying new Fords and GMs and XBoxes. 3, the US credit crunch has led to such an epidemic of foreclosures that not only americans but people in other countries are fleeing foreclosure to try to live on mountains.

Mac Lorry:In gener... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Mac Lorry:

In general, you're right, but here in New Hampshire we have a series of peaks known as the "Presidentials". The highest of them, Mount Washington, has an automobile road and a railroad line to the top. (Lots of cars in the area have bumper stickers that say, "This car climbed Mt Washington" or "The owner of this vehicle ran up Mt Washington".)

Sad to say, every once in a while we have a fatality from someone who doesn't think that they are risking their lives, and they die mostly because they underestimate how severe the weather can get and how quickly conditions chance. (The weather station at the top was designed to withstand winds of 300mph.) I'm told that avalanches are also a problem.

I'm not sure how many try to climb it in high heals.

"I'm not sure how many try ... (Below threshold)

"I'm not sure how many try to climb it in high heels."

No comment. No comment whatsoever.

J.

kevino,Sa... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

kevino,

Sad to say, every once in a while we have a fatality from someone who doesn't think that they are risking their lives, and they die mostly because they underestimate how severe the weather can get and how quickly conditions chance.

Putting a road to the top of a mountain doesn't make it safe, it just deters mountain climbers because there's no bragging rights for climbing a peak that any fool can drive to the top of. The lesson is that there's no way to make a mountain foolproof.




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