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Utah Search and Rescue Assistance Card

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Steve Kugath, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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  2. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  3. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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    Funny thing Hank...that same web page has displayed the same "coming soon" message for over a year now. I had a student last April who was headed out with me on our 28 day trip to southern utah... she had a pacemaker installed the previous year. Doctor sent me a note ok ing her participation but I wanted a little more assurance that if something happened she might get help needed that didn't end up costing her a fortune...one of those Risk Management things. The wheels of government often churn a bit slow. Envious of those of you out in the canyons this weekend...have fun!
    Dan Ransom, Ram and hank moon like this.
  4. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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    I prefer the Colorado Rescue insurance (at least how it was 18 years ago when I lived there)...tack it on to hunting and fishing licenses and allow hikers to purchase for a year. Maybe make a cheap option for one or two weeks for visitors.

    Saw a canyoneer plucked out of a canyon in Lodrino Switzerland at the top of the Big rappel 220' just around the corner from the entry rappel....call to arrival maybe 10 minutes...extraction 10 minutes more and they were off. Rotors just feet away from the canyon walls...best helicopter rescue pilots in the world in my opinion... they do get plenty of practice and are well funded. Insurance for a year just $30. I used to have a more romantic view of rescue; i.e..I'll take care of it on my own sort of mentality should it happen to me...Until I saw a friend take a big fall and then I would have paid whatever. I don't expect Utah to deliver the same sort of services offered in Switzerland but so many of the teams in southern Utah are not funded or underfunded.
    Dan Ransom and Ram like this.
  5. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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  6. Taylor

    Taylor

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    I just purchased mine(family plan for 5 years). Anybody else?
  7. deltajuliet

    deltajuliet

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    Just purchased mine. Happy to anything to benefit local SAR orgs.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I know Brad Woolf as a pretty smart guy, and up on these issues. He is a skeptic:

    "As someone that does search and rescue as a profession, I was disgusted when I found out that the the state of Utah passed a bill allowing counties to bill people for the cost of the rescues citing the problem that the state couldn't afford the cost of increased rescues. Especially when they spend $4.6million last year advertising National Parks alone with their "Mighty-Five" campaign. Then raking in $1.09Billion in tax revenue (http://www.utahbusiness.com/utah-office-of-tourism-unveils…/) Then they release this "good for Utah" insurance program to rake in more money to the government help "fund" underfunded local SAR teams, but in reality just goes to the states SAR fund, NOT THE LOCAL SAR TEAMS! If the state of Utah would spend less than 1% of the $1billion that they bring in from tax revenue they bring in then Utah would have the best equipped/staffed/trained SAR teams in the United States.

    I work for the National Park Service. The NPS does not charge for rescues. No National Park charges for rescue (some do bill for medical care). I am proud that the NPS continues to maintain the policy for not charging for rescues and hope they maintain this precedent. To sum it up I hope that when someone has the worst day in their life that the last thing they are thinking is "how much is this going to cost me" I hope that someone that someone with better writing skills than me would expose the hypocrisy of the state of Utah and this program. #NOCHARGEFORRESCUE

    Maybe Josh Warburton or someone at The Independent would be interested in exposing this."
    http://www.good4utah.com/…/new-ut-program-elimina…/722325593
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  9. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

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    I was talking to a member of the Utah county SAR and she said that only two counties in Utah have a policy of charging for SAR. One was Grand County (i.e. Moab) and I forget the second. I wonder if this new law and its accompanying pot of money will change that.
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    My skepticism is similar but different. The problem is that the low-population counties are burdened with expensive rescues, because rescue is a county sheriff obligation out of the county budget. The obvious solution is make SAR a county obligation paid for out of the Utah State budget. I have already paid for rescues. This obvious solution seems to escape our politicians.

    In general, searches and rescues are for ordinary people. Sure, people that go out a LOT need a rescue once in a while, but when you drill down and look at the data, it is people that do not go out a lot that use up the most resources. Dramatic technical canyon rescues in Zion draw our attention; but it is the numerous sprained ankles in The Narrows and Orderville that use the most resources. So requiring some people to get the card... well, I already paid for my rescue card, by paying my Utah State sales tax and income tax.

    I will get the card, and yes, sure, let's encourage people to do so. But this is a dumb solution to the problem, and there is a good chance it will not even BE a solution to the problem. Are they really going to charge the family of the child that wandered away from scout camp in the Unitas 2 million for the search and rescue? I think not. How about the snow mobiler stuck 12 miles out... again, these are rescuees that the public has sympathy for, and does not mind paying for the rescue.

    And, here we are.

    Tom :moses:
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  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Well, the landscape has been changing.

    Some authorities charge for rescues if the law was violated. Summit County was on top of charging out-of-bounds skiers if they trespassed to get to the out of bounds area where they got avalanched... not sure how successful.

    Wayne and Garfield counties reserve the right to charge people for rescues, if they feel like it.

    In the past, while some authorities claim the right to charge, they do so only in selective cases, and even then are often not vigorous in their pursuit of payment.

    A problem arises with the suggestion that they WILL charge for SAR. The claim is that then people will delay the call out until things are REALLY serious. SAR prefers an early call and an uneventful or easy call out, to mayhem.

    Tom :moses:
  12. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

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    I agree. I think the new law will cause most people to assume they will be charged for SAR. Possibly those that have bought into the system will call out earlier knowing they won't be charged, however I believe that most will not buy in and then when they need SAR will be even less likely to call for help creating a bigger mess, as you pointed out. I believe your earlier suggestion of state funding is a simpler and better solution, but they again, when was the last time a politician choose that?
    ratagonia likes this.
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Not sure that's entirely true. Both Rainier and Denali charge hefty climbing fees ($47 per person for anyong going over 10,000 feet on Rainier, $365 for Denali) that presumably goes toward the cost of rescues.
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Correlation does not equal causation.

    I researched this (for Denali) in association with the Kolob Tragedy book. Simply "NO". The climbing fees fund the climbing program, but do not include the cost of actual rescues. Your presumption is not correct.

    Costs of the climbing program (Denali) include processing applications, keeping a climbing ranger in Talkeetna and at the 14,2 camp, resupply at 14,2, flying out the poop, etc. etc. The Talent are volunteers, though their support is supplied by the Park.

    Tom :moses:
  15. Sandstone Addiction

    Sandstone Addiction Headed South

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    Utah County SAR gets called out for many frivolous "rescues" already.

    I hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised if that amount increases as some people will now think they paid the fee and are now entitled to mountainside service anytime their Perrier is about to run out.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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  16. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    "Cost recovery" special mountaineering use fee. Emphasis on "cost recovery".

    Interesting...not rescues, per se, but, prevention of rescues (and body recovery). And, the park would argue and show data to support the program's success.

    I think the fees are a drop in the bucket of rescue cost (and the PSAR education program). They make nearly no dent in the park's budget. My guess is a single "big" rescue in the park sucks up more cash than all the climbing fees combined.

    Having paid those fees on four separate occasions...I guess I have mixed feelings on both having to pay the fees, as well as the administration and use of those fees. The park presence on the mountain is huge. Compare that to Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Yeah, Denali is NA's highest and will always have that cachet, and, its way (way) more accessible. But, Canada has nearly no presence on their mountain. Not that there aren't high profile rescues (big one this season for the solo woman).

    That said, what do you get for your money? Both the mountain and the people on it get "margin". The mountain environment benefits because most of us would be dumping our trash and poop in a crevasse. Which also benefits the climbers/tourists as they don't run into that stuff on the mountain (surprisingly clean for having several thousand people a season on it). Also, if you feel crappy, you can stroll over to the tent and get some lovin'. I think they have a pulse ox, ER doc, etc all there at the 14 "medical camp". Fixed lines benefit the folks who have a hard time sluggin' big loads up steep, slick terrain.

    My rescue insurance comes every year with my membership with the American Alpine Club. I'll hopefully never have to find out if its worthy to have. But, should folks support and buy into the Utah program? I dunno. State of Utah benefits from its promotion of tourism. Stands to reason they need to support those tourists with rescue services should the need arise. Without an additional fee.
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  17. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Throwing poop bags in crevasses isn't a big deal. By the time the glacier spits them out the bottom in thousands of years they'll be ground to silt like everything else.
  18. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1657/1938-4246-44.4.432

    Abstract
    Each year, over 1000 climbers attempt an ascent of Mt. McKinley via the West Buttress, located on the 77-km-long Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Climbers generate over two metric tons of human waste annually, the majority of which is disposed of in crevasses. To assess potential health impacts of this management practice, we conducted field studies and a laboratory experiment to document the persistence of fecal bacteria in a variety of glacial microclimates. Low concentrations of fecal bacteria found in water samples collected over two melt seasons from the Kahiltna River support the argument that bacteria can survive in a glacial environment for an extended period of time. We documented Kahiltna Glacier surface velocities and used a simple flow model to predict the time and place that human waste will emerge in the ablation zone. Based on surface velocities we predict that waste buried in major camps will emerge at the glacier surface in as little as 71 years after traveling 28 km downstream. Our results show fecal microorganisms are persistent in a glacial environment, these pathogens pose a minor threat to human health, and buried human waste can be expected to emerge at the glacier surface within decades.

    More: http://glacierhub.org/2015/07/29/happens-poop-glacier/
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  19. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Except when the slot you've chosen as your dump melts out and turns out to not be a crevasse. Or, you miss the toss and it winds up on the downside side of the slot. In crappy weather (ha ha), you might never know you failed to deliver the goods.

    We camped at the confluence of the NE fork on the Kahiltna a number of years ago. Always careful to probe our campsite for slots. The guys next to us, not so much. They built some snow walls, made a cache, and went back to the airstrip for the rest of their kit. Unbeknownst to them, they'd cached their stuff on a shallow snow bridge. Came back, their entire cache had disappeared into the void. So, they rigged up the drop, and, rappelled in to look around. Around 60 feet down, flattish floor, all they could see was old poop bags. Kinda funny. Kinda not since they'd lost a couple grand worth of gear. Trip over for them.
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  20. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Are you guys seriously advocating carrying out three weeks of poo? That might have more effect on cutting down on the number of climbers on Denali than anything else.
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