Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Media Fallacy: Climbing is Not Hiking

Some things never change.
Often on mountain rescues, the media -- TV, radio and newspapers -- interchange hiking and climbing as if they are exactly the same thing.
This often leads to misleading representation about where a rescue was located.
Example: September of 2012. Several climbers require a very difficult rescue on what the media identifies as Willard Peak, north of Ogden
For several days after, I ponder how Willard Peak, as craggy as it is, could require such a technical rescue effort.
Finally, it is revealed in the media that the rescue actually took place on the London spire, a technical climbing area well below the actual summit of Willard Peak.
So, these 2 men were not really hikers, they were climbers and ill prepared at that.
Hiking is a sport that uses trails and does not require the use of ropes, cables or anything technical. You walk to hike.
Scrambling is kind of in between hiking and climbing, but still requires no special equipment.
Climbing is a technical sport that uses ropes, handholds, etc. to traverse a very steep area.
You might have to hike a ways to begin a climb, but the two are not the same, or interchangable.
The photo below shows the final climb up Mt. Olympus, east of Salt Lake City. It is not a pure hike, since the last few hundred yards are a scramble up a steep rock face, relying on crevices and foot holes in the rock.

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