Letter: Mountain truths

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am writing to correct certain points in your article 'Russian adventure holidays unsafe' (16 April) and the resulting letters from Michael Broido and Nicola Gowan (20 April).

The British Mountaineering Council has not apportioned blame nor responsibility with respect to the recent events on Mount Elbrus involving a party of four British mountaineers and a Russian guide. We did supply the media with information about the Caucasus range and the hazards involved. Although we did not have all the facts, from previous experience, we spoke in favourable terms about Russian guides and mountain rescue services.

The Independent was the only paper to look at the wider issues of the development of adventure tourism and the question of qualifications and safety standards in commercial mountaineering trips. The BMC was able to confirm there had been a report of a serious incident involving the same company during a ski mountaineering attempt on Mount Elbrus last year.

Yours sincerely,

ROGER PAYNE

National Officer

British Mountaineering Council

Manchester

23 April

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