Letter: Should the taxpayer bear the expense of saving adventurous souls?

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Sir: In 'Staying alive above the snow line' (16 February) Stephen Goodwin rightly stresses the importance of climbers having the right equipment, knowing how to use it, considering the weather and experience of the party when choosing a route, etc. It is necessary to stress that accidents will still occur even when all the safety conditions are met. Climbing inevitably involves risk.

My 28-year-old daughter, Dr Katharine Herd, was on a winter mountaincraft course in Wester Ross a month ago. She wished to improve her skills for mountain rescue work. She was experienced, well equipped, in a party of three led by a fully qualified mountain guide. A route facing the prevailing wind was selected and the snow was tested for stability. The four had climbed a snow gully on Liathach, near Torridon, when a wind-slab avalanche swept the climbers back down the gully. And Kathy died.

Yours faithfully,




17 February