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Thursday, May 19, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Costs, number of climbing rescues

Here are some highlights from the American Alpine Club's report on climbing accidents and rescues:

• Climbing deaths peaked in 1976 at 53, according to "Accidents in North American Mountaineering," the club's annual compilation. Climbing injuries peaked that same year at 210.

• The number of climbing deaths has remained relatively constant while the number of climbers has risen dramatically.

• In 2003, the National Park Service reported that rock climbing and mountaineering ranked below day hiking, backpacking, motorized and nonmotorized boating and swimming in the number of rescues required.

• Climbing rescues cost somewhat more on average than other types of rescues, but climbers "provide greater volunteer support and pay more directly to offset rescue costs than do virtually all other recreational groups."

• At Yosemite National Park, a popular climbing destination, climbing rescues cost $456,000 from 2000 to 2004. Over the same period, day-hiker rescues cost $762,000 and backpacker rescues $613,000. Backpacking rescues averaged $3,800 each; climbing, $3,100; day hiking, $1,500.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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