The Sentinel ‘Guardian of your conscience’

The price of adventure

Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, on their way to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt (1953).

Is the possible cost in lives worth it just for ego and an adrenaline rush?

 By Diane Banks


During the previous years, we have been inundated with stories about adventurous human beings taking on monumental tasks such as climbing M. Everest and other death defying mountains as well as hiking, boating and flying to some of the most remote, dangerous and inhospitable areas on the planet earth.  Places that could only be described as gratification oases where many of the “adrenaline junkies” travel to get their greatest and often lifetime lasting adrenaline fix.


However, how logical is it for any human being to think that they can defeat mother and/or father nature at their own game? And if they choose to do so, should they be held responsible to bear the cost of any rescue needed to save them in the event that they are imperiled as a result of any ill-fated attempt to defeat nature?  Should zealous adventurers and explorers be required to pay a “rescue tax” or purchase “rescue insurance” from local law enforcement agencies to offset any potential manpower cost’s that might be required to save them from any life threatening situations that might as a result of them seeking the thrills of adventure. The only exceptions would be true emergencies such as car accidents, acts of nature i.e floods, tornadoes, fires, hurricanes wildfires, etc.


Here is a perfect example of why this is not such an unreasonable request.  According to: “An average Everest climb requires a two-month commitment to successfully complete and cost upwards of $60,000.00.” The article also poses the question: “Where does all of that money go?”  Just acquiring a permit to climb Mt. Everest will cost between $7-11,000.00 depending on [which side of the mountain that the attempt originates from.]


The following is an example of possible costs being assessed after an ill-advised attempted adventure. There was an article that was recently posted on: written by Laura Moss titled: ‘When hikers need help, who pays for rescue?’ Miss Moss writes that: “An 80-year-old man and his family may soon get a bill for the cost of his rescue mission when two teenage grandsons left him behind to hike alone on Mount Washington in New Hampshire while they continued on without him.  After an all-night search by rescuers, James Clark of Dublin, Ohio, was found “in a fetal position, not moving and exhibiting what appeared to be signs and symptoms of hypothermia to the point of not being able to speak any clear or discernible words,” according to a statement from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.”


After he was rescued he blamed himself for the dilemma saying that: “[He]blames himself, not his grandsons, saying the plan all along was for the teens to go to the summit without him, and he thought he could make it.” First of all, there is nothing in the world that my elderly 80 year old grandfather could say that could convince me to leave him alone for me to satisfy my adrenaline and ego “Jones.” There are far too many hidden dangers out in the wild that exist for twenty year olds, let alone eighty year olds.  I have a strong suspicion that grandpa immediately and instinctively went into his ‘protector mode’ attempting to insulate and to prohibit his grandsons from facing any charges from any additional charges.  It makes me wonder if this was a pre-meditated action by the grandsons.  I wonder how many zeros are on gramps life insurance policy and who are the beneficiaries? Miss Moss also points out that Colorado has a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card. Similar plans come attached to some states’ hunting and fishing licenses, and several U.S. companies even offer rescue insurance for those that partake in outdoor activities.


There are first responders that have lost their lives, leaving behind families with children, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers because of being held responsible to salvage and protect the lives of selfish, vain, thrill and attention seekers with too much time on their hands, not caring for anyone or anything, just self gratification. If these ‘William the conquerors’ are forced to pay to play, they might reconsider and be a bit more hesitant before they embark on that:”once in a lifetime adventure,” if they are  forced to face the question: are my pockets deep enough to withstand the agony of defeat?


The sources for this article were:,, The Smithsonian Institute

Diane Banks can be reached at:





239 Fourth Ave., Suite 1602, Pittsburgh, PA 15222