Tuesday, April 2, 2013
As we have seen, going on an adventure often means putting oneself in extreme danger. The men in the doomed Mount McKinley expedition choose to be on what they knew to be a dangerous mountain soon after the failed Winter Expedition. In Tabor's book, the lack of a rescue effort is presented as a combination of incompetence and reckless endangerment. Wayne Merry is portrayed as the sole hero emerging in the face of a vast and corrupt bureaucracy. While this may all be true, I think it is important to consider another perspective. Alaskan authorities may have been reluctant to expend more resources so soon after the costly rescue of the Winter Expedition, particularly because neither expedition "had' to be on the mountain. I am not saying that the authorities' response was "right," but I do think that it was understandable. Unfortunately for the men of the Wilcox expedition, they may have been the "straw that broke the camel's back" in terms of rescue missions. Upon climbing the mountain, they gave up a certain amount of control over their fate, only this time no one was there to catch them.