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HELP ON THE WAY
THANK YOU for your cover story on search and rescue (“Masters of Disaster,” February). I’m a member of Deschutts County SAR in central Oregon, a close-knit volunteer group that completed 112 missions last year. Your article will help make people more aware of the importance of being prepared when they venture into the wilderness.
I APPRECIATE THE FINE stories on search and rescue. While win the mountain-rescue business rarely seek out attention for our efforts, it’s important to inform wilderness users that we’re ready to help in an emergency. I have the honor and privilege to lead such a group, Olympic Mountain Rescue, a unit comprising world-class mountaineers and experienced climbers who respond to emergency calls in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest on a 24/7 basis. I’ve shared many missions on Mount Rainer with Mike Gauthier (“Mike vs. the Volcano,” by Bruce Barcott) and can confirm that his one of the best in the mountain-rescue field. No matter where the mission takes me, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing that smile of relief when we locate our subject and say, “Hi. We’re Mountain Rescue. May we help you?” PAUL GELINEAU
COMMUNING WITH NATURE
THANKS FOR Lisa Ann Auerbach’s “Pope on a Rope Tow” (Field Notes, January). I am a 57-year-old priest and have been a skier for more than 40 years. When Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy, I knew he would make a mark on history. When I learned he was a man of the mountains and a skier, I know he would have a powerful love for nature and great compassion for humanity. Nature, God, and athletic endeavors truly go together, and they are inherent in many a man and woman of faith. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills”—Psalm 121. I just wish the good Lord would send more snow to Pennsylvania!
FATHER RICHARD COCHRANE
A FEW GOOD MEN
AS AN ALUMNUS of the Mountain Warfare Training Center’s winter course, I found it refreshing to read about the training marines undergo to prepare for the rigors of outdoor life (“Winter to the Corp,” February). Mark Jenkins did a great job detailing what it takes to conduct operations in the mountains. A bonus was learning Major K, with whom I once shared a room aboard a ship bound for Thailand, is now an MWTC instructor. He is a true mountain leader!
JEFFERY M. HEARN
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
“WINTER TO THE CORPS” brought back memories of my training in the World War II 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, Colorado. Temperatures dropped to 40 below. We considered our gear to be the best (we used tree boughs for sleeping bags), but modern marines certainly benefit from improved technology. I have camped recreationally with the boundaries of the Mountain Warfare Training Center and have had the privilege of a tour of its base facility. I know how fortunate we are to have marines trained in combat and survival techniques for severe conditions.
SCOLLAY C. PARKER
LOVE THAT DIRTY WATER
AFTER “WHERE the Ghost Bird Sings by the Poison Springs,” by William T. Vollmann (February), I can no longer deny you put together a great magazine. In the last 12 issues, you’ve revealed most of the places I’ve reached and cherished over the last decade of my two-week annual vacation allowance, but you publish quality and that requires me to forgive you. As he has done with so many supposed wastelands, Vollmann brings the Salton Sea to life before your eyes.
San Juan Capistrano, California
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to a production oversight, the caption and credit for our March 2002 cover photo was inadvertently omitted. It is a view of Ama Dablam, Nepal, on a trek to Everest Base Camp, taken by Liesl Clark/Oi2.com. Outside regrets the error.