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Sam Branson Rescued from Matterhorn

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

We've talked about wealthy people who have the ability to "pay to play" and can show some disrespect for mother nature.  This story seems to be one such story. 

 

http://snowbrains.com/richard-bransons-son-airlifted-matterhorn/

 

It appears that Sam Branson was told by his guide that he was too ill to summit the Matterhorn and that they should head back down.  Sam refused to heed the warnings and pushed on to the summit where he collapsed and had to be rescued by helicopter. 

 

What are your thoughts on this? 

 

I have a friend who runs an adventure company, guiding folks to the Antarctica   He requires some of his clients to get involved with charities, not just write a check but actually get involved, prior to taking their money for the adventure.  His theory is that some of his clientele can benefit from a humble experience.  

In his words, "if you don't listen to your guide in that environment, its critical.  You put everyone with you at risk" 

post #2 of 26
Sense of entitlement is the social scourge of the last 40 or so years, and it's growing.
post #3 of 26

It's not like he's the first person rescued on the Matterhorn. They probably rescue hundreds every year. I spent a summer climbing in Chamonix and they banned paragliding on the Midi side of the valley because they didn't want people colliding with rescue copters. The skies were busy in Zermatt too. It's a constant thing. It just wouldn't be newsworthy if he was a regular schlub.

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

It's not like he's the first person rescued on the Matterhorn. They probably rescue hundreds every year. I spent a summer climbing in Chamonix and they banned paragliding on the Midi side of the valley because they didn't want people colliding with rescue copters. The skies were busy in Zermatt too. It's a constant thing. It just wouldn't be newsworthy if he was a regular schlub.

That's true for sure, but its still an air of entitlement whether you're  a regular schlub or from a big family. 

post #5 of 26
It's stupidity and stubbornness, but not sure that there are not a lot of people, rich or not, who would not have done the same. You don't get to the top without a ton of guts and determination. He's fortunate to be alive. How is he? Can't have been good for his brain, already clearly having some issues before he started.
post #6 of 26
Ya gots now your limitations.
post #7 of 26
post #8 of 26
No matter the reasons, motivations, or stakes involved, one must understand that they put others at risk (often grave) when they require rescue after ignoring clear signs to turn back.

Edit it add: This wasn't an accident and shouldn't be considered the same as accidents that require rescues.
post #9 of 26

Sounds like a guide problem possibly with a dose of British tabloid spin which doesn't represent what truly happened.  I don't think I've ever been with a guide who didn't clearly establish he was the decision maker for the group by demeanour and/or words  - this didn't mean you wouldn't be able to challenge a decision you thought risky and ask for something more conservative but did mean you wouldn't be able to sway them on something more aggressive than they were choosing.

 

If someone is experiencing altitude sickness they can't really be said to be making rational decisions anyway so I'm not sure you can blame them for arrogance there.

post #10 of 26
^^^Welllll.....maybe so. I'm totally unfamiliar with guided climbing - never done it, so I don't really know what the expectations and roles are.

As to the journalism, a little searching on news.google.com doesn't turn up a lot of info different than the copy in the Snowbrains article. I wasn't there of course, but it still seems apparent that the guy had plenty of good reason to turn around, which brings me back to hubris and arrogance.

And one of my favorite quotes comes from the US TV show Justified, in which an Elmore Leonard character says, " No one likes rich people..." cool.gif
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Sounds like a guide problem possibly with a dose of British tabloid spin which doesn't represent what truly happened.  I don't think I've ever been with a guide who didn't clearly establish he was the decision maker for the group by demeanour and/or words  - this didn't mean you wouldn't be able to challenge a decision you thought risky and ask for something more conservative but did mean you wouldn't be able to sway them on something more aggressive than they were choosing.

 

If someone is experiencing altitude sickness they can't really be said to be making rational decisions anyway so I'm not sure you can blame them for arrogance there.

 

 

Almost everyone I know who has had firsthand knowledge of some event reported like this has said the reporter got it wrong, at least in some aspects. Branson may be arrogant, but newspapers have agendas, too, particularly when it comes to wealthy people. :-)   I take it all with a grain of salt.

 

In any case, Sir Richard said, “Our appreciation for the rescue services resulted in Virgin sponsoring the London helicopter rescue service for many years," so that's a nice thing that came from it. Better than a case of PBR!

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/sir-richard-bransons-son-sam-4159561#ixzz3CjkwwZFu 
 

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

 

 

Almost everyone I know who has had firsthand knowledge of some event reported like this has said the reporter got it wrong, at least in some aspects. Branson may be arrogant, but newspapers have agendas, too, particularly when it comes to wealthy people. :-)   I take it all with a grain of salt.

 

In any case, Sir Richard said, “Our appreciation for the rescue services resulted in Virgin sponsoring the London helicopter rescue service for many years," so that's a nice thing that came from it. Better than a case of PBR!

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/sir-richard-bransons-son-sam-4159561#ixzz3CjkwwZFu 
 

I don't think I said Branson was arrogant.  I'll go back and read what I wrote.  Any way, I'm not surprised with his gratitude, or his generosity to the rescue company.  Kudos to him for the follow through. 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

I don't think I said Branson was arrogant.  I'll go back and read what I wrote.  Any way, I'm not surprised with his gratitude, or his generosity to the rescue company.  Kudos to him for the follow through. 

Well, no, but others did. And "disrespecting Mother Nature" and needing a dash of humility sort of point that way. I am not saying that isn't true, anyway, I don't know him.

 

The articles were not terribly heavy on specifics, though. That is my point. It wasn't an investigation, hell, the guides could be lying to cover their asses for all we know. 

post #14 of 26
Yeah, I'm the one saying arrogance and hubris. But I'm curious, what would others say the motivation was to continue on in the face of very poor physical symptoms and (apparent) advice from others to turn back? I'm not sure ignorance is a fair plea - people that dumb shouldn't be there. And there's the thing about putting rescuers at risk.
post #15 of 26
I want to do what his dad is doing in the bottom photo and the way he's doing it...
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Yeah, I'm the one saying arrogance and hubris. But I'm curious, what would others say the motivation was to continue on in the face of very poor physical symptoms and (apparent) advice from others to turn back? I'm not sure ignorance is a fair plea - people that dumb shouldn't be there. And there's the thing about putting rescuers at risk.

I agree... and it happens all the time, not just with famous people, as epic pointed out. I don't know how many people are pulled off of Quandary every year, but there are rescues all the time. THat guy on Longs Peak earlier this year, the young Canadian. That was a hell of a tale, complete with helicopter (although he ended up rescuing himself because the heli couldn't get close enough). I think it's usually more about ignorance than arrogance, but I imagine they are related.

post #17 of 26
I have issues with people that count on a helicopter rescue if things go bad and push beyond their capabilities. Here's a summary of helicopter rescues in the mountains that went bad:
http://coloradowm.org/blog/?p=514

Even though the summary covers the US, it's food for thought, especially if you consider mountain helicopter rescue to be easy and safe.
post #18 of 26

As far as I can tell, in Europe heli rescues are no big deal. Skiing in the Arlberg, I have never seen a  ski patrol sled ever. If anyone is injured in any way they swoop right in with a helicopter and take you to town. While skiing in Lech, my dad was heli-evaced for a dislocated shoulder. That's just how they do it.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

As far as I can tell, in Europe heli rescues are no big deal. Skiing in the Arlberg, I have never seen a  ski patrol sled ever. If anyone is injured in any way they swoop right in with a helicopter and take you to town. While skiing in Lech, my dad was heli-evaced for a dislocated shoulder. That's just how they do it.


Yeah, I came down a run in Austria to find a rescue helicopter in the middle of the piste..not much in the way of warning or personnel..just seemed to be a very normal thing.  Person probably had a damaged knee or leg and probably could have been taken off in a sled and ambulance.  Certainly here in Canada they would be.  You also have to pay for that rescue in Austria..either via insurance or out of your pocket.  Gov't doesn't pay.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

As far as I can tell, in Europe heli rescues are no big deal. Skiing in the Arlberg, I have never seen a  ski patrol sled ever. If anyone is injured in any way they swoop right in with a helicopter and take you to town. While skiing in Lech, my dad was heli-evaced for a dislocated shoulder. That's just how they do it.

Common place doesn't exactly mean "no big deal" or hazard free:
http://www.dovepress.com/getfile.php?fileID=6158
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-118243/Helicopter-crashes-rescue.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/24/us-spain-crash-idUSKBN0GO0B220140824
http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/20299-rescue-helicopter-crashes-ski-resort.html
http://www.news.com.au/video/id-Zvc3FtbzrA5JgaHCiDpwmb9tgHj4d1Ut/Helicopter-pilot-killed-in-Yazidi-rescue-crash-mourned-in-Iraq

etc. etc. I only googled for 2 minutes.
post #21 of 26

I'm just saying that helicopter rescues are commonplace over there. Where I live the heli doesn't come unless someone is gonna die without one.

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


Common place doesn't exactly mean "no big deal" or hazard free:
 

 

I was mostly thinking of the cost when I saw it.  I don't much about aircraft, but I know rotary wing aircraft are costly to operate generally.  And every 15 minutes you see a rescue chopper flying up and down the valleys in Austria.  I don't really know why they don't do sled and ambulance.  It would seem to be much more economically sensible considering, I imagine, most ski injuries are relatively minor.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I'm just saying that helicopter rescues are commonplace over there. Where I live the heli doesn't come unless someone is gonna die without one.

I know that they're commonplace, but what you wrote was "no big deal." My point was, and is that, commonplace or rare, helicopter rescues are dangerous...speaking as someone who has been involved in a fair number of them. And you can tie that back to the original post for thread continuity.
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

I'm just saying that helicopter rescues are commonplace over there. Where I live the heli doesn't come unless someone is gonna die without one.

Maybe that's why we view things so differently. 

 

 

Part of the reason I started this thread is because I have been intrigued by the various stories about climbs on Everest experiencing traffic jams in the final ascent, compounded with the death of several Sherpas this past spring from a huge slide, and have been amazed at the disconnect from my own perspective about these types of adventures and the various personalities who pursue them.  

 

It seems to me that Branson is the sort who prepares for every thing that he does, down to the tiniest of details.  I know very little about his son but this story struck me as 'interesting', and a learning experience. 

post #25 of 26

"Yes" to all of this, and it's compounded by the fact that you can't really trust a journalist anymore. It's always a thin line between brave and stupid, no? 

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

A few months ago I posted a link in the thread about the Sherpa's who died this year on Everest.  The article in the link I posted was one of the best and perhaps the most in-depth stories I've read on the subject.  Those kinds of articles are pretty rare in a world where the general public is drawn to sensationalism. 

http://www.epicski.com/t/127573/12-sherpas-dead-in-everest-avalanche#post_1750180

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