Children are not to be brought to the high mountains, especially to an altitude which can seriously affect the growing body in not predictable way.
To attention of all the parents.
Climbing mountains is beautiful and exciting sport but potential risks are very high there. People who climb mountains must be fully conscious that on their decision depend their health and life as well as the lives of others. Reasoning from this it is clear that young children should not be brought to the extreme mountain conditions which require power and responsibility of an adult. Sometimes people who have no idea of how dangerous mountain climbing can be, make the mistakes which cost too high price...
There is an example below, which could teach all of us to be more attentive
to our children.
Here are the shameful facts about Irish record maker Ian Mc Keever who misused and nearly killed the 11 years old child for realization doubtful project on Elbrus sponsored by the worldwide hotel chain.
During July, 2008 Ian Mc Keever booked the Elbrus ascent with AlexClimb Mountain Guide for himself, 11 years old boy (the name of child is not to be used here), Gordon Ward and Adam King, but against all the recommendations omitted the necessary acclimatization part of the program presuming than the child has an "exceptional altitude resistance"...
AlexClimb climbing agency does not work with children. Exception was made to Ian Mc Keever (who wasn't direct relative to the child) only because he had the special letter from the mother of the young boy which empowered him to take all the decisions and responsibility.
To that moment Ian had his own experience with Elbrus, quite a rough one, as Elbrus is the only mountain which was not climbed from the first attempt during his 7-Summits record. His new idea was to make another speed record with a child. Ian Mc Keever was informed that climbing in high altitude conditions without proper acclimatization
can have the fatal consequences for the health of young boy but Ian declined this reasonable recommendation and made the decision to attempt Elbrus in 4 days.
On the mountain from the first day it was clear that the boy was not ready for the climb. While the short acclimatization walk everybody observed that the child got mountain sickness because of the sharp altitude gain. His heart rate increase up to 180 even when he was quite and it was so bad that Russian Guide leading the group made Ian to stop any activity for this day. Ian Mc Keever insisted that this was normal and presumed to make a short phone conversation with boy's mother, after which he had informed the team that the mother approved his decision to carry on "until boy can walk". (Afterwards, in communication with the mother it was found that Ian Mc Keever never spoke with her about this matter, and
all that she knows is Sean had "minor nose bleeding".) After the phone conversation Ian passed mothers words to the team that all is well and Sean always has high heart rate. After that it was nothing to do but continue the program.
The following night the boy did not sleep, lost his appetite and shown more serious symptoms of AMS. It was told to Ian Mc Keever that the climb was not possible in such conditions. In spite of all the logic and sense, Ian Mc Keever decided to attempt the mountain after one day rest. This decision was quite a stupid one as the AMS can not be cured without going down from the mountain.
On the next day the team got a snow cat lift to the point 4700 m. It was a perfect night for the climb, the ideal one, with many people going up and with the best weather and snow conditions. But Ian's idea to bring up a sick child and forcing him to walk up was not a good idea at all.
After very slow 200 meters the boy said (he hardly could speak) that he can not walk any more (his pulse was close to 200 again). Only after that, Ian agreed to his Guide that the climb should be terminated as the continuation can cause the death of the child.
After the descent Ian Mc Keever made the nearly recovered young boy to
tell lie to the journalists as to conceal the fact of his getting sick, but the reason of Elbrus ascent failure was told the bad weather.
As a result, the child's physical health was seriously affected as he was exposed to huge altitude stress without obligatory preparation. Young boy also was injured psychologically as he was made to lie to other people.
The reason for all this was nothing more than Ian Mc Keever's desire of
new world record and getting further sponsorship.
Most of the people go to the mountains to look for the tranquility and calmness, some go there for the bright and clear impressions which beautify their lives.
But some scoundrels go to the mountains to realize their miserable ambitions and do not hesitate to misuse and harm other people. Some cases are so ugly that they deserve to be blamed and punished publicly.