Croucher’s bid to save lives with etiquette ethos

PUBLISHED: 14:48 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 10 June 2010

TOPSHAM'S intrepid mountaineer Norman Croucher OBE has brought two of the oldest humanitarian organisations in the world together in a bid to save lives.

TOPSHAM'S intrepid mountaineer Norman Croucher OBE has brought two of the oldest humanitarian organisations in the world together in a bid to save lives.

Norman, 67, from White Street, has scaled some of the toughest peaks in the world - despite losing both legs when he was just 19 - and founded The Alpine Club Spirit of Mountaineering Initiative last summer.

The Alpine Club, founded in 1857, is the world's first mountaineering club and the initiative was set up because of numerous well-documented instances when able bodied mountaineers have passed-by sick or injured fellow climbers in their single-minded bid for what Norman dubs as 'summit glory'.

And, in a visit to London recently, Norman met with the Secretary General of the Royal Humane Society.

The society, set up in 1774, recognises acts of bravery in the saving of human life and the restoration of life by resuscitation.

Awards are granted to those who have put their own lives at risk to save or attempt to save someone else.

Norman said: "Recently I met the secretary general to establish a liaison between our two schemes since there will be some common ground in our efforts to encourage humanitarian actions.

"The traditional values of mountaineering are being eroded by people, some of whom have no real love of mountains and view mountaineering as some kind of extreme sport, who treat them merely as obstacle course, on the way to the goal they can brag about to friends."

He added that there was 'no excuse' to ignore a person in need of assistance and that many climbers could 'learn a lot' from the ethos of members of the Royal Humane Society, and that most of these incidents were on (8,000 foot) peaks where guided commercial expeditions operated:

"While not castigating such expeditions, their proliferation and the competitive, must-prove-myself, get-my-money's-worth atmosphere may easily blind the ambitious expeditionary with little mountaineering background to the norms of long-accepted behaviour.

"We must do all we can to see there is no repetition of the recent 2006 incident on Everest in which a sorely stricken climber was ignored by a man who later said 'I would have suffered a lack of respect if I had failed to reach the summit'.

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