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Lost climbers emerge from mountains

(China Daily)

10:18, October 13, 2011

BEIJING - A group of 14 climbers that had been missing for nearly two weeks in Southwest China's Sichuan province walked out of the mountains by themselves on Wednesday.

All are in good condition and heading to Chengdu to see their waiting families, Zeng Fanrong, director of Outdoors Sports Management Center of Four Girls Mountains, told China Daily on Wednesday.

The group, including nine tourists from Zhejiang province, Shanghai and Guangzhou, one local guide and four porters, lost contact with the outside on Sept 30 when they entered the Haizi Ravine. Their route has been off limits because of the effects of the devastating earthquake in 2008.

Five teams of professional rescuers were sent to look for the missing climbers, said Huang Jizhou, an official in charge of rescue in the mountains.

The rescuers, who are in an area without phone contact, are likely still looking for the climbers and are due to finish their mission and return in four days.

"They are experienced enough to come back safely," Huang said.
Costs of the rescue exceeded 100,000 yuan ($15,700) including transportation and food, Huang said.

Total costs for searching for tourists who recklessly go into the dangerous areas may surpass 300,000 yuan every year, he added.

Gao Min, deputy secretary-general of Sichuan Mountaineering Association, said the guide's license will be revoked for leading the group of tourists on a banned route. Punishment for the climbers will be released soon.

More and more people are participating in self-organized climbing groups, especially young people in their 20s, said Lin Li, former general-secretary of the association.

More than 200 professional rescuers with knowledge and skills have been trained and work yearly in the mountains in Sichuan province.


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