Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
Ironically, it's rescue beacons that are one of the causes of delay. Someone stops at Subway and picks up a roast beef sandwich, throws it in the pack, and decides to eat it atop an 11,000 ft pass the first day out, buckles over with a stomach cramp, thinks they're dying, and hits the recuse beacon. All those false alarms tie up the choppers. Another big problem is that choppers can't land just anywhere or fly in just any kind of weather. I've known climbing rescues where it took days just to get the individual off the rock and to a point capable of being picked up. In other scenarios, like the big fires of the past two years, it took up to a week for a chopper to get in due to the smoke. At one point, they were searching for over 500 people reported missing. It almost literally became a game of trying to herd backcountry hikers the right direction, as if herding wild horses with a helicopter.

But those rescue pilots are trained to navigate by landmarks. It's extremely important due to the complex topography and varying wind and storm conditions. If you want to see a really spooky copter rescue of a downed recuse copter, it transpired on Granite Dome in Emigrant Wilderness. Do a search under "Granite Dome Helicopter Rescue". People were still inside that thing as it was teetering right on the edge of the precipice.
Yep helicopter rescues are quite risky, another famous incident occurred on Mount Hood during a climbing party rescue.