Tag Archives: mountain safety

Tragic climbing death – a timely reminder of key outdoor skills in rock climbing safety

Well worth taking a few minutes to read this article and watch the video regarding some of the potential dangers of rubber band restrained quick draws.  Important key tips for climbers and as usual, a key outdoor skills and field safety message – check and know your gear well.

Incorrectly set up quick draw - BEWARE

The rubber band is the only thing holding a potential fall – check your kit carefully. UKC News, 09 Jul 2013
© Grimper.com

Sadly these lessons come out in the light of the tragic death of Tito Traversa so our thoughts go out to his family.  Please take a minute to read these top safety reminders from UKC.

Mountain safety – beware bad mountain in the ‘summer’

A timely report of incidents attended by Welsh mountain rescue teams emphasises how important it is for people to plan carefully and be prepared for the worst when heading up into the mountains.  A reminder that the British ‘summer’ weather is far from predictable and as ever good mountain safety would do well to follow the old adage, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.  Thankfully all down safely but a reminder of the importance of good field safety planning and worth a quick read of the full story from UKC of how a group of nine people had to be rescued from Crib Goch in bad weather.


Mountain safety on crib goch

© Sonny Bennett, Sep 2010

Mountain safety – are your outdoor skills up to spotting bombs!

Well this is a new field safety tip for us as mountain rescuers have warned walkers and runners after dangerous unexploded shells were found on moorland.  We’ve never thought of spotting unexploded shells as a key part of your outdoor skills, but maybe we need to start including it on our outdoor skills training courses!

The discovery on Monday followed a tip-off by a fell runner who noticed the piece of ordnance while running above Langsett in the North-East of the Peak District.

The area was formerly used as a military firing range and has been the scene of various discoveries of unexploded shells in the past.

The moors above Langsett, crossed by the Cut Gate path, were used as a firing range and unexploded ordnance is often found at the end of winter as the shells are forced to the surface from the movement of the peat bogs.

bomb spotting - new outdoor skills

exploded bomb safely detonated by teams in the mountains

Being called out for unexploded shells is an unusual addition to a busy five days for the mountain rescue team, which also helped provide safety cover for the Ten Tors challenge event run by the Army on Dartmoor over the weekend.

Mr Roberts said: “Woodhead members were kept on their toes throughout the event assisting Dartmoor Rescue Group rescue in excess of 14 teenagers from the notoriously inclement Dartmoor weather.”

“The rescues included locating lost teams and taking them to a place of safety. Two competitors were treated for mild hypothermia while another was treated for a leg injury.”

As ever the story is a reminder of the tireless work that mountain rescue teams do in helping out those who get into trouble in the mountains.  For more details read the full story here.

Important outdoor skills – reversed polarity compasses on the increase

An important reminder from the Mountaineer Council of Scotland today about how electronic equipment is increasingly affecting the polarity of compasses and the affects this is having on mountain safety.  A crucial navigation and outdoor skill so all hill walkers and mountain folk beware, have a read…

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Field safety in the Mountains

So much has been written recently about safety in the mountains, in particular in relation to a number of winter deaths in the mountains in Scotland.  I think as mountain people, deeply ingrained in belief in the value of free and open mountain access our general reaction is often that, “these things will happen”, that we know and accept the risks.  This argument perhaps stands up where the incidents occur to experienced and knowledgeable people who were facing known risks for an activity they love.

Winter conditions in Spring
Beautiful but challenging conditions in the Lakes this weekend

However out walking in the Lakes over this bank holiday weekend I was struck by a real challenge to my natural natural reaction to field safety as I was passed by streams of inappropriately dressed and prepared people.  Trainers and jogging bottoms were out in force, axes and crampons rare sights and clearly there was a lack of understanding of the potential dangers.

As ever I felt that confliction – on the one hand between a natural aversion to ‘nanny stating’, ‘elf and safety’ and the joy at seeing people out in the outdoors, undeterred by the weather – on the other there was a fear that too many of these people lacked the basic skills, inexperience and crucially judgement to be out in the conditions they found themselves in.

So what is the solution, I guess it will always smack of bias when as a training organisation we talk about the importance of outdoor skills training but that has to be a critical part.  But how do you share that general knowledge as widely as is required?  Should there be some restriction, some level of required training – this cuts against the grain in so many ways.  Perhaps the key is building these skills in early, at school so that we can increase the base level of skills, knowledge and awareness to allow more and more people to enjoy the mountains with both freedom and safety.