Survey launched to understand causes of mountain accidents

MOUNTAIN safety experts have created a survey to gain better insight into the causes of accidents on mountains and hills, and the kind of injuries sustained in them.

The work is being led by Mountaineering Scotland, the Mountain Safety Group, Police Scotland, and various mountain rescue teams.

Members of the collective organisations say they launched the survey after discovering a lack of information on the underlying causes of most accidents.

“Getting a better insight into the drivers behind mountain accidents will be a game changer,” said Ross Cadie, senior mountain safety adviser at Mountaineering Scotland.

“Being able to recognise and then understand any patterns of behaviour will help us tailor our safety messaging and deliver better courses that will help to prevent accidents and save lives in the mountains.”

One of the problems mountain rescue teams face with understanding how to prevent accidents is the fact that information gathered on an incident is often focused on what occurred in the aftermath, rather than what led up to it.

“Preventative work to reduce accidents is a priority for us,” explained Inspector Matt Smith of Police Scotland.

“Learning exactly why they take place will help us focus our work to reduce demand on volunteer mountain rescue teams and ultimately, help keep people safe.”

Scottish Mountain Rescue – which comprises of 25 mountain rescue teams, the Royal Air Force and Police Scotland – experienced its busiest year in 2021 with 951 separate call-outs to 660 incidents.

Last year, there were 843 call-outs to 636 emergency calls with 21 deaths, more than half of which were the result of mountaineering accidents. Ninety of the 740 people assisted were injured, with fractures accounting for almost half of the injuries.

The 26-year-old to 35 age group was the most dominant in the stats for people being rescued. However, for context, Scottish Mountain Rescue were quick to point out this was the majority age group taking to the outdoors.


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