Mountain Safety:  Staying Alive on the Crag

 

Climbing is a sport full of potential dangers, only by being aware of the risks and knowing the correct procedures do we keep the dangers under control. We also have a great responsibility to know how to deal with an emergency should one occur.

 

PREPARATION AND PREVENTION

  1. You must be fully aware of the capabilities of your climbing group and use Guide Books, maps and local information to plan accordingly.
  2. Make sure that you have listened to the weather forecast and have the right equipment to handle the expected conditions.

 

DANGER POINTS WHEN LEADING:

  1. Inadequate first point of protection
  2. Badly placed protection
  3. Inadequate protection on ‘easy’ sections.
  4. Trusting old protection found already in the rock
  5. Scrambling unroped after the completion of the climb.
  6. Failure to wear a helmet
  7. Belayer too far out the from base of climb.
  8. Inadequate communications
  9. Choice of climb above ability

 

DANGER POINTS WHEN DESCENDING

  1. Not knowing the safe way down after completion of climb
  2. Failure of the anchor point for the abseil rope.
  3. Abseiling off the end of the abseil rope.
  4. Slipping on vegetation, especially wet grass.
  5. No torch

 

DANGER FROM THE CLIFF

 

  1. Avoid climbing below another party, they may drop rocks or gear
  2. Do not knock off loose rock
  3. Assess the quality and stability of the rock before placing protection.

 


HYPOTHERMIA AND EXPOSURE

 

            Hypothermia is when your body loses its ability to keep warm, your face becomes very pale and you start to shiver uncontrollably. If you are not rescued quickly, hypothermia can lead to unconsciousness and death. To prevent the onset of hypothermia, the most important thing is to keep dry. Wet clothing is useless for keeping you warm.

Never forget that the UK has a weather system that changes extremely rapidly, and nowhere more so than in the mountains. The biggest threat to survival in the mountains is the failure to understand the need, even on the sunniest day, to be prepared for the worst possible weather likely at that time of year. Plan what you would do if the weather trapped you on the mountain overnight or if you needed to leave an injured member of your party alone on a remote hillside while you went for help. 

 

 

CHILDREN

                       
            Children are more vulnerable than adults to the dangers in the mountains. Make sure they are fully briefed and kept informed during the expedition. In adverse conditions take their comments seriously, they will almost certainly feel the effects before the adults.

 

 

 

HYPOTHERMIA CAN BE A KILLER

IN THE MOUNTAINS IN THE UK

 

 

 

IN AN EMERGENCY

 

            In the UK most mountain rescue is the responsibility of the Mountain Rescue Team  (MRT) often assisted by the Police and RAF helicopters. The MRT is a voluntary organisation and should be treated with the utmost respect.

            The most important element in any emergency is information. We all have a responsibility to make sure that we inform a reliable person when we are going into the hills. They should be left with data that could be used either if you report an accident or if you failed to return in the allotted time. The MRT should be contacted by dialling 999 or by reporting to a Police Station

 

If you go missing, the MRT needs to know:

 

  • Where to start looking for you
  • How many people they might be rescuing
  • What emergency signals you might be using.
  • What condition you might be in given the current weather conditions

 

 

 

 

 

CRITICAL INFORMATION SHEET (To be left with responsible Person)

 

  1. Names of everyone in party

 

 

  1. Home Address & telephone no

 

  1. Local Address

 

  1. Mobile Number

 

  1. Time & Date of Departure

 

  1. Route: To…………… From………………. 

 

  1. Estimated time of return.

 

  1. Vehicle type, colour and Registration No;

 

  1. Where vehicle parked.

 

  1. Activity: Walking climbing ………………

 

 

List Emergency Equipment Carried

 

Waterproof clothing (colour)……………

Head Torch………………….

Emergency Food……………….

Whistle………………………….

Map/compass…………………….

Ice Axe/Crampons……………….

Survival bag/bivvy bag (colour)………………….

 

 

 

IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORGET TO REPORT YOUR SAFE RETURN

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