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Topic - death rates in the himalaya: front page of the BMJ

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 30 Jun 2012
This week's BMJ has an editorial about himalayan mountaineering, prompted by a study they publish in the same edition

(Westhoff, Koepsell and Littell, 2012, for anyone with access to pubmed or the BMJ)

the study looked at nearly 24000 expedition members (over 39000 ascents) who went above base camp, over a 40 year period. they found no evidence that death rates were higher on commercial expeditions than traditional ones, and no evidence that death rates reduced with repeated participation.

i suppose it makes some intuitive sense, in that those taking part in traditional expeditions are likely to be on new, probably harder and riskier routes, rather than the trade routes of the mountain.

the editorial had an interesting table, with relative risks of death from a range of activities- in deaths per 1,000,000 days of exposure

downhill skiing had 1.1 death

alpine "rock and ice climbing" 9.7

trekking (Nepal) 11

climbing 8000m peaks 544

aside from the very high risk of 8000m climbing, the trekking in nepal stat was a bit of an eye opener.

any thoughts..?

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