/ Frequency of winter accidents in the UK

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pwb1981 - on 11 Feb 2013
Every week it seems there has been a story in the press about people getting into trouble in the hills in the UK. Both hill walking and climbing, in Scotland in particular and an especially large number in the Cairngorms. Is this a normal year or have there been more accidents than normal? Has the weather been exceptionally challenging this year? Are there more people heading out into the hills? Or is it just flavour of the month for the press and this is a typical?
Michael Ryan - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:

It would be great to see some analysis from an authoritative source.

Then we could all speculate/infer as to the cause.

Is it a symptom of the rise in adventure sports?

If indeed there has been an increase in people going out into the hills in winter!

There does seem to be a online frenzy when it snows.
Darkskys - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981: I get the feeling more people are trying their luck after a year or two walking (from my own experience, I'm not speculating on recent incidents) and taking the plunge into some more serious winter related mountaineering instead of taking it slow with winter walking then progressing.
The Ex-Engineer - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:
> Every week it seems there has been a story in the press about people getting into trouble in the hills in the UK. Both hill walking and climbing, in Scotland in particular and an especially large number in the Cairngorms. Is this a normal year or have there been more accidents than normal?

Taking a long-term view (my personal knowledge covers around 20 years, with some knowledge of earlier historical trends) this year is regrettably not unusual.

> Has the weather been exceptionally challenging this year?
No, not at all. Again, looking over a 20-year horizon, there is absolutely nothing exceptional about this Winter.

> Are there more people heading out into the hills?
Possibly. However, I remember the Northern Corries being very busy in the late 1990's so I think there has only been a modest increase at most.

> Or is it just flavour of the month for the press and this is a typical?
That is exactly my opinion. Over the last two decades, deaths in the Scottish mountains have become a major media issue on at last 3-4 occasions and in every case the media interest has had very little connection to underlying trends and much more to do with coincidence and the occurrence of multiple of unrelated accidents within a matter of days/weeks.
chris_s - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

For Scotland, the Mountain Rescue Committe has dvetailed stats on this which they publish around this time of year I think. From memory there was a drop last year in the number of incidents and fatalities generally over the last 10 years they're rising. A simple comparison with last year's stats doesn't tell you that much. The MRCofS report is pretty detailed, with type of injury/time of call out/casualty gender etc all recorded.
Ramblin dave - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to pwb1981)
>
> It would be great to see some analysis from an authoritative source.

Agree. MRT callout logs might be a good place to look for some hard(er) data, although there are issues with that too.

Without that, I think a few tragic incidents in a short spaces of time is just that, and not something to start turning into a general trend and blaming on gear mags or mobile phones or whatever...
31770 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

google trends would suggest that levels have been fairly flat over the last few years.. (based on people searching)

http://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=winter%20climbing%2C%20accident%20scotland%20-car%20-road%2...

not sure how well that will tie in with the reality.
jjmacewan - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:

> "It would be great to see some analysis from an authoritative source."

Some analysis here:

http://www.mcofs.org.uk/research.asp
31770 - on 11 Feb 2013
Dave Hewitt - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:
> Are there more people heading out into the hills?

Looking at it from the winter walking (as opposed to climbing) point of view as someone who is out steadily all year round in the southern Highlands, I'm pretty sure there's been an increase in the numbers of people who are going out in winter underequipped, with iffy navigation skills and often remarkably slow-paced (with consequent issues about margins for error in Dec/Jan daylight). I quite often now see people on snowy/icy Munros with poles and maybe low-ground spikes but no axe or crampons, and it's fairly common to read write-ups by such people on Walkhighlands or Scottish Hills.

I'm as sure as I can be from anecdotal observation that there's been a marked increase in this over the past decade - there seems to be a mindset that poles/spikes are enough in the way of gear to allow standard routes up Munros and Corbetts to be done safely. There's also a related thing where an increasing number of people don't seem to be giving much thought to aspect of slope in winter - not just re avalanche risk, but also with regard to general iciness (the classic southern Highlands example being the top bit of the main path up the Loch Earn Ben Vorlich, which is steep and faces north - you can see some alarming things going on there).

By and large these people seem to get away with it unscathed - thank goodness - and one would hope that the learning process is rapid after a scare. There have been recent-ish incidents where underequippedness has been a factor, however, although without a detailed analysis of stats from MRTs it's hard to say whether this is leading to any kind of overall trend in terms of an increase in accidents and callouts.
Only a hill - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
> and in every case the media interest has had very little connection to underlying trends and much more to do with coincidence and the occurrence of multiple of unrelated accidents within a matter of days/weeks.

For example, the latest badly written and factually questionable article:
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/433803/20130211/walker-dead-cairngorms.htm
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

At the risk of huge generalisation, I do think that inexperienced hillwalkers are probably a little less cautious than they used to be because of hugely improved clothing, satellite navigation and, dare I say it?, mobile phones. A bit too much reliance on modern technology, and a bit too little respect for the elements, perhaps.
Henry Iddon - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:

From the research I've done for my 'A Place to Go' project ( http://www.henryiddon.com/A-Place-to-Go ) I'd suggest that there are proportion of incidents to the number of people visiting the uplands is less. There certainly appear less multiple fatal incidents.

I may be wrong but there appears to have been a lot of multiple fatal incidents in the 50's when access to the UK hills was getting easier - buses, private cars etc and outdoor pursuits were increasing as a past time, weather forecasting was poor and - importantly - clothing and equipment was still 'basic' and often ex army issue.

There was a long article in The Times Jan 12th 1952; pg 7; issue 52207; col F that discussed this issue.
"Accidents on the hills have however, become numerous enough to cause much concern among the more responsible mountaineering bodies. After the tragedies of last Easter, when abnormal snow and ice conditions contributed to a dozen or so incidents, a committee was set up to consider what might be done. On it are such bodies as the British Mountaineering Council and Ramblers Association are represented"....

mcdweeb - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:
Every activity has risk.
We must keep these rare tragedies in proportion. Its a fair price for adventure for a large number of people despite the undoubted individual catastrophes that befall occasionally.
100 cyclists killed on the roads, doesn't stop me riding a bike.
2500 deaths on the roads probably doesn't stop anybody from driving.
I actually rarely see any totally ill equipped folk about in winter these days. When I started walking with my University club in the 80s, we all went up Ben Nevis in a big group, half were carrying shopping bags and wearing trainers.
The golf course remains the commonest place for fatal accidents/illnesses apparently (urban myth alert).
I do remember reading that an A&E doctor in Edinburgh said he'd rather fix broken limbs from mt biking at Glentress than deal with the results of childhood obesity when commenting on a press scare story about the number of injuries from the MTB trails there.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Henry Iddon:

The reduced fatalities must surely be the result of modern technology, viz. mobile phones, improved clothing, and in some cases the ability to pinpoint the injured/immobilised thanks to sat nav.
earlsdonwhu - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981: More people seem to be going into the hills. Could the expansion of higher education be linked? For many people the first taste of climbing in summer or winter is at university and numbers of students have rocketed in the last 25 years. I know many uni clubs run courses etc and I am not suggesting they are incompetent. Many of the increasing numbers I see out are relatively young which is great in many respects.
MG - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I am trying to reconcile your two posts. You think technology increases injuries but decreases fatalities?
Only a hill - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) I am trying to reconcile your two posts. You think technology increases injuries but decreases fatalities?

It makes sense to me. I think he's saying that over-reliance on technology can make it more likely that the inexperienced will get into tricky situations, but thanks to modern technology people are more likely to be saved (and hence there are fewer fatalities).
Dave Hewitt - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> At the risk of huge generalisation, I do think that inexperienced hillwalkers are probably a little less cautious than they used to be

I'd say that's a fair analysis in general terms. The poles thing worries me - certainly 20 years ago and probably even ten years ago it was a case of axe or nothing in terms of carrying an implement on the hill. Now there's the middle-ground of poles, and a lot of people are going for that. I sometimes wonder if it's in part because of the way axes are marketed in magazines etc - the pictures advertising them often seem to portray people in pretty serious situations, so the humble winter plodder (in which category I would include myself) is at risk of being dissuaded from getting an axe on the grounds that it's too technical for what they want to do.

There must be lots of other factors in play, of course. One thing I've found myself thinking about quite a bit of late is the apparent decline (from when I started 30 years ago) of the once-commonplace thing of seeing two regular sidekicks out together, who would know each other's habits and strengths and weaknesses, be of similar pace, be likeminded in terms of snack-stops etc. There's a lot of safety in being a well-matched pair. These days married (or whatever) couples are probably just as common as ever, as are solo walkers and (occasionally) club groups. But what appears to have slightly replaced the well-matched duo is the gang of half a dozen mates. There are more issues re peer pressure in such groups, and a lot of moving parts - personally I'm never very convinced that a group of any more than four is a good idea on biggish hills in the depths of winter.
Wainers44 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> It makes sense to me. I think he's saying that over-reliance on technology can make it more likely that the inexperienced will get into tricky situations, but thanks to modern technology people are more likely to be saved (and hence there are fewer fatalities).

As you say, makes sense. There could also be some irony in the increase in numbers of people out in the hills helping to reduce the incident rate....more people around to ask for help if you get lost or the wheels come off? Of course not true in all mountain areas.
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MG - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Only a hill: Yes, it's a reasonable suggestion, I was just wanting to be clear that's what was meant.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) I am trying to reconcile your two posts. You think technology increases injuries but decreases fatalities?

Pretty much, yes. Increases numbers of call outs, and d f.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

You've summed up, well, fleshed out (from your greater knowledge), what my hunch is about.
Only a hill - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Hewitt:
> I sometimes wonder if it's in part because of the way axes are marketed in magazines etc - the pictures advertising them often seem to portray people in pretty serious situations, so the humble winter plodder (in which category I would include myself) is at risk of being dissuaded from getting an axe on the grounds that it's too technical for what they want to do.

I think there could be some truth in this, and I might take it further by suggesting the trend in walking axes becoming shorter and techier every year might compound this effect. After all, beginners are told time and time again "don't get a long traditional axe, you'll grow out of it; buy a 50cm semi-technical tool." And then there's the trekking pole effect you also describe ...

I actually think it wouldn't be a bad thing if the long walking axe made a comeback. I'd far rather carry an 80cm axe in winter (when on a non-technical day) than trekking poles and a 50cm axe.
In reply to pwb1981: I did a study on newspaper reporting of mountaineering accidents over two winters in the mid-90s (probably 93/94 and 94/95) using the Scottish papers and the UK broadsheets. It was more about tone as it was for my sociology (it's subtitle was "the failed construction of a moral panic" for those you who know your Cohen! :), but obviously I did a chronology of events too. It may have just been those winters were particularly bad, but it seems to me that there has been a significant decrease in deaths in the last 10-15 years in comparison. There were some pretty terrible stories from those winters - and whilst every death is obviously a tragedy, they don't seem as common now.

Mobiles phones must have made a really big difference. Don't know if anyone remembers the two missing girls from (IIRC) Cambridge Uni who disappeared on Ben Nevis? MRT went out I think three days in a row before finding them in OK shape in a snowhole on Raeburn's Easy Route. Presumably now it would just be a quick, and probably apologetic call, at 9 pm saying "We're cragfast!" and a couple of the MRT would be up there in short order and able to guide them off. Back in the early 90s there camera crews camped out in Fort William, presumably waiting for the bodies to be found, but actually getting the great good news story when they were found.
Henry Iddon - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Henry Iddon)
>
> The reduced fatalities must surely be the result of modern technology, viz. mobile phones, improved clothing, and in some cases the ability to pinpoint the injured/immobilised thanks to sat nav.

Indeed. I think more accurate weather forecasting has also had a huge impact - 60 plus years ago people could be heading out into the unknown. In 'general' an impending storm within one or two day scan be reliably predicted.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Henry Iddon:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Indeed. I think more accurate weather forecasting has also had a huge impact - 60 plus years ago people could be heading out into the unknown. In 'general' an impending storm within one or two day scan be reliably predicted.

Yes, good point. The way we can now actually 'see' bad weather coming, thanks to satellites etc. is a fantastic improvement. In the short term they're not really 'forecasts' any more because you can quite literally see it. When I started climbing, the aneroid barometer reigned supreme, and in an Alpine hut, woe betide any fool who tapped the glass before the chief guide had done so.

Scott_vzr on 11 Feb 2013
Paul035 - on 11 Feb 2013
This thread is surely mostly just idle speculation, other than those who have tried to point out that stats suggest accident levels may not be on the rise. Mobile phones/ technology, groups of too many people, carrying poles not ice axes, not carrying long enough axes..!!

Is there any evidence of a number of accidents being attributable to any of these factors???

Scott_vzr on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul035: Have you read the link I posted ?
Paul035 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Scott_vzr:

That's spot on, thanks for the link. Interstingly, it says in the introduction:

"In numerous cases, a variety of reasons are given, making it difficult to pinpoint cause and effect. However, one clear conclusion is that very few incidents are the result of wilful negligence, lack of skill or awareness or poor equipment. The great majority appear to be genuine accidents where it would be wrong to cite a specific cause. They result quite simply because mountaineering is a risk activity and it is impossible (and
undesirable) to eliminate all risks."
Paul035 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul035:

I hadn't seen your post whilst I was replying.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I didn't answer your earlier point about walking poles now (terrifyingly) being seen as some kind of standard replacement for ice axes on so-called easy ground. When I started climbing, how you used the ice axe as a brake in an emergency was a huge subject, widely taught. Now, it's virtually gone. Now, if you slip on any hard icy slope of more than about 10 degrees with just a walking pole, you're a gonna.
In reply to Scott_vzr: Quite old data - it's interesting stuff but gps and phones were only starting to become more common then.
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I'm not sure I'm convinced by the poles thing though, I used them in Scotland 20 years ago and I worked in shop in Glasgow where we sold plenty of them.

> Now, if you slip on any hard icy slope of more than about 10 degrees with just a walking pole, you're a gonna.

Well, you're "gonna" go to the bottom of the slope perhaps, but its hardly a guaranteed demise!
KellyKettle - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Dave Hewitt)
>
> I didn't answer your earlier point about walking poles now (terrifyingly) being seen as some kind of standard replacement for ice axes on so-called easy ground. When I started climbing, how you used the ice axe as a brake in an emergency was a huge subject, widely taught. Now, it's virtually gone. Now, if you slip on any hard icy slope of more than about 10 degrees with just a walking pole, you're a gonna.

Whats your opinion on the combined pole/walking axe design that grivel sells (the condor?), it seems like a well intentioned idea, but i can't help thinking that it would be unweildy to employ in either situation... and I wouldn't want it to be unweildy to deploy my axe for an arrest, not when the most likely way I'd muck it up is digging the wrong end in!
Wainers44 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul035: However the summary does cite some of the issues speculated upon in this thread as being significant factors in accidents (havent had chance to read the whole thing). The poles v axes question is considered well, and lack of navigational skills is the biggest single factor.

...so everyone admit defeat, bung away the map and buy the GPS...
Simon4 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul035:
> This thread is surely mostly just idle speculation, other than those who have tried to point out that stats suggest accident levels may not be on the rise.

The relevant figure, as in all accident rates, is in any case relative to the levels of participation, the accidents per mountain mile as it were, not absolute numbers. That is of course also needed to be broken down by the time of year when people go out.

> Mobile phones/ technology, groups of too many people, carrying poles not ice axes, not carrying long enough axes..!!
>
> Is there any evidence of a number of accidents being attributable to any of these factors???

No, these just sound like possible options to put it kindly or pet hates to be more cynical.

Simon4 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to KellyKettle:

> the condor?, it seems like a well intentioned idea, but i can't help thinking that it would be unweildy to employ in either situation

Yes, looks like one of those compromises that does everything badly.
AdrianC - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul035:
> (In reply to Scott_vzr)
>
> That's spot on, thanks for the link. Interstingly, it says in the introduction:
>
> "In numerous cases, a variety of reasons are given, making it difficult to pinpoint cause and effect. However, one clear conclusion is that very few incidents are the result of wilful negligence, lack of skill or awareness or poor equipment. The great majority appear to be genuine accidents where it would be wrong to cite a specific cause. They result quite simply because mountaineering is a risk activity and it is impossible (and
> undesirable) to eliminate all risks."

That's an extraordinary quotation. Where on Earth is the logic in that? And with that view of accidents how can we possibly work to reduce them? "A genuine accident" - what is meant by that?

It might indeed be wrong to cite a specific cause - many accidents have multiple reasons - but to say that they simply happen because "mountaineering is a risk activity" is missing the whole point of analysing accidents.

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Paul035 - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to AdrianC:

Yes I was a bit surprised; I wondered if what was meant that there was no obvious pattern to the accidents and it was a variety of factors involved.
AdrianC - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul035: A bit surprised? I'm still reeling from the shock! Am just reading through some more of it, hoping to find better insights.
Henry Iddon - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:

From the accidents I've looked at there are often several minor errors or oversites that combine to create one major 'issue'.

As I said earlier improved weather forecasting is a major advantage to the modern mountaineer.
Scott_vzr on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Paul035)
> [...]
>
> The relevant figure, as in all accident rates, is in any case relative to the levels of participation, the accidents per mountain mile as it were, not absolute numbers. That is of course also needed to be broken down by the time of year when people go out.
>
> [...]

So how is the Rates for numbers attempting Everest versus accidents ?
mac fae stirling - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Dave Hewitt)
>
> ''I didn't answer your earlier point about walking poles now (terrifyingly) being seen as some kind of standard replacement for ice axes on so-called easy ground''.

Sorry but this is just one more example of evidence-free assertion in a thread which is just littered with it.

Mark Westerman - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to mac fae stirling:

good timing
n.LiVE - on 11 Feb 2013
I cant speak for climbing incidents, but certainly for winter walking I see ill-equipped folk all the time. Or lack of experience when the weather kicks in and getting lost because they are unable to use a map/compass, if they even carry one at all. This is especially true in the cairngorms as up on the plataeu its completely desolate and barren, like arctic tundra, and I think people mis-underestimate how dangerous it can become, very quickly.
mac fae stirling - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to n.LiVE: out on the hills this past 25 yrs i have mostly [overwhelmingly] seen well equipped sensible people out having fun and coming to no harm whatsoever.
Cuthbert on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Dave Hewitt)
>
> At the risk of huge generalisation, I do think that inexperienced hillwalkers are probably a little less cautious than they used to be because of hugely improved clothing, satellite navigation and, dare I say it?, mobile phones. A bit too much reliance on modern technology, and a bit too little respect for the elements, perhaps.

Spot on I think Gordon. There is also a view, I think, that climbers have that because they are climbers etc, they already possess the core mountaineering skills required to travel in the winter hills. This clearly isn't the case in many instances I have seen.

A new thing also is the desire to be see to be slick and competent which often manifests itself as a glossing over of some things and a fear of seen to be a learner.

We are all learners. Many MICs have much less experience as mountaineers than many walkers do. Vice versa.

It's what happens either side of the climb itself (in winter) that is often the most dangerous and intangible.

Experience can't be taught.
In reply to pwb1981:

Massively more people (inexperienced) on the hills in recent year, coinciding with a series of 'challenging' winters, with rapidly changing and unpredictable conditions?


Chris
mac fae stirling - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
>
> A new thing also is the desire to be see to be slick and competent which often manifests itself as a glossing over of some things and a fear of seen to be a learner.

What evidence do you have for this 'new thing'?
>
> We are all learners. Many MICs have much less experience as mountaineers than many walkers do. Vice versa.

What evidence do you have for this?

Experience can't be taught.

Eh? yes it can - Experienced Mountaineer: "Based on my long experience i would always try to avoid a gully after heavy snowfall"
Inexperienced Mountaineer; "Really. Well in the future I will certainly do that also".
There you go.

mac fae stirling - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
according to a moving comment on another thread, the person that died in the cairngorms recently was someone of long experience in the hills.
Cuthbert on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mac fae stirling:

My personal experience my dear chap out on the hill, so much more important than stats.

Secondly, I know a lot of mountaineers and it's clear to me that MIC, or any other ticket, is not evidence of massive experience. Often they are, but often there are other recreational mountaineers who know a lot more.

Thirdly, no, experience can't be taught, it can only be acquired. Your sentence is just a demonstration of poor communication, not that experience can be learned.

In reply to mac fae stirling:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
> according to a moving comment on another thread, the person that died in the cairngorms recently was someone of long experience in the hills.

I wasn't referring to specifics, more the possibility of general trends. Wasn't the recent incident during another period of unstable weather?


Chris
Dave Hewitt - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981:

It’s inevitable that there’s a lack of hard evidence for a lot of this given that much of it concerns near-miss / lucky escape incidents – where the walkers get home to their beds OK after a worrying episode en route or where everything has gone smoothly but they’ve still arguably been underequipped. The rescue teams don’t get involved – the people extract themselves under their own steam or with the help of other walkers – so there’s no official logging of it.

The walk forums do provide some firm evidence, though – eg this is a good example from just a few days ago – the guy got up and down in one piece but was by his own admission underequipped: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=28826
There are quite a few accounts along those lines each winter.

There was also lengthy walking-forum discussion in January of an incident on the Easains – which did involve mountain rescue, who talked two blokes down using mobiles and text, and which had a fairly clear out-of-their-depth feel to it. And in terms of the genuine tragedies, I know that one incident this winter involved a fatal fall from hard snow by a person wearing Grivel Spiders rather than crampons and whose axe was found in his car.

I’m not for a minute saying that such things didn’t used to happen, and I’m not sure whether they are in fact on the increase (although my gut feeling is that they are), but clearly both schools of thought – that there is more happening versus there being no real problem – are always going lack hard evidence to an extent, given that a lot comes down to who one does or doesn’t happen to encounter in one’s own hill wanderings. But I don’t think it’s true to say these are “evidence-free assertions” – you just need to look at the various rescue and hill report sites to find quite a bit of it. Here’s another such incident, from yesterday, which did involve the MRT and ended happily: http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2013/02/12/walkers-rescued-after-getting-stuck-on-icy-lake-district...
n.LiVE - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to mac fae stirling:
> (In reply to n.LiVE) out on the hills this past 25 yrs i have mostly [overwhelmingly] seen well equipped sensible people out having fun and coming to no harm whatsoever.

For the majority yes so have I, but in the 17 years I have seen a fair few ill-eqipped. For example on the cullin ridge a few years back I saw tourists near the summit of Sgurr Alasdair wearing trainers. Not surprisingly enough when we made our decent and were near Glenbrittle we saw the rescue helicopter heading for the corrie.

Perhaps not related, but a good chance.
SimonCRMC - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to n.LiVE:

A few years ago I was followed up the Great Stone Shoot to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair by a guy in trainers who then asked me what peak he was on! When I suggested that his general level of knowledge might make soloing in the mountains a little risky, his reply was, "I saw you going up and I thought it was safe!"
In reply to n.LiVE:

> For the majority yes so have I, but in the 17 years I have seen a fair few ill-eqipped. For example on the cullin ridge a few years back I saw tourists near the summit of Sgurr Alasdair wearing trainers.

I thought trainers (well approach shoes or fell shoes) were de-rigueur for swift ridge traverses these days?
n.LiVE - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to n.LiVE)

> I thought trainers (well approach shoes or fell shoes) were de-rigueur for swift ridge traverses these days?

Perhaps not a pair of white indoor sports trainers :)

I couldnt imagine going up the Great Stone Shoot in trainers!
Henry Iddon - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to n.LiVE:

It is surprising how often you see very lightly equiped fell runners out in winter/rough weather. One ankle twist away from hypothermia ? Or does experience preclude them from the cold?
Goucho on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Henry Iddon: I remember once getting a very stern lecture coming down the bottom of the Pony track off the Ben one winter, on a beautiful cloudless late afternoon day, by a group of erstwhile bearded, super-gaitered, duvet and balaclava clad walkers, for my inappropriate attire.

I was wearing a battered old fleece held together with holes, a pair of equally ripped and battered Helly Hanson polar pants, and sandals!

As their lecture and concerns were all in good intent, I didn't have the heart to tell them I'd spent the day soloing Hadrian's Wall, & Zero, and that inside my sac was enough gear to tackle a major alpine route - including my boots, which I often used to remove on long boring path descents when the weather was good, in favour of a pair of sandals.
Henry Iddon - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Goucho:

Good style.
Only a hill - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to n.LiVE:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Perhaps not a pair of white indoor sports trainers :)
>
> I couldnt imagine going up the Great Stone Shoot in trainers!

I've done it--wasn't any more or less uncomfortable than other scree routes in trainers (5.10 Guides to be precise), and it made the Coire Lagan round a lot easier...
Mark Reeves - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to pwb1981: There was a report years ago by a Scottish Sherriff, I think equivalent to our coroner. It was as a result of the cairngorm disaster in 1972. I it he said words to the effect that as long as people continue to venture into the mountains in winter fatalities will occur.

I think if you search Scottish MR statisitcs there is a reasonably good PDF or something similar on the type and number of incidents. Not sure how far back it goes but the Ogwen team has a great graph that shows the rise in callouts for minor injuries in the 1990s as mobile phone proliferated. Although fatalities and serious accidents have stayed about the same over time by there records.

http://www.ogwen-rescue.org.uk/incidents/graphs.php

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