/ How do we make the mountains safer?

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NeilMac - on 13 Nov 2013
...will be a subject of discussion on John Beattie's show on Radio Scotland from 12:00 today.

Will there be anything new or will it just be the usual calls to "close the mountains" and for all hill-goers to have insurance?
davidbeynon - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:

I think we all know the answer. There will also be ill informed rants about MRTs costing taxpayers money.
victorclimber - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: I don't like to be the old" Back in my day" git but if you think the mountains aren't safe now you should have seen them without Goretex Thinsulate ,Down, Plastic boots etc ,cutting steps on the Ben and no headtorches ,you get my drift .Its a pretty pointless discussion ..
Jim C - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to victorclimber:
> (In reply to NeilMac) I don't like to be the old" Back in my day" git but if you think the mountains aren't safe now you should have seen them without Goretex Thinsulate ,Down, Plastic boots etc ,cutting steps on the Ben and no headtorches ,you get my drift .Its a pretty pointless discussion ..

Maybe the thread should read:-
How do we make the mountains EVEN safer?



davidbeynon - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim C:

Well, at least we know that insurance would make no difference one way or the other.
chris_s - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim C:

Or: How do we make the people who enjoy the mountains more aware of their safety without being completely stupid about it and accepting that (1) risk cannot be eliminated and (2) taking risks is not inherently bad.

That would be a good start for a radio debate on mountain safety anyway...
ccmm on 13 Nov 2013 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to NeilMac: Hope they get Dorothy-Grace back on again. My piss is in need of a wee heat.
lost1977 - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac

handrails would be a start
Red Rover - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: Shame this has started already. It was pretty stupid when a climbing ban was discussed, anyone who thinks it could be enforced has clearly never been to Scotland.
chris_s - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:

On now. It's Heather Morning.
jon on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover:
> (In reply to NeilMac) Shame this has started already. It was pretty stupid when a climbing ban was discussed, anyone who thinks it could be enforced has clearly never been to Scotland.

Even way back in Victorian times...

"Whymper faced much criticism for pursuing such a dangerous pastime; indeed Queen Victoria suggested to Gladstone that mountaineering ought to be outlawed."

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/edward-whymper-blue-plaque
NeilMac - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Craig Mc:

They're talking to Heather Morning so some sensible advice.
Oliiver - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: Safety bannisters around mountain edges
nniff - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:

Well, we could ban quarrying for a start.




I'll get my coat
Rich_cakeboy - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Oliiver:
Tensabarriers to form an orderly queue at the bottom of Catbells?
Oliiver - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: The perfect solution. What about a "one in one out" policy
llechwedd - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to chris_s:
> (In reply to Jim C)
>
> Or: How do we make the people who enjoy the mountains more aware of their safety without being completely stupid about it and accepting that (1) risk cannot be eliminated and (2) taking risks is not inherently bad.
>


Making people more aware? How do you develop awareness?
We live in an age of information overload. Each 'pearl of wisdom' competing with another for our attention.
Cover the world in dayglo 'danger' warnings and then see how salient each individual message then becomes.
Look at the world of Health Education in the developed world. Millions of pounds of taxpayers money spent on advising people of the benefits of avoiding smoking/diabetes/obesity. We should be the fittest nation on the planet- But I don't think it's analysis paralysis that's preventing the more considered approach to living.
Yet better informed must be the way to go, surely?

Here's a conundrum; SAIS- develped for highly laudible reasons. Allows us to make an informed decision-or does it?
As the information is derived from modelling, the assumption may be that the risk is X for me, on this route at this time. Same with Met Office etc etc.
'Ah,yes..I can see where you're going with that one- It's there if you want it, and the modelling needs to be developed, be more sophisticated.' But it's still not giving you what's there in front of you.
Do services such as SAIS give the impression for some (maybe all, in a more subtle way?) of a ever more knowable, risk understood, day out?
Fair enough if in a led group where a cautious approach is desirable for fear of litigation. When I'm in my 70's II may glad to consult the webcam on the summit of Snowdon. In the meantime I'd prefer not to know until I get there.

Perhaps it's only a matter of time before a combination of smartphone and GoPro provide constantly updated wind/ precipiation/ temperature and visibility data for the route ahead. Linked to a database of your previous performances, it is able to text you when you're at risk of falling over or when you should turn round.
Until we reach that day should the interested parties in the mountain safety lobby be geared up to provide courses for hillgoers on scientific method, on the analysis and interptretation of data so that there's no assumption that everyone's read the 'small print' and understands the caveats inherent in more information to make us more aware?

The winning combination of cyber info and its' application after rigorous scientific analysis should make for a soul-less day out.


malky_c - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd:
> (In reply to chris_s)
>Linked to a database of your previous performances, it is able to text you when you're at risk of falling over or when you should turn round.
>

Text? Beamed straight to your google glasses surely! In fact you could probably simulate the whole thing so there is no need to go outside in the first place.
llechwedd - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to malky_c:
> (In reply to llechwedd)
>
> Text? Beamed straight to your google glasses surely! In fact you could probably simulate the whole thing so there is no need to go outside in the first place.

Precisely!
chris_s - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd:

How do you develop awareness?

Through experience, climbing with lots of different folk, listening, reading, thinking, some formal training. That's how I developed/continue to develop mine.

I think you've inferred quite a bit from my statement, but I agree that the amount of information available now - particularly to say winter mountaineers - has reached levels where it can easily cloud personal judgement on the ground.
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Dave Kerr - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to chris_s:
> (In reply to llechwedd)
>> I agree that the amount of information available now - particularly to say winter mountaineers - has reached levels where it can easily cloud personal judgement on the ground.

Thats faulty judgement and not attributable to the provision of information.

An example might be people going on a slope because SAIS suggested that aspect was low risk and finding it to be high risk.

The solution there is not to reduce the info but to educate the user in how to use that info.

Lets skill up not dumb down.

MischaHY - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: I am coming closer and closer to the opinion that a massive sector of society is incredibly closeted and foolish when it comes to factors such as risk taking. There is a reason we take risks, and that is because we need to do so. Risk is what grounds us, and what stops us from becoming completely separate from nature and therefore reality. We cannot control the environment, no matter how hard we try, and in a world where everything is carefully doctored and controlled before we even make contact with it, that is an absolute blessing.
Jim Fraser - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:
> (In reply to Craig Mc)
>
> They're talking to Heather Morning so some sensible advice.


Heather is always sensible. ;-)

chris_s - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

>
> Thats faulty judgement and not attributable to the provision of information.

Agreed - information and knowing what to do with it are two separate things. I'm not arguing for a reduction in the amount of information available!
llechwedd - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to chris_s:
> (In reply to llechwedd)
>
> How do you develop awareness?
>
> Through experience, climbing with lots of different folk, listening, reading, thinking, some formal training. That's how I developed/continue to develop mine.
>
Totally agree.
It's all out there. Yet I wonder if the awareness that I guess many of us develop through personal rather than formal means appears subsidiary to the 'record of attendance' type stuff when it comes to discussions of 'make safer'.
Because the former aspects are not as tangible, and are possessed by the individual, not the BMC or MCoS, I think the focus in rebuttal of the likes of Grace Elder is for the Bodies representing hillgoers to tend to address the matter in a corporate way- talking about improved access to formal training and safety lectures, utilising smartphone technology etc.
I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Maybe it's just the way it has to be?

> I think you've inferred quite a bit from my statement, but I agree that the amount of information available now - particularly to say winter mountaineers - has reached levels where it can easily cloud personal judgement on the ground.

It wasn't my intention to infer. I picked up your wording and used it to bridge to my offering and to develop the debate.

llechwedd - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd:

Information?

If you are of a pholosophical bent:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information

"..information only provides an answer to a posed question. Whether the answer provides knowledge depends on the informed person. So a generalized definition of the concept should be: "Information" = An answer to a specific question".
chris_s - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd:

Good points. Personally I think the whole debate would be improved if mountaineers and the media decided to not give a feck what Dorothy Grace Elder thought about anything :)
llechwedd - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to chris_s:
> (In reply to llechwedd)
>
> Good points. Personally I think the whole debate would be improved if mountaineers and the media decided to not give a feck what Dorothy Grace Elder thought about anything :)

But wouldn't it be good to feed her this as a documentary before the ranting season begins?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sotQoOngYno
Al Evans on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd: Mountains and mountain climbing were always inherently safe because they were so obviously dangerous, many other sports survive by this regime. The problem is that sport climbing and indoor walls make it look safe, which it clearly isn't, I think it's too late to have an answer to this in the world of rock climbing, but mountaineering is still inherently dangerous, and should remain so.
llechwedd - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Nicely put.
Withnail - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to MischaHY:
> (In reply to NeilMac) I am coming closer and closer to the opinion that a massive sector of society is incredibly closeted and foolish when it comes to factors such as risk taking. There is a reason we take risks, and that is because we need to do so. Risk is what grounds us, and what stops us from becoming completely separate from nature and therefore reality. We cannot control the environment, no matter how hard we try, and in a world where everything is carefully doctored and controlled before we even make contact with it, that is an absolute blessing.

For me, this post hits the nail on the napper-spot on.

Complete "safety" in life is also an illusion. I think a lot of us who work in health or medicine related fields probably recognize this. People do everything right and can still have their family's wiped out in a car accident or have a cerebral haemorrhage at 25. A bit morose but unfortunately its a reality for some people.

Life is for living, with a bit of balance....:)

Jon

Trevers - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to MischaHY:
> (In reply to NeilMac) I am coming closer and closer to the opinion that a massive sector of society is incredibly closeted and foolish when it comes to factors such as risk taking. There is a reason we take risks, and that is because we need to do so. Risk is what grounds us, and what stops us from becoming completely separate from nature and therefore reality. We cannot control the environment, no matter how hard we try, and in a world where everything is carefully doctored and controlled before we even make contact with it, that is an absolute blessing.

You're completely right. Safety and convenience are not the be all and end all.

Ironically, I often find it's the people who are so averse to risk that are completely oblivious to it. As a climber and road cyclist I guess you could say I accept risk and I sneer at health and safety, but I'm pretty clued in to what's going on around me. But there are so many risk averse people who you wouldn't put it past to accidentally step under a bus
ice.solo - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:

I make my mountains safer by using the bear grylls method: i only pretend to go there.
PeterM - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to ice.solo:

Concrete all the loose rocks and stones in place. That should help..and more bolts...
Orgsm on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:

By treating them with respect, not promoting them as a playground, and learning from those more experienced.
Jim Fraser - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Trevers:
> (In reply to MischaHY)
> [...]
>
> ... but I'm pretty clued in to what's going on around me ...


Situational Awareness. A key skill.
ice.solo - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to PeterM:

exactly. i always like a good cyclone mesh covering to protect me from the natural stuff, plus its easier to climb.
Joak - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> (In reply to Trevers)
> [...]
>
>
> Situational Awareness. A key skill.

Aye too true, from the cradle to the grave.
Dave Perry - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:


What a bizarre question. Making the mountains safer! Why? What for? I like them as they are - as nature intended.

And if that doesn't suit some people's competence, I couldn't give a toss.
iksander on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: Introduce predators to the national parks. Discouraging people from visiting the hills with a few well publicised maulings would see a significant improvement in accident rates.
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martinph78 on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac: We can't make mountains safer. We can, however, make people safer in the mountains.
johnmctighe - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:
We should make these mandatory:
http://www.hovding.com/en/
Perfect for all climbing occasions - even the Pub!


llechwedd - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to iksander:
> (In reply to NeilMac) Introduce predators to the national parks.

Arrant nonsense. This would have minimal effect.

Snow Sharks have not resulted in a long term drop in visitor numbers to National Parks, despite the scaremongering efforts of the US film industry. In fact, since the dawn of time 6017 years ago, the human race has shown itself capable of coexisting with the world's most powerful predators.
You can't argue with facts:
http://www.icr.org/men-dinosaurs/

Ann65 - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to MischaHY:

I agree with you, for at least the past 20 years this has been the case.

What we need is Anarchy; the state of a people without any constituted authority.

Since the 1960s the 'organisation' of mountaineering has been gathering pace. That has developed along with the vigorous commercialisation that now drives the activity, all of which brings control in one form or another.

Walter Bonatti's view was, “Perhaps never has such a massive moral decline been visible in mountaineering as in modern times. So watch out: there is too much ‘Go! Go! Go!’ about what has now become degraded to a consumer product. Let us not confuse adventure with spectacle, or with the hoopla that goes with it."
iksander on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to llechwedd: I got a mighty nip off a Choss Badger up some slimey gully in Mid Wales - never again!
llechwedd - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to iksander:

Choss Badger? Never heard of one- If it's GM then it doesn't count.
In reply to NeilMac:

Only way to make them safe is knock them down.

NMM
In reply to NeilMac:

Modern British society's attitude to risk really makes me cringe. It's anti-evolutionary, we wouldn't have evolved beyond 'cave men' (excuse the over simplification) if people hadn't got brave enough to take the risks of adventuring beyond the cave.

What next, how are we going to make the oceans safe? They're terrible things, you should see some of those waves!

NMM
Bruce Hooker - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to NeilMac:

> How do we make the mountains safer?

Why do we want to make the mountain safe would be a better question.
Al Evans on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Hear Hear, or is it Here Here?
NottsRich on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Northern Mountain Monkey:
> (In reply to NeilMac)
>
> Modern British society's attitude to risk really makes me cringe.

Couldn't agree more.
NJSharp - on 21 Nov 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

The following quote sums up mountaineering pretty well, I think:

“This kind of climbing is the simplest you can imagine. It is only that you must take everything into account, all the foreseeable – and the unforeseeable too, – otherwise you will not live long.”

- Reinhold Messner

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