/ How do we make the mountains safer?
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?
I think we all know the answer. There will also be ill informed rants about MRTs costing taxpayers money.
Maybe the thread should read:-
How do we make the mountains EVEN safer?
Well, at least we know that insurance would make no difference one way or the other.
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...
handrails would be a start
On now. It's Heather Morning.
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."
They're talking to Heather Morning so some sensible advice.
Well, we could ban quarrying for a start.
I'll get my coat
Tensabarriers to form an orderly queue at the bottom of Catbells?
> 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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
> They're talking to Heather Morning so some sensible advice.
Heather is always sensible. ;-)
> 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!
> 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.
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?
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.
If you are of a pholosophical bent:
"..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".
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 :)
> 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?
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....:)
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
I make my mountains safer by using the bear grylls method: i only pretend to go there.
Concrete all the loose rocks and stones in place. That should help..and more bolts...
By treating them with respect, not promoting them as a playground, and learning from those more experienced.
> ... but I'm pretty clued in to what's going on around me ...
Situational Awareness. A key skill.
exactly. i always like a good cyclone mesh covering to protect me from the natural stuff, plus its easier to climb.
> Situational Awareness. A key skill.
Aye too true, from the cradle to the grave.
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.
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:
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."
Choss Badger? Never heard of one- If it's GM then it doesn't count.
Only way to make them safe is knock them down.
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!
Why do we want to make the mountain safe would be a better question.
> Modern British society's attitude to risk really makes me cringe.
Couldn't agree more.
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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