Mountaineering is a risky activity. Even if a mountain is deemed harmless and safe or is visited by visitors of all ages, the chance of injury is never no there. So, what are the risks associated with mountaineering? The most dangerous aspect of mountaineering is a lack of awareness. Mountain climbing is fraught with environmental hazards. However, it is typically the hazards produced by human activities that lead to terrible outcomes.
This however isn’t to say you shouldn’t go mountain climbing or even avoid specific mountains after hearing about previous incidents. What you should do is be aware of such hazards and prepare yourself as much as possible.
For many, the condition that takes the group out of its ordinary and natural state is called danger. Basically, this state is sudden and is associated with damage. You can never predict the dangers of climbing. Of course, the human performance also affects the occurrence of these conditions, which cannot be planned in advance. Risk is generally a condition that arises due to weakness or lack of recognition in the control stages of the group. Sometimes the danger progresses to such an extent that it puts the group into an emergency or crisis. Therefore, one should know the danger properly and be fully prepared to deal with it. If you’re planning a mountaineering trip to Iran make sure to check out our Mount Damavand Tours for more information
What are the risks of mountaineering?
The Risks are divided into two general categories.
A) Natural risks (risks that have an environmental origin).
B) Artificial risks (risks that humans have a direct role in creating).
Let’s examine five of the most significant dangers of the mountains:
1_The Risk of Falling
The first and most important thing among climbing hazards and safety recommendations is the risk of people falling. Falling from a height of more than 1.5 meters can seriously injure you. Falling at a height of more than 6 meters is an existential threat.
Strong mental ability, navigation, and knowing your limits are important factors in preventing falls. Our recommendation for this item of climbing hazards and safety advice is to use a helmet that will reduce the risk of falling for you.
When climbing, you often find yourself in the “fall zones” (where you have no protection and a fall leads to death). In such situations, it is essential to check your safety equipment and ensure that it is working correctly before entering one of these fall zones.
Reading trail descriptions, listening to more experienced people, and practicing on easier terrain will allow you to spot hazards and see if you’re good enough to enter the drop or fall zones.
2_ Avalanche Risk
The second case of climbing dangers and safety recommendations is avalanches and being buried in snow. Sometimes giant snowballs are released from the mountains and flow down with a speed of about 160 km per hour, even up to 300 km. An avalanche can bury you alive in the snow and trap you until you suffocate.
There are two steps to avoid this type of climbing hazard: Correct planning (awareness of avalanche-prone mountains). And proper recovery (having the right tools and partners to pull you out if you get caught).
An avalanche is one of those uncontrollable hazards you can plan for, but there’s not much you can do to prevent it. Avalanches are often caused by factors that are entirely out of your control, So all you have to do is try to stay away from the avalanche terrain at all costs.
Of course, sometimes this is impossible, and you must enter through an avalanche path to climb. In these cases, even the best climbers in the world are unable to prevent this disaster.
3_Danger of Sudden Weather Change
The third of the climbing dangers and safety recommendations is the sudden change in weather. Storms can change your conditions, making your journey more difficult and potentially putting you at risk. Proper planning and preparation is the only way to avoid this risk.
Weather hazards are mostly related to getting caught in an unexpected storm while hiking. Reviewing the dangers of climbing and safety recommendations is a considerable risk, and there is nothing you can do here except for advance planning. Try to get an accurate idea of what the weather will be like on a particular day, and then pack your backpack for that weather.
Of course, if the weather looks bad, you should just stay home and recheck the weather another day.
4_ Altitude Sickness
The fourth of the climbing dangers and safety recommendations is the lack of oxygen caused by high altitudes. Altitude sickness can cause dizziness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, weakness, and a lack of ability to think. To accommodate this problem, climb mountains in small chunks and come back down at night so you can sleep at lower altitudes.
To cope with this problem, you can climb slowly and extend your itinerary a little. Also, you can carry oxygen canisters with you, although this is only necessary for emergencies.
If climbing isn’t an option for a few days, the only thing you can do is be aware of the threat of altitude sickness, constantly check your symptoms, and be prepared if you or any companions start to show symptoms. Be a retreat.
5_Danger of Falling Into a Gap
The fifth hazard of mountaineering dangers and safety recommendations is falling into the crevasses of natural glaciers, which can be thousands of meters deep.
Whenever you cross glaciers, you have to worry about crevasses. Generally, these cracks are in a small valley and may be less than 1 meter wide, in the heart of a mountain.
Cracks are often covered with a thin, fragile layer of snow that makes them invisible, and you think you are stepping on solid ground, but in fact, your foot is going through the layer of snow and finding yourself on the ground. You see a fall.
There are many horror stories from climbers about this. Learn glacier rappelling skills to avoid this model of climbing hazards.
Why should we know the dangers of the mountains?
Knowing the risk and its characteristics is necessary for maintaining balance and returning to normal conditions with correct decisions to reach the goal.
Situations that make mountaineering more dangerous
Frequent changes in status,
Existence of contradiction and conflict among the members,
Disruption of participation among team members,
Pursuing personal goals in the team,
Loss of clear goals and aims,
Complexity and uncertainty in the surrounding environment and team members,
The emergence of ambiguity and doubt.
On the other hand, recognizing the risk involved will result in benefits that include:
Correct understanding of the conditions governing the team,
Restoring peace to the team,
Unraveling blind spots,
Preparedness to face obstacles,
Achieving the desired goal and results,
Target substitution and prioritization in the program.
Dangers of Climbing in Winter
In winter, most climbing accidents happen to intermediate climbers. The amateur mountaineer usually does not involve himself in snow and cold and knows the time for climbing only in warm seasons. The professionals do not risk their safety; if it happens, they know how to deal with difficult mountain conditions.
In the cold seasons and winter climbing, keep the following points in mind to protect yourself from the cold:
Full attention to clothing layering: use layering. Do not forget to wear a base layer.
Carrying extra clothing: Carrying an extra layer like a down jacket (light or heavy depending on the conditions) can be a lifesaver in many cases.
Dry means hot: excessive coverage, use of cotton textiles, and use of non-breathable clothing will cause sweating and wet clothing.
Paying attention to the hands: Warm hands maintain body heat and the ability to work.
Weather Forecast: If you are climbing and feel the wind, you should conclude that the weather will be worse at higher altitudes, and the wind will be stronger. The result is to add more clothing before being exposed to the cold.
Head and neck: A large amount of heat leaves the body through the head and neck. Maintaining body heat is very important in winter climbing. So cover these areas well.
Drinking enough water: enough water in the form of warm water keeps the body cool and increases heat flow.
Proper nutrition: Put appropriate food and snacks in the most accessible places as backpacks cannot be used in all situations. Make sure to buy light and high-energy food for climbing.
To prepare for the dangers of the mountains, equip yourself and know the basics of rescue and first aid.
Always carry a first aid kit.
Place the finder – GPS – compass – mobile phone – flashlight in your backpack.
The best idea is to say what will probably happen “later”? And what happens after that?
At the time of the accident, get help from the rescue teams of the mountaineering team, the Red Crescent in the region, or the mountaineering federation.
The best decision is made based on the existing conditions.
Practice risk situations.
Know the knowledge of solutions and simulation.
At the time of danger, keep calm and invite others to calm down.
Do not use communication devices except when necessary so that it is possible to contact the support team for help.
Avoid tiring and fruitless activities and save your energy for when it may be needed.
Iran is filled with breathtaking mountains, to visit the most famous mountain of them all see our 6-Day Trekking Damavand South Route & Tochal Tour.
In conclusion, it should be said that mountaineering remains one of the most dangerous hobbies you can engage in due to all of these uncontrollable circumstances. The inability to control your environment, along with the sheer number of lethal forces you’ll face, makes it a tremendously tough achievement, which is partially why it is so rewarding. However, if you prepare yourself well, keep these safety tips in mind, and practice them step by step, gradually taking on more difficult climbs you will reduce the risk significantly.