Why do people have accidents in the hills?

By Glenmore Lodge

New survey aims to prevent incidents and save lives in the mountains.

new survey has been created by Mountaineering Scotland – supported by partners in the Mountain Safety Group* – with the aim of helping all organisations interested in safety in the hills and mountains gain better insight into the causes of accidents. These organisations can then support individuals to make better decisions, helping them to enjoy their adventures and return home safely.  In turn, this will help to save lives, and reduce pressure on Mountain Rescue Teams across the UK and Ireland.

The survey aims to find out more about the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘why’ of mountain incidents, with anyone who has had an accident in the UK, or who has helped someone else in the mountains after they have had an accident, being encouraged to submit their experiences. This survey is open to anyone living in the UK and Ireland, for accidents that have taken place across Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.

Ross Cadie, Senior Mountain Safety Advisor at Mountaineering Scotland, said: “Getting a better insight into the drivers behind mountain accidents will be a game changer. Being able to recognise and then understand any patterns of behaviour will help us tailor our safety messaging and deliver better courses that will help to prevent accidents and save lives in the mountains.”

While Mountain Rescue Teams and the Police collect information about the number and nature of rescues they attend, this only tells us what happened after the incident took place, not what caused it, or what the individual might have learned from it.

Dan Middleton, Climbing Development Manager at the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), added: “This survey is a great opportunity for the community to share their experiences and thereby help us all to learn from them, and as a result have safer adventures in our wonderful mountains.”

By telling their stories, individuals can help organisations interested in training and educating those who spend time in the mountains, as well as the rescue teams that go out to help those in need.

Inspector Matt Smith, Police Scotland lead for Mountain Rescue explained: “Preventative work to reduce accidents is a priority for us. Learning exactly why they take place will help us focus our work to reduce demand on volunteer mountain rescue teams and ultimately, help keep people safe.”

*The Mountain Safety Group Police Scotland; British Mountaineering Council (BMC); Ramblers Scotland; Snow Sports Scotland; Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI); British Mountain Guides (BMG); Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR); Scottish Cycling; Scottish Athletics and Scottish Hill Runners; Met Office; Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS); National Outdoor Training Centre Glenmore Lodge; Mountain Training; Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS)

Mountaineering Scotland Press Release – Monday 27th November