Media Release: Rough Start To The Climbing Season Says Mountain Safety Council
Mountain Safety Council (MSC) CEO Mike Daisley said that MSC and the climbing community are deeply saddened and concerned by the recent mountaineering and climbing incidents, one of which was fatal.
“We’d like to express our condolences to the families and friends affected by these incidents” said, Daisley.
“It’s always tough to hear of incidents like this, and I suppose it’s a time of reflection and consideration for the alpine community who will be concerned at the numbers so early in the busy season”
With 33% of all fatalities occurring in December alone Mountain Safety Council research “There and Back” shows that December is a significant month for Mountaineering. However, Daisley is quick to point out that this correlates with the best time to go into the high mountains and is, unfortunately, not so surprising.
“Summer is a traditional time of year to go mountaineering, and that’s often something that a lot of non-climbers might not immediately realise” said, Daisley.
“There is a spike in participation at this time of year, and with increased participation you naturally see a rise in injuries, search and rescues and unfortunately, fatalities”
“The environment these groups are going into is beautiful and exhilarating, but it can be hostile and at times unforgiving. It can catch out experienced climbers just as readily as rookies”
“Working with our partners the MSC is trying to suppress injury, search & rescue and fatality in the outdoors and with regard to Mountaineering we know that there is a deep vein of safety and self-responsibility baked into the mountaineering community which is great to see”
“We urge those going out this year to double down on your safety measures and make sure you make it home for Christmas. For one family that is the reality this year and it’s heartbreaking to know that. Two other families narrowly avoided this, and without the professionalism of the rescue teams and ground crews these may have had a very different ending”
“We wish the climbers in hospital a speedy recovery”
Daisley is keen to make sure that mountaineering participants this year are aware that the risk is real and can happen to anyone.
“We’d just like to keep reminding this community to plan for an appropriate level of risk, which I appreciate is a tough and often fine line to walk.”
“It’s hard to be the voice of reason that suggests the group turn around because it’s getting dicey or the weather is coming in, but sometimes that’s the right call”
For more information on the research surrounding mountaineering head to the mountain safety council website (www.mountainsafety.org.nz) or head to Facebook for updates and commentary throughout the season.
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