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A timely reminder

Just a quick safety reminder to all activators, with the particular message that even relatively low summits can be dangerous places. Yesterday, the body of a hillwalker was recovered from Leenaun Hill, EI/IW-025 after he failed to return from a hike on St. Patrick’s Day (Friday). Whatever, the circumstances of this tragedy, the basic facts are sobering: an experienced walker, man in his 50’s, walking alone. Let’s be careful out there.

John, EI3KA


Just to emphasize John’s post. On Saturday evening two women, one with a suspected broken leg, had to be rescued from Divis Mountain GI/AH-004 in very poor weather conditions.


I think it is safe to say that in general hill-walkers are indeed careful. Yes, we do get the occasional nasty incidents and tragedies reported in the news, but taken in the context of how many tens of thousands of hill walking outings pass off without incident we can see how rare these incidents really are. We should not be careless, but nor we should let reports of accidents deter us from enjoying the hills. According to the database there have been 212,591 activations over the life of SOTA, and very few incidents.

We all weigh up the risks when we venture onto the hills. This is meant a friendly reminder of the risks of complacency. You can take it or leave it.

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Snowdon - approx 360,000 walkers a year. Very large potion of these are NOT experienced hill goers.
Llanberis Mountain Rescue - 200 callouts in 2016. Less than half for people injured, the others are lost or a bit scared.

So a 1 in 3,600 chance of an injury call out.

In terms of death and serious injury (for serious I mean life threatening or life changing), this drops to less that 10 in a year. So a 1 in 36,000 chance of death or serious injury on Snowdon. Bear in mind the profile of people who climb Snowdon too… That’s pretty low. You have about a 1:25,000 chance of dying on the road in Britain each year (of course you spend much more time driving that you do climbing Snowdon), but we’re all pretty OK about taking that risk.

Learn to navigate, take sensible equipment you know how to use and if walking solo make plans so someone will soon miss you if you don’t return. Consider a locator beacon of some sort.

But, don’t have nightmares about it… you’re probably just as likely to die in the car on the drive to the hills. I’ll close on that cheery thought!

Absolutely - and it is a good reminder! I certainly don’t want to take anything away from it.

But I always remember the BBC “Crimewatch” programme, where the presenter always signed off with “Don’t have nightmares, sleep well”. With a little care, skill and experience the likely health benefits of a day in the hills far outweigh the possible chance of coming a serious cropper.

If you ever get to California, visit Yosemite, because it is beautiful. But also hike the Mist Trail because the other hikers will amaze you. On one hike, I saw a hiker in leather pants and another in lucite platform pumps. Also, lots of strollers. And when you get to the top, try not to think about the people swimming in the pool above the waterfall. Bodies are usually not recovered until the flow drops in the fall.

But if you do slip on slick granite and break your leg, like my friend did, YOSAR will be there for you. They are also amazing.


Can’t argue with that… (September 2002).

Snake Dyke 5.7, Half Dome

Half Dome summit

Amazing rescue team there - specialise in big wall rescues with heli long lines etc.