Survey on near misses and accidents in the mountains

Featured, Mountaineering, Safety, UIAA

Recently the UIAA announced its renewed commitment to studying accidents and incidents in the mountains through the creation of a dedicated Working Group to oversee the project.

This Working Group is supporting a study by the British Mountain Medicine Society called the ‘Lucky Jim Project’. It raises the question, what processes exist for reporting accidents, incidents and near misses in a mountain environment? The UIAA Working Group will be able to use the results of the study to support some of its immediate projects and indeed to shape its priorities.

The British Mountain Medicine Society study introduces the scenario of someone planning their next adventure in the mountains and to an area they are not familiar with. In such an instance, a resource of the most recent reports of accidents and near misses with some analysis on how those accidents could be prevented would be a precious tool.

Many countries around the world have databases for accidents and near misses, but there is wide variation in the data collected. These databases operate independently and are sometimes not publicly available (e.g. restricted to personnel within a mountain rescue organisation). There is also no international ‘collation’ or sharing of these incredible resources. In fact it is not even clear which countries have accident reporting databases.

The first step to collating international data on accidents and near misses, is to establish what already exists. That is the aim of the ‘Lucky Jim’ research project (named after Dr Jim Milledge, the ‘father of mountain medicine’ and a former UIAA Medical Commission member).

If you know about an accident/near miss reporting database/system in your country/region, please take five minutes to complete this questionnaire and contribute to the working being undertaken by the UIAA and organisations like the British Mountain Medicine Society to save lives in the mountains.

Complete the questionnaire here: