Are these activities risky?
Studies done by the Swiss on annual risk of death in mountain sports compared to annual risk of death in road transport in Switzerland came up with the following conclusions:
- High Mountain Sports ≈ 2 × the risk of death in road transport
- Rock Climbing ≈ risk of death in road transport
- Ski Touring ≈ risk of death in road transport
- Mountain Hiking ≈ 5 × less risk of death compared to road transport
(Extract from ‘Sports de montagne d’hiver’ © 2005 Edition du CAS)
A professionally qualified Mountain Guide will try to keep the risks down to what our guides associations consider to be socially acceptable risk levels. We carefully consider the conditions, terrain, group capabilities and aptitudes. We work to reduce the consequences of an accident (e.g. Avalanche transceivers) and build redundancy into our systems (e.g. 2 points on a rock climbing belay)
However, this does not eliminate the risk! Like driving your car, there are residual risks even if your car is serviced, you drive within the laws and take due care, you can still have a mortal accident.
The mountains are not a controlled environment, there are objective dangers. i.e. Seracs, Avalanches, Rock Fall and more.
Anyone considering participation in these activities must understand that these are adventure sports with real risks. You must take responsibility for your own participation.