Climbing a mountain is a challenge and an adventure. That’s why people do it. But along with every adventure there comes risk. And when you’re climbing mountains, there are a lot of risks. When I’ve taken groups on mountain summits and treks, sometimes we encounter solo climbers. I am always flabbergasted when this happens as I cannot imagine why someone would put their life on the line like that. It’s not something I advise and here’s why…
No mountain is safe
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. Climbing a mountain is dangerous. There have been an average of 4 deaths a year on Mount Everest since 1921, increasing to 6 a year since 2000. Every year, approximately 1,000 people are evacuated from Mount Kilimanjaro, and approximately 10 deaths are reported and the Mount Blanc area suffers 50-60 deaths every year.
All mountains are unpredictable, and negligence can have irreversible consequences.
This is one of the greatest risks you will face during any mountain climb. But climbing with a professional guide will reduce the risks. All PJS Challenges guides are highly experienced in detecting, then preventing, and finally treating altitude sickness to keep you safe. They will perform regular health checks to monitor oxygen saturation and can determine whether you have altitude sickness symptoms and their severity.
If the worst happens and you need to descend, our guides will ensure a safe evacuation before it’s too late.
Always respect the weather
The suns out and you’re ready to hit the mountains. Not a cloud in the sky – what can go wrong? Unfortunately, a lot and very quickly. Your easy sunny climb can turn into a freezing cold nightmare without warning
It’s impossible for an amateur climber to have any idea what the future weather holds. You can check the forecasts, chat to other climbers for their opinion and get false security that the weather will hold for the duration of your climb.
Mountains create their own weather, bad weather can strike when you weren’t expecting it, contrary to the original forecast and suddenly, you’re snow blind, unable to move your fingers or toes and wondering how to get help.
No mountain comes with a guarantee of good weather and the only way to predict it with some confidence is to rely on a professional guide. They have the experience to know whether to hold back a day or get going now. Minimize the risk and don’t take chances.
Altitude sickness is a real risk, but the symptoms can often be caused by dehydration. Headaches, nausea, confusion and more are often related to lack of water, so carry your own water bottle and don’t rely on other people to have spare water for you.
Again, our professional guides are well aware of this issue and will nag, nag, and nag some more to make sure you drink enough to stay well hydrated.
Where’s my crampon?
How much oxygen do you need to summit Mont Aconcagua? What happens if you lose a crampon? Is that an insect bite or is my finger infected? Is that an avalanche??
So many questions. You can’t ‘Google It’ when you’re 5,000 meters above sea level. You will need professional advice. Hopefully you will be climbing with PJS Challenges whose guides will reassure you that your finger’s not falling off (yet), it’s not an avalanche (yet) and will help you find your lost crampon.
How well do you know yourself?
We all like to think we know ourselves well, but the truth is that mountain-climbing and lack of oxygen can have strange effects on our feelings and emotions, no matter how well we think we know how we react to situations.
Climbing higher means a lack of oxygen and this can often lead to depression and irritableness during the day. Conversely, returning down the mountain floods your brain with oxygen causing a feeling of euphoria and in dire cases, psychosis.
How will you react? Even in our daily lives, it’s impossible to know if you’re depressed, and we need other people to recognize it for us. Our guides will monitor your moods, checking your reactions constantly in a way you couldn’t do were you climbing solo.
It’s better to fail than die
Sorry to end on a morbid note, but this is something I feel very strongly about. We all want to summit the mountain. After all that’s why we started this crazy adventure in the beginning. But is it worth dying for? Many Everest climbers have turned around before the summit as they knew the situation was too dangerous.
Sometimes, the more inexperienced climbers end up summitting on their first attempt, completely unaware of the risks they may have been taking. They were lucky. You may get away with it once, but long-term climbers know better.
Don’t take risks. Always climb with a company that provides experienced and professional guides.
Choose PJS CHALLENGES to arrange your next AMAZING ADVENTURE!