I often get people around me who can’t even imagine why one person would want to climb.
One of the reasons I get is that : “It’s too dangerous! Why would you want to climb?”
The short answer is : Yes, but not as dangerous as you probably think.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), you are far more likely to be injured playing sports like football and cricket than hill walking or rock climbing.
Did you also know that 35 people are killed on Britain’s roads every week? That’s 1,820 people every year. That driving, it’s a terribly dangerous pursuit, you read about people getting killed doing it in the newspaper all the time… well, you have to look quite hard, actually.
Climbers and mountaineers aren’t mad. In fact they are often very careful, because they realise that what they’re doing could lead to their death if they don’t pay attention. In that sense, yes, climbing is dangerous; but so is driving at 95mph in the fast lane of the M1. The difference is that you don’t see rock climbers cradling a mobile phone to their shoulder as they climb.
The reason why you may think you read about climbers – actually, it’s usually mountaineers or walkers – being killed (more usually, injured) is that the events happen in unusual places, such as remote mountains (where extreme measures are needed to recover the victim) or moors. An old lady with a broken leg is not news if she falls over in a chip shop; it is if she falls over on the path on Snowdon. This is just how modern journalism works.
Only a very small number of climbers (and it’s usually mountaineers, as opposed to people rock climbing on Britain’s crags) die every year following their pursuit. The rest are alive and would like it to stay that way, thank you. As the saying goes, you’re more likely to die driving to and from the crag.
There’s no doubt that mountains and cliffs are inherently dangerous places; the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) acknowledges this in its participation statement:
“The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”
The danger you take will depend on how you approach this activity. If you follow basic guidelines of safety the risks of injury will be very low.