EUMC Safety Policy

Mountaineering can never be a totally safe sport, but with the right equipment, good advice and common sense, the risk of accidents can be greatly reduced. In the past few years there have been a number of accidents on club trips, many of which could have been prevented. Getting lost, benighted, exposure and hypothermia are the major risks. Often one may lead to another so always take spare clothes and food. Be prepared for a bivouac. Come along to the navigation workshop (in the autumn term).

Winter in Scotland adds more dangers. A simple slip on snow can quickly become a serious fall. Always carry an ice axe and crampons, and practise using them under controlled conditions. Avalanches do happen. Learn what you can do and ask for advice.

Climbing adds many more potential risks and we cannot hope to offer comprehensive advice on avoiding them all. Compared to the peak or Wales, the cliffs in Scotland are big and remote, and many of the routes are not climbed too often. Route finding may be a problem. Often there will be loose or suspect rock or poor ice. Make sure your belays are good and back them up properly.

Every time you go out in the hills, you must take personal responsibility for your own safety. As part of this, it is essential that you fill in a route card before you head off for the day, stating who is in your party, where you are going and an estimated time of return. This should be handed back to the meet leader and is an invaluable source of information should anything go wrong. You must never rely on other people but at the same time you must look out for your friends. If you have any doubts, ask for advice or help, or turn back. A bruised ego is better than a broken body.

Finally don't be put off by all this. Mountaineering is meant to be fun. With a little care you should enjoy many fine trips to the hills.