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Date of Incident

14/03/2020

Country

Scotland

Route

Incident

Participant was ascending mixed terrain of soft snow with patches of consolidated ice/snow, using walking poles. Crampons + axe were being carried, but not being used at time of incident. Participant slipped on an icy section - leading to need to do a "walking pole arrest", sliding about 20 metres. Participant's walking partner was approx. 100 metres further up the hillside carrying an axe, but not wearing crampons

Lessons

Participant should not have put as much trust into walking poles - they are clearly not a substitute for an axe, and using either crampons or an axe in this terrain would have almost certainly prevented the slide from being as far. As soon as there are any sections where you are unable to kick steps should be a sign you should use winter gear.

However, participant also didn't want to slow down their walking partner (both having similar experience, but partner being more physically fit, hence being further up the hillside). Both fell into specific heuristic traps: the participant of not wanting to annoy their partner by "being slow"; the partner of not offering the participant proper rests, by stopping to allow the participant to catch up but then immediately walking off again.

Activity

Winter walking

When

Ascending

Injury

Minor injury

Causes

Slip, trip or fall

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Participant

Wearing Helmets?

Rescue Services Involved?

Author

2 May 2021, 07:13:59

For more advice and guidance on good practices visit BMC skills

All reports are self-submitted and have not been edited by the BMC in any way, so please keep an open mind regarding the lessons and causes of each incident or near-miss.