I started a project when my great friend Blyth Wright died a few years ago. This report was to commemorate Blyth as he was one of the key players in the wonderful Avalanche reporting Service we have nowadays and fought long and hard to get funding for this now essential service. I went through 30 years Mountain Rescue incidents of 7894 in total. It was a labour of love and very hard work which took several years. I was helped by Doctor Bob Sharp and together we completed a report which is on the Scottish Mountain Rescue Website. Few have looked at it and I know we have lots to add to it but now after the tragedies of recent days it may give at least the figures of actual avalanches that Mountain Rescue Teams were involved in over a 30 year period.
I must state that this is only the avalanches that were reported through Mountain Rescue Teams as actual incidents. This does not include the various other incidents where people walk away from and self rescue or the avalanches that occur daily in the winter and are reported by the SAIS.
The full report is on the Mountain Rescue Website http://www.mountainrescuescotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Avalanche-Study-1980-2009.pdf
This report is based on the analysis of all Scottish mountaineering (avalanche) incidents that occurred in the 30 year period 1980 – 2009. The incidents examined are those serious enough to require use of the mountain rescue services. All were reported to and subsequently recorded by the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland (MRC of S). All the information used has been taken from the official reports produced by the MRC of S and published either in the Scottish Mountaineering Journal or on the MRC of S website. It is likely that many avalanche incidents take place across Scotland but go unrecorded. In these cases, people who are caught escape with no injury or with minor injuries that don’t require mobilisation of the emergency services. Therefore, the incidents that are examined in this report probably underestimate the overall number that take place, but they reflect accurately those that are severe enough to require help from the mountain
rescue service and other agencies.
Scope of the problem
Table 1 presents basic information about avalanche incidents over the 30 year period.
This is just a snap shot of the report and is worth a read. I plan to work with Mark Diggins of the Scottish Avalanche service if we can get the time and the funding t0 put together both sets of Stats to give a unique insight into Avalanches in Scotland.
Lecture in Grantown On Spey on Sunday 17 Feb night at the Grant Hotel starts at 1830 for Scarborough MRT – Open to the public. Proceeds to Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.