SAFETY & RISKS

Winter climbing has inherant risks. NO activity is risk free, but with the right applications risks can be reduced to well within manageable margins.

In 12 years of international trips to some of the worlds most remote and dangerous places we have not had a significant incident, though we have responded to many incidents for others.

ice climbing japan china sichuan

ice climbing and big canyoning take place off the grid, requiring special risk management applications: lifting off for an alpine canyon rescue in Niigata

even though all the guides working with iceclimbingjapan have wilderness first aid/first responder training, rescue training, emergency responder experience and carry specialized winter emergency equipment, the first step to minimizing risk is informing clients of the potential and involving them in the safety process.

Cold related injuries

Examples: frost nip, frost bite, hypothermia.

Risk potential: low

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, training in and carrying appropriate first aid, access strategy for advanced medical care, appropriate nutrition, hydration and calorific intake.

 

Height

Examples: falls, strandings, vertigo

Risk potential: very low

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, organize trip within accessible limits, application of proper equipment and systems.

 

Equipment failure

Examples: anchor systems, ice tool picks, ropes, stoves

Risk potential: very low

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, constant updating, renewal and circulation of equipment, use of equipment in accordance with manufacturers’ instruction, proper instruction in equipment use, understanding of equipment expectations & limitations, application of appropriate safety precautions.

 

Topographical

Examples: avalanche, ice & rock fall, adverse weather (too warm, too cold, wind, snow)

Risk potential: medium to high

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, functional client-guide communication, realistic trip planning & contingency strategy, avoidance of potential areas, understanding of local weather & forecasts, realistic expectations.

 

Allergies

Examples: down, wool, preservatives, gluten

Risk potential: low

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, training in and carrying appropriate first aid, access strategy for advanced medical care, request allergy information prior to trip.

 

Simple injuries

Examples: blisters/cramps/minor wounds/sun burn

Risk potential: medium

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, training in and carrying appropriate first aid, access strategy for advanced medical care.

 

Complex injuries

Examples: trauma, dislocations, suspected spinal injuries, allergic reaction

Risk potential: very low

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, carrying and training appropriate first aid and survival equipment, strategy for advanced medical care access & evacuation.

 

Evacuation & rescue

Examples: unexpected adverse weather, complex injury

Risk potential: very low

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, detailed contingency strategy including base plans, alternate routes and access to communications, carrying and training in appropriate rescue & evacuation equipment, trip planning within limitations of group.

 

Client limitations

Examples: fatigue, muscle strain, strength, low confidence, misunderstanding

Risk potential: medium

Minimize & mitigate: inform and discuss hazard with clients, functional client-guide communication, trip planning within limitations of group, adequate relaxation, hydration and nutrition, understanding of client expectations, understanding of trip limitations.

 

This relates to winter climbing in Japan and China specifically. Expedition risk assessment requires many more specifics factor depending on the nature of the trip. Please enquire for a more specific assessment of your particular trip.