Mountain hazards are two types : Subjective and Objective.
Subjective hazards are those that directly depends on the climber’s action. Example – Technical fault/carelessness/over confidence.
Objective hazards are those that mountaineer/climber/trekker can not control. Example – Avalanch, Landslide, Snowfall , Rain.
Categorisation of objective hazards – 1. Snow 2. Weather 3. Rock 4. River crossing 5. Health 6. Glacier 7. Physiological.
- SNOW GROUP HAZARDS –
1. Avalanch ( will be discussed in future)
2. Soft snow
3. Hard snow
4. Hanging snow
5. Cornice ( Overhang of snow made by icy wind on the ridge line)
6. Snow bridge ( very brittle ) – need to be roped up and crawled over it so that body weight is distributed in four points rather than two.
7. Snow on tree
- WEATHER HAZARDS –
1. Storm – Snow storm with powder snow can be deadly, it can choke life out of living being as he/she cant breathe in it. Can reduce the temperature rapidly.
2. Temperature – Changes quickly, adequate and dry clothing required.
3. Cloud – Visibility depleted, accidents can occur , loss of direction can happen in white out.
4. Ultra-violate – Even on a cloudy day , wear goggles.
5. Wind chill factor – ( Icy wind , need to keep soft parts / nose/ear/finger covered.
- ROCK GROUP HAZARDS –
1. Rock gap – Gap between two rocks but not visible because of snow.
2. Scree or Loose Slate – dislodging one rock may lead to “scree chute” where one dislodged small stone dislodges other stones beneath it , the process continues , and heaps of stones/loose slate falls down the slope with massive momentum, leading to destruction.
3. Verglass – Thin layer of ice on rock surface generally at the early hours.
4. Rockfall (due to snowfall, melting of snow, earthquake or by animal )
- RIVER CROSSING HAZARDS –
1. Dry crossing (Single rope bridge, Double rope bridge , Single belly , double belly, Laying tree , Tarzan swing ) *will be discussed in future
2. Wet crossing (Wading method , In pair or by making human chain )
- HEALTH HAZARDS –
1. Acute Mountain Sickness [AMS] –
not in mood to talk,
2. High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema [HAPO] –
( Accumulation of fluid in lungs,
Breathlessness at rest,
Chest pain )
3. High Altitude Cerebral Oedema [HACO] –
( Hits within 24 hours after AMS has hit,
Accumulation of fluid in brain ,
Ataxia – loss of coordination ,
Mental states changes ,
4. Cold Injuries –
i) Generalised -> Hypothermia
ii) Localised –
(a) NON freezing type 1) Chillblain & 2) Trench foot
(b) freezing type 1) Frost bite & 2) Frost nip
-> Solar keratitis (Snow blindness)
-> Rhinitis (constant water through nose and eye)
*Cold injuries / Health hazards will be discussed in detail in future.
- GLACIAL HAZARDS –
1. Open crevasse/Hidden crevasse – (Vertical , horizontal or diagonal crack in glacier)
2. Bargschrund – ( that huge crevasse which separates the glacier from the main slope of the mountain and constantly feed ice to the active part of the glacier)
3. Serac – ( A large mass of ice surrounded by intersecting crevasses )
4. Snow bridge – ( A layer of hard snow/ice bridging a crevasse, a stream or a gap )
- PHYSIOLOGICAL HAZARDS –
1. Staying at high altitudes for long time can make a person lethargic and careless.
2. Sometimes mountaineer feels like lying down the day – this is called “glacial lassitude”.