Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2010

GearFlogger reviews Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2010

Calling the annual Accidents in North American Mountaineering the Darwin Awards of climbing is unkind, yet accurate in the sense that most accidents are not accidents at all, but the result of poor decision making. The truth is we all exercise poor judgement to some degree, in some situations, some of the time, usually when we're tired, inexperienced or just plain not paying attention. Books like this give us insight into what the consequences could have been on a different day, and serve as a valuable reminder to wear a helmet, tie a knot in the end of your rope when rappelling, and generally fight fate with alertness, education and solid preparation before ever leaving town.

This year's edition calls out rappel and lowering errors once again: "It is hard [to] understand why we are still seeing these errors when so much basic information is to be found in 'how to' books, catalogues, on the Web, and at frequently visited climbing sites," the editors state. As usual many of the accident descriptions are from Alaska and Denali, including the crazy Lithuanian woman who demanded to be flown out from 14,000 foot camp despite having no real injuries. No, really.

ANAM could be more useful if it were delivered in a more timely fashion, e.g. a blog. Stories in the 2010 edition are from the 2009 climbing season, and so miss a full big mountain season. Editing could be tighter as well. In general the publication would be more useful if it were less of an encyclopedia and included more detailed treatement of fewer cases, and perhaps illustrations. Nonetheless, it's always worth the read. There but for the grace of God…

$9.50 at Amazon


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