Stats on back country injuries/illness???
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Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/08/2010 17:32:28 MDT Print View

Does anyone know of a source that lists types of back country injury accidents/ illnesses, etc by type in some type of usable rank?

Ex:
Illness
sprains
bone breaks
animal/insect injuries
eye trauma
burns
etc....

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/08/2010 17:54:59 MDT Print View

I can't give you any statistics. However, when I took a mountain medicine course one time, the instructors taught us a thing or two on what to expect. The attendees were mostly state park rangers, Sierra Club backpack leaders, nurses, and a few physicians. They did not have it sorted for on-trail versus off-trail injuries. Obviously, off-trail hiking has more risks.

One of the most common injuries is when the hiker is impaled by a sharp/broken tree branch on a tree that is down across a trail. Maybe only on the leg, but it could be anywhere. Maybe not too much more than skin deep. The problem is that some thru-hikers are out on some trail without any assistance for a week or two at a time, and if a wound like that gets infected, there is a problem. Weekend hikers don't have the same infection risk, since they will be home in a couple of days.

I found this one strange, but we were taught that too many hikers have carried along some "recreational pharmaceuticals" and poisons, and we were given a long list of overdose symptoms to look for in an impaired hiker.

Obviously, when we are hiking along a trail for 15-20 miles in a given day, we pretty much have to keep it together.
--B.G.--

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/08/2010 19:28:16 MDT Print View

I lead Sierra Club hikes and live in the Southern California area. The most common problems I see have to do with heat and people not having enough water. The next most common problem has to do with people biting off more than they can chew. Newbies showing up for a hike marked "strenous, 19 mile round trip". That sort of thing. Then there are sprained ankles. Other than that, I've never seen any other serious injuries myself.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/08/2010 19:44:27 MDT Print View

I led Sierra Club backpack, X-C skiing, and snow climbing trips for twenty years, and among the participants, I never had one reportable injury. People would get impaired through stupidity mostly. Like Piper suggested, heat exhaustion from not drinking enough water is big. One backpacker got sick, and when we got it all sorted out, it was primarily from being on a fasting diet for three days! Hypothermia happens, but it is easily treatable.
--B.G.--

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/08/2010 20:15:24 MDT Print View

Closest I know of if produced by the American Alpine Club: their annual Accidents in North American Mountaineering
http://www.americanalpineclub.org/pt/accidentsinnorthamericanmountaineering

There's a link on this page for statistics back to 1951.

Edited by xnomanx on 04/08/2010 20:17:23 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/08/2010 21:09:11 MDT Print View

"Closest I know of if produced by the American Alpine Club: their annual Accidents in North American Mountaineering"

That's pretty much the bible for climbing, but it doesn't cover hiking/backpacking. I wonder if there IS a single source for these activities. One possibility is to start checking SAR group reports, because they handle anything and everything that happens in the mountains, at least up here in the Cascades. They generally operate under the county sheriff. Down in the Sierra, there's a hot shot volunteer organization that operates under the INYO County Sheriff Department. But the National Park folks occasionally get involved, too, depending on jurisdiction. It would be a lot of work to aggregate and classify all the data, Ron. Maybe somebody already has. It might be worth asking a couple of SAR outfits about that. Seems like they'd know if anybody would.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/11/2010 16:54:51 MDT Print View

NOLS and the Sierra Club have extensive data on the topic. Contact them.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Stats on back country injuries/illness? on 04/11/2010 18:43:43 MDT Print View

I don't know if every state does this, but Oregon's Emergency Management Department requires that all SAR missions in Oregon be reported to the state. Here's the annual 2009 report: http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/OEM/tech_resp/sar_docs/annual_sar_report_2009.pdf

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/11/2010 18:56:07 MDT Print View

Coming soon...the MLD carbon fiber & cuben backcountry wheelchair.Wheelchair

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/11/2010 20:21:44 MDT Print View

I found "this" it might be of some help.

Tony

Edited by tbeasley on 04/11/2010 20:23:36 MDT.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
NOLS has data on this and on successful prevention and prep on 04/11/2010 20:32:11 MDT Print View

NOLS has extensive data on this (and on things they did to cut down on injuries and prepare for injuries they expected).

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/11/2010 21:07:40 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input- really looking for any openly available hiking/backpacking specific data already out there vs lots of research or compiling info from multilple sources. Is the NOLS info public? Links?

Thanks,
Ron

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/12/2010 07:34:13 MDT Print View

Google is a great tool.

http://www.nols.edu/wrmc/resources.shtml

http://www.nols.edu/wrmc/pdf_files/wrmc_2008_incident_report.pdf

John Gookin
(john_gookin@nols.edu) - F

Locale: Wind River Range
Re: Stats on back country injuries/illness??? on 04/12/2010 13:56:07 MDT Print View

Go to NOLS/Research/Project Reports/ at:
https://rendezvous.nols.edu/content/section/54/803/
and hit the Risk Management topic to get the NOLS data. Go right to the tables to get the answers you wanted. Also, the article tells you how so many accidents happen in camp rather than on the trail, which is helpful.

This article has some similar OB data:
Gender differences in injury and illness rates on wilderness backpacking trips
Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, Volume 6, Issue 4, Pages 363-376
S. Twombly, L. Schussman

Hope this helps,
John Gookin

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Backcountry injuries/illness on 04/16/2010 22:51:35 MDT Print View

Way back when I took a NOLS course they told me exposure (heat or cold) was leading cause of death in wilderness, followed by rockfall. Now I drink lots of water, carry a layer, and watch my position so I'm not kicking stuff down/getting kicked down on. Still here.