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Smartphones and "toxic masculinity" are killing Scottish climbers

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
according to the Guardian

Quote:
Virtually all fatalities on the Scottish mountains are men. Men over 60 are the demographic that get into difficulties


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/27/heather-morning-being-male-and-on-your-phone-are-biggest-dangers-on-scottish-mountains-says-expert
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yes, I saw that. I'm sure males are more risk taking, and I don't disagree with that at all.

Most of the people getting rescued are male, even in my own experience.
But then most of the people out there are male.

It's not clear to me if the reported numbers have been corrected for that. It seems a lazy article from that point of view: the journalist didn't ask the obvious question. Does anyone have a link to the actual source data ("Mountaineering Scotland", presumably)? To be clear, I'm not remotely doubting that blokes are objectively more dangerous, I'm just asking if their relative frequency in the sample has been correctly taken into account or not.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Navigation - any kind of navigation - is a dying art. Lots of sailors would have no clue if their chart plotters gave up the ghost. I would, in theory, but am so out of practice, I would definitely struggle. A Snowhead who worked at Plas-y-Brenin laid on a day's mountain navigation course for a little group of us, years ago now. It poured down all day, so was very authentic.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@philwig, not sure that the fact that most people who are out are male necessarily undermines the point. It could indicate that women are more likely to have the sense to stay at home if conditions are crap

As an aside, I don’t see “toxic masculinity” mentioned in the article so the thread title is a bit click-baity
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It's a shame they don't reference their source clearly. "Scottish mountain rescue" publish statistics, for example:
https://www.scottishmountainrescue.org/facts-and-statistics/

Looking at that:
  • The gender balance for rescues is much closer to balanced (185 assists for males versus 147 for females).
  • The age category generating most incidents is 17-25 (but this explicitly isn't corrected for participation rates).
  • Of 627 assisted people, 12 were fatalities.

@arno: as I said, I'm sure males are more risk-taking. It's the Guardian journalist's "analysis" which
I'm commenting on, as it seems to be at best misleading.

pam w wrote:
Navigation - any kind of navigation - is a dying art
Possibly.
The article says the people most at risk are old men over 60 though.
I would think they all were brought up on maps and compass
wink
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
philwig wrote:
It's a shame they don't reference their source clearly. "Scottish mountain rescue" publish statistics, for example:
https://www.scottishmountainrescue.org/facts-and-statistics/
Looking at that:
  • The gender balance for rescues is much closer to balanced (185 assists for males versus 147 for females).
  • The age category generating most incidents is 17-25 (but this explicitly isn't corrected for participation rates).
  • Of 627 assisted people, 12 were fatalities.

@arno: as I said, I'm sure males are more risk-taking. It's the Guardian journalist's "analysis" which
I'm commenting on, as it seems to be at best misleading.


^ this...

I have no doubt male are:
a) more likely to be out on hills
b) more likely to take risks / be involved in accidents.

And that is not just in Scotland... However the raw data doesn't seem to match the click bait headline. That maybe explained by the fact Glencoe, Lochaber and Cairngorm MRT (where most fatalities occur) operate independently of SMR.

The biggest specific issue with Scottish hills is that while the weather can be severe they are often, relatively benign. When conditions turn it is easy to be caught out.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 28-03-22 11:29; edited 2 times in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

The article says the people most at risk are old men over 60 though.
I would think they all were brought up on maps and compass


Men over 60 were also brought up on winning World Cups and that didn't pan out either...
Men are generally more prone to the various Expert Fallacies - "I've been doing this a long time, therefore I am good at it, ergo I know what I'm doing.", "He's been doing this a long time therefore is good at it, so can be trusted to make the right decision, so I can't disagree" etc etc, often followed by the phrase "AIIEEEEeeee..."
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Richard_Sideways wrote:


Men over 60 ...


I would have thought men over 40 but maybe the men over 40 just got old?

As for "toxic masculinity", it is a favourite guardian expression so I thought I'd toss it in there; if being male is causing the deaths then it would fit that definition.

Thanks for the stats, puts the figures in a bit more context.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Article is weak promo for whatever training the woman is offering. I can well believe it's men over sixty who are the biggest risk to themselves on the "I've been doing this over 40 years just fine"front plus bodies that don't quite perform at their youthful peak etc. And people do seem over reliant on phones where e.g. Google Maps is pretty poor for nav over offroad terrain. Having said that I don't bother carrying a map in the Lakes now as I have the relevant OS on my phone.

I was reflecting on the trend for "curated" experiences in just about everything. Wild swimming used to just be called swimming and you could do it in a bathing suit without a £140 dryrobe and a guide. Then i saw a car emblazoned with something like Mountain Wildnerness Coaching which seemed to be a woman who took others for a trail run. How much of this is necessary to broaden access for the unconfident and how much is it pandering to Insta trendiness and gear fashion slavery?
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

I would think they all were brought up on maps and compass

Participation in "outdoor activities" has surged - there are masses more people out there now, of all ages. A lot of people who have taken up hill walking in recent years have probably relied on GPS and apps and never been anywhere near a compass.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
dotm wrote:
Article is weak promo for whatever training the woman is offering
Good point.

I'm biased, but the CRO's incident reports are always informative and can be entertaining and 90% of call-outs are surface incidents, eg:
https://cro.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/2021-Cave-Rescue-Report_WEB_OPT.pdf
There, "PhoneFind" is saving lives, not killing people.

The main effect of mobile technology as far as I've been aware was to increase call out rates because mobile
technology makes a shout easier to raise.

pam w wrote:
... A lot of people who have taken up hill walking in recent years have probably relied on GPS and apps and never been anywhere near a compass.
I still carry one myself, but I've not used it since before Selective Availability was turned off. People don't like new technology, but that doesn't mean old stuff is necessarily safer.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
philwig wrote:

The main effect of mobile technology as far as I've been aware was to increase call out rates because mobile
technology makes a shout easier to raise.


From speaking to friends in MRT... Mobile technology has changed the nature of Mountain Rescues in Scotland. Generally people don't simply get "lost" anymore. In the old days a call out was commonly as result of someone not returning from day on hills by sunset.

These days mobile phones mean the Mountain Rescue team gets called out straight away. Crucially phones or GPS mean they can locate the people needing rescued very quickly.

The problems occur when people have been using a smart phone as their only navigation device (without map as backup). In this scenario a flat battery, or dropped phone, suddenly turns into serious situation. Suddenly the person has no way of navigating, nor calling mountain rescue for help. Apparently folk navigating using just smart phones make up a high % of overnight searches for Scottish MRTs.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks @philwig for posting that report - in almost every regard, it doesn't support the assertions in the Grauniad article at all, nor do the SMR reviews of previous years. As you say, the reported balance of genders rescued is pretty much equal (141 M/132 F in 2019, a more 'normal' year). Those aged 56+ make up around 20% of those rescued, which doesn't seem out of whack with the mountain-going demographic. 'Technology reliance' (I assume a euphemism for 'bloody fool with a phone and no map') is only reported as a causal factor in 6 mountaineering incidents in 2019 and 14 in 2020, so much less than 5% - may be underreported, of course. The most notable thing I saw is that in 2019, 15% of those rescued were from outside the UK, which seems high.

The imbalance in the fatalities gender statistics is interesting but how much of that is down to male participation rates in riskier activities with serious consequences eg winter climbing?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Haggis_Trap says that
Quote:

folk navigating using just smart phones make up a high % of overnight searches for Scottish MRTs.

So lots of idiots are being rescued by MRTs. OK, I suppose as long as people enjoy working in MRTs and they have plenty of funding for their work. Still seems idiotic though.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Walkers venturing up Scotland's mountains have been warned they need more than a phone in order to be able to navigate safely.
Mountaineering Scotland said phones were often being used in place of the traditional map and compass."Technology nowadays and having GPS on your phone is fantastic and makes navigation that much easier," he said.
"But there definitely are challenges with the fact if you go out in the mountains with just your phone the screen size limits you to a small area, can you zoom in and out all the time with your gloves on? And it's going to use the battery.
"Having an addition of a map and compass allows you to cover a much wider area, and a power bank."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-61009232
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