Hiking and the Risk of Dying

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Hiking and the Risk of Dying

Postby Wildhorse » Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:37 pm

An interesting website that quantifies the risk of dying from hiking and many other activities.

It reports that the risk of dying while hiking in mountains is 1 in 15,700. Interestingly, that risk is much higher than the risk of dying from biking. Dying from hiking is only half as risky as driving, but it is around nine times riskier than biking and six times riskier than sky diving.

The risk of hiking appears to exclude mountain climbing.

Here is the link.

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Re: Hiking and the Risk of Dying

Postby Florian » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:13 am

I always figured cycling (I ride road bike often in traffic) as the most dangerous thing i do and hiking about the safest thing i do. I'd put driving a car somewhere between the two.

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Re: Hiking and the Risk of Dying

Postby Ed » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:53 pm

It is not clear what many of the numbers mean, or how they can be compared.

My own rule of thumb is that the hike or climb should not be significantly more dangerous than the drive. Because that is dangerous enough.
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Re: Hiking and the Risk of Dying

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:51 pm

Consider the risk of flying over a volcano in a wingsuit like this woman did:

http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-cultu ... rt-volcano

A lot of people have bought into the claim that following one's passion is the key to building wealth and having a good life. Others buy the idea that the key is doing what we do best. A few believe the key is taking risks. It has worked for this woman (Roberta Mancino). A very successful entrepreneur friend who risks everything in his ventures, and who also sky dives, says that risk taking is definitely the key.

I started off in life believing the passion thing, but could never find it. I considered doing something I was good at, but it was too boring. A high school English teacher said I was an awful writer and would never be good at it. So, I took a risk and became a writer. My entrepreneur friend is right. It works. I guess writing could somehow kill me. For one thing, It gives me the freedom to hike whenever I want to, and hiking seems certainly capable of killing me.

I submit that risk taking is vital to getting the most out of hiking, as it is to life itself. We must risk everything to live life to its fullest. The risk of hiking is apparently higher than I thought. It's good risk.

Don't be safe.
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Re: Hiking and the Risk of Dying

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:09 pm

I'll take hiking in the woods over cycling in traffic any day. Where do these supposed "statistics" come from that say that hiking is more dangerous than sharing a road with cars while cycling? I don't believe it for a minute.

And hiking is more dangerous than skiing? Ha ha ha ha. Yeah, right. Complete loss of credibility. I'd rather hear politicians make campaign promises; they're a lot more reliable.

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Re: Hiking and the Risk of Dying

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:36 am

My first reaction was like Hiking Jim's and Florian's. The website shows the sources of the statistics in the footnotes. My understanding is that statistics of this nature can be expected to be controversial. Sometimes the statistics reflect the impossibility of making accurate measurements of such things. Sometimes they reflect the biases or interests of the organizations that compile and publish them. It is similar to the controversies over the effectiveness of medical practices and dietary recommendations.

I enjoy reading empirical studies that defy conventional wisdom. Studies related to bicycle safety and the use of helmets, for example, unsettle conventional wisdom. It may be safer to not wear a helmet. But saying that may get a person into a fight. And car drivers include those who shout insults at bicyclists riding without helmets, even while studies show that cars stay further away from bicyclists who are not wearing helmets.

My grandfather was hit and killed by a drunk driver in the street in front of his house. I personally know several people who have been hit by cars near my home. I personally know one bicyclist who was hit by a car, twice. I have, of course, read about bicyclists who have been hit and killed by cars. My understanding is that the chance of being hit or killed as a pedestrian is higher than as a bicyclist, if one considers the rate of death and injury per mile travelled. But how can one really accurately measure such things? And how much can we really expect historical rates to predict the future, or more importantly what will happen to each of us?

Personally, I think of hiking as risking injury and death, even while I think of it prolonging my life by improving my health. As I wrote above, I think the risk of hiking is a good risk in many ways. Putting safety first is not a good way to live.
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