Les dangers subjectifs / Subjective dangers
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écrit par Wladimir T.

chef de course et instructeur au Club Alpin Suisse

Le 23 février 2013

Incapacité physique

Les alpinistes doivent connaître leurs capacités physiques et leurs limites. La force et l’endurance s’acquièrent par l’entraînement, la connaissance des limites par l’expérience.

L’endurance est mise à l’épreuve non seulement par la durée de la course, mais aussi et surtout par des circonstances particulières telles que l’altitude et le mauvais temps.

Se lancer dans une course de haute montagne sans préparation physique adéquate, c’est mettre sa vie et celle de ses compagnons en danger.

Impréparation morale

La carence des ressources morales peut, dans bien des cas, être plus grave que la défaillance des ressources physiques.

La peur, qui entraîne des réactions souvent imprévisibles et toujours dangereuses, est due à l’ignorance de soi et de la montagne. Là aussi, l’expérience est la meilleure garantie de réactions saines et efficaces devant des difficultés ou en cas d’accident.

La montagne est impitoyable avec les irréfléchis, les étourdis, les vaniteux et les téméraires. En toute circonstance, cependant, le montagnard doit faire preuve de bon sens.

Lacunes intellectuelles et techniques

Les lacunes intellectuelles et techniques constituent une source importante de dangers. Le montagnard doit être capable de préparer sa course correctement et avoir le bagage technique pour la mener à bien en toute sécurité.

Préparer une course c’est savoir lire un guide et interpréter correctement les informations, c’est être capable de préparer l’itinéraire en utilisant la carte, c’est connaître la météo, etc.

Être techniquement apte à évoluer dans le terrain, c’est savoir s’orienter, c’est connaître les rudiments de l’escalade rocheuse et glacière, c’est savoir utiliser correctement le matériel.

Équipement inadéquat

Une lacune dans l’équipement et le matériel, un manque d’entretien sont des sources d’accident.

Le montagnard sera avisé de prendre soin de son matériel, de ne pas s’encombrer de superflu mais de s’assurer l’indispensable.

Mauvaise appréciation des conditions

Sous-estimer les difficultés d’une course… ou sur-estimer ses propres capacités; manque d’informations; mauvaise interprétation des prévisions météo; départ trop tardif.

Autant de facteurs pouvant transformer une course en calvaire.

Danger confondu avec difficulté

Une ascension peut être difficile, voire très difficile, sans être pour autant dangereuse.

Une course peu difficile, voire même facile, peut être périlleuse. Ainsi, une escalade verticale dans du bon rocher et correctement assurée est-elle moins dangereuse que la descente d’une pente d’herbe humide au dessus d’un à-pic ou la traversée d’un couloir balayé par des chutes de pierres.

Cordée non homogène

Le choix des compagnons de cordée est déterminant aussi bien pour le succès (ou l’échec) de la course, que pour la sécurité de la cordée toute entière.

Chaque membre de la cordée est tel l’anneau d’une chaîne et la défaillance d’un des anneaux affaiblit gravement l’efficacité de l’ensemble.

 

La force d’une cordée est en fait celle de son élément le plus faible.

Subjective dangers

Subjective hazards are
for risks linked to the human element

♦ Physical incapacity

♦ Moral unpreparedness

♦ Intellectual and technical deficiencies

♦ Inadequate equipment

♦ Poor appreciation of conditions

♦ Danger confused with difficulty

♦ Uneven roped party

Physical ineptitude and unpreparedness

Mountain climbers need to know their physical capabilities and their limits. Strength and stamina are acquired through training; knowing your limits through experience.

Stamina is put to the test not only by the duration of the race but also, and above all, by particular circumstances such as altitude and bad weather.

To embark on a high mountain race without proper physical preparation is to put your own life and that of your companions at risk.

 

Moral unpreparedness

The lack of moral resources can, in many cases, be more serious than the lack of physical resources.

Fear, which leads to reactions that are often unpredictable and always dangerous, is due to ignorance of oneself and of the mountain. Here too, experience is the best guarantee of healthy and effective reactions in the face of difficulties or in the event of an accident.

The mountain is merciless to the thoughtless, the giddy, the vain and the reckless. In all circumstances, however, mountaineers must use common sense.

 

Intellectual and technical gaps

Intellectual and technical shortcomings are a major source of danger. Mountain climbers need to be able to prepare their route correctly and have the technical knowledge to complete it safely.

Preparing for a race means knowing how to read a guidebook and interpret the information correctly, being able to prepare the route using a map, knowing the weather forecast, etc.

Being technically able to evolve in the terrain means knowing how to orientate yourself, knowing the rudiments of rock and ice climbing, and knowing how to use equipment correctly.

 

Inadequate equipment

Inadequate equipment and material, and a lack of maintenance are sources of accidents.

The mountaineer is advised to take care of his equipment, not to carry superfluous items but to ensure that he has the essentials.

 

Poor assessment of conditions

Underestimating the difficulties of a race… or overestimating your own abilities; lack of information; misinterpreting the weather forecast; starting too late.

These are just some of the factors that can turn a race into an ordeal.

 

Danger confused with difficulty

A climb can be difficult, even very difficult, without being dangerous.

A route that is not very difficult, or even easy, can be dangerous. For example, a vertical climb in good rock and correctly belayed is less dangerous than descending a wet grass slope over a cliff or crossing a couloir swept by falling rocks.

 

Non-homogeneous rope party

The choice of rope-mates is decisive both for the success (or failure) of the race and for the safety of the entire rope party.

Each member of the rope party is like a ring in a chain, and the failure of one of the rings seriously weakens the effectiveness of the whole.

 

 

The strength of a rope party is in fact the strength of its weakest element.

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