Hazards

Rescuers face the same hazards as climbers in general—hazards from objective environmental conditions such as storms, rockfall, cold, and high altitude, or from subjective human factors such as inadequate training and poor judgment. Dealing with any of these hazards greatly complicates a high-angle rescue.

Rescuers and climbers can minimize the impact of a storm or other objective hazard with proper equipment and contingency training. Ask the big "What if" questions before you leave on a trip, to be sure you have thought through the possible consequences of cold weather or high altitude or other hazards and are ready for them.

Take every possible precaution to guard against hazards as you raise or lower a person. If there is any doubt, confusion, or major disagreement on what is to be done, stop and reconsider the entire situation. Be especially wary of rockfall during raising and lowering operations. Wear helmets.

Subjective hazards exist when a person's skill, conditioning, or other qualities fall short of what is needed for safety on a particular climb. You can exercise a good deal of control over subjective hazards through planning and training before a climb, and by keeping alert during a climb to such hazards in yourself or others in the party. Dealing with the subjective hazards at the start of a rescue can minimize problems from objective hazards.

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