HIKER RESCUES SOAR
HIKER RESCUES INCREASE NEARLY 70% IN THE PYRENEES OVER FIVE YEARS.
This seemingly effortless activity accounts for almost half of the rescues carried out by the Mountain Civil Guard during the summer months.
Hiking in the mountains seems easy. It’s far from higher-risk experiences such as climbing or canyoning. However, hiking, due to its large number of participants, is by far the outdoor sport with the highest number of rescues each year, at 44%. With the arrival of summer, rescue operations in this activity will once again surge, having seen a 66% increase over the past five years. 2022’s data is telling. From June to October, in the Pyrenees regions where it’s most practiced, the Greim conducted 176 rescues, assisting 258 hikers.
“Despite being a simple activity, some people find it hard to complete a hike and require a rescue,” state campaign analyses. Mountain guides, who are on the mountains every day, agree. “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen many more hikers. They might be physically fit, but they’re not used to walking in the mountains. They seem clumsy,” reflects Jordi Clariana, president of the Mountain Guides Association of the Benasque Valley. “You have to step confidently. You can’t just look at the landscape because the ground isn’t urban. There are blocks, loose stones, or grassy slopes,” he adds.
It’s also worth noting that over half of the people rescued by the Civil Guard last summer were unharmed (55%). This suggests that those who called for help didn’t do so due to an injury but because they lacked the autonomy and preparation to handle a challenging situation. 12% suffered from conditions related to hypothermia, heatstrokes, exhaustion, and dehydration, and the rest had fractures, sprains, or bruises from stumbles and falls.
Additionally, evidence that this outdoor sport attracts mostly older people is that two out of ten rescued people (22%) were over 60 years old, and only 10% were minors.