In the outdoor recreation and education industry, accidents - or incidents if you prefer - are inevitable. It is a standard practice to debrief an incident to see what in your risk management program is effective, or where there are holes in safety creating areas of potential risk, and most importantly what can we learn from the incident to prevent similar incidents in the future.
You can never remove all risk. These are inherently risky games we play, but we can work hard to mitigate the risk.
This morning I read Rick Ridgeways account of the Doug Tompkins fatal incident, and my brain immediately slipped into debrief mode. When assessing a situation like this - and you should always assess a situation like this, there is always something to learn - here are some of the questions I start to ask myself. I need to stress, I am not questioning Mr. Ridgeways or Mr Tompkins actions. Merely trying learn from a tragic accident.
What was the cause? I want to know about the gear involved and the gear worn. Weather. Experience. Hydration and Nutrition. Other risk factors. Think about those while you read Mr. Ridgeways account: