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Old 06.08.2011, 16:01
armandair
 
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13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

I just read this:

A 13year old lost is life in Fribourg and fell off a ridge, because the leader of the group - who was 15 year old - underestimated the mountain tour, which was designed for experienced mountaineers only.

How sad.

http://www.20min.ch/news/bern/story/...nger--20056599

Last edited by armandair; 01.10.2011 at 05:56.
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  #2  
Old 06.08.2011, 16:13
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

The very idea of taking a group of kids up the Pointe de Paray is frightening... what on earth were the organisers thinking ?
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:17
armandair
 
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

Not much, I guess.

I feel so bad for the families. And for the boys - the one who is no longer here as well as the other ones in the group. This tragedy will have a long term effect on their lives.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:22
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

Shouldn't it be underestimated?

It's a horrible tragedy. The faith we have here in young ones, all the pushed independence might not be the wisest thing at all times, we forget they are still kids.

I feel for the family, how terrible it must be for them, my thoughts are with them...and hope, that responsible people will be brought to be questioned, if it was an organized thing. What the text says it looks like it was an organized activity, summer camp of some sorts.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:26
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

it was a 12days summer camp, the tragedy happened on a four day tour.

I really hope there will be some detailed investigations about it.

The text says the group leader, who was 15 only, was not trained enough to be responsible for such a tour.

Then again, they were all kids. Who from the grown ups is responsible here?

I just can't imagine my little one would go off for a summer camp and will be involved in such a tragic event.

What a nightmare for everyone.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:28
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

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I just read this:

A 13year old lost is life in Fribourg and fell off a ridge, because the leader of the group - who was 15 year old - overestimated the mountain tour, which was designed for experienced mountaineers only.

How sad.

http://www.20min.ch/news/bern/story/...nger--20056599
It may sound cynical or/and ironic but is not meant so. As tragic as it is, for the victim and his family and friends, AND for the one who acted as "guide", these mountains each year cause death for many.

I still remember when another teenager (who I knew from back home but really learnt to know up in Flims) and me, in the first two years on our one-week holidays up there after skiing school of the afternoon and most of all during the one week holiday when we were in the skiing school only in the mornings, in late evening in half dark, detesting to walk up the village with the heavy skis, took our route through the wood. We were alone, with some wildlife very very very close (fascinating and unforgettable ! ) but our experience helped us through. Sure, you can expect a bit of common sense of 17 to 19 years olds !

But to start education as the person on interview stated with 17 is clearly and definitely too late ! Such things should start at age 12 or 13 !! above 10 but below 15 .

However, let's be realistic, accidents happen even if the Guide is experienced and well educated. Such things DID happen in the mountains, DO happen in the mountains and WILL happen in the mountains. Just as they did and do an will happen on the lakes and on the seas.

Last edited by Wollishofener; 06.08.2011 at 16:45.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:35
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

Agreed- and yet. StephenNE is a very experienced hiker and he clearly thinks this hike was NOT suitable for a group, let alone an inexperienced group. As a leader you have to assess the difficulty and danger level, and choose hikes which are suited to the group. There is always an element of risk in the mountains, or the sea, but a leader has to keep danger levels in check.

A English kid about the same age was killed by a polar bear on a camp in Northern Norway 2 yesterday. They were camping with leaders right in the middle of polar bear territory. And I can't help but think - was that an acceptable risk? (btw the polar bear was also a victim as he was shot).
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:36
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

Speaking of lakes: Some years ago I was swimming with my husband in the lake of Lugano. I'm an ok swimmer and learned swimming in a lake. The whole area was marked with a line of those floating balls. So I decided to swim to one of those at the far end, approx. 25m away from the shore. When I reached one them I found that I could not hold myself to them and along came one of those big ships - bringing so many waves. And I completely panicked and was not able to swim back, because of my out of mind state. Luckily my husband was there. Otherwise I'm sure I would have drowned. Panicking leads to all sort of illogical actions and movements, most of the time the wrong ones.

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... on the lakes and on the seas.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:38
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

I remember a couple of years ago being at the Cabane du Grand Mountet, up above Zinal. The group I was with had come up by the normal path, arriving just before the inevitable afternoon thunderstorms. At about 20:00, when dinner was already finished, a large group of very wet and exhausted scouts arrived. The two leaders must have been 17 or 18, the rest of the group maybe 14 or 15. They had come up the other side of the valley and had got into trouble trying to cross the glacier to get to the hut. They had no ropes or crampons, and had totally under-estimated the degree of difficulty and length of time it would take them to get to the hut.

The next day, they were doing the same itinerary as us, from the Grand Mountet to the Cabane de Tracuit. Despite a weather forecast for thunderstorms by mid-afternoon, they left the hut two hours later than our group and, for the second day running, got caught out in the storms, arrived three hours later than planned and missed dinner.

Overestimating the day's hike and getting into difficulties once is unfortunate... doing it again the next day starts to seem like incompetence. Luckily, on this occasion, the additional bit of bad luck that can turn a tricky situation into a tragedy did not occur, and they were all OK apart from being exhausted.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:38
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

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The very idea of taking a group of kids up the Pointe de Paray is frightening... what on earth were the organisers thinking ?
Well, I still remember a skiing week up above Davos/Klosters (my age 21 then). The "main" leader was a chap I knew as the coach of our football coach a decade earlier and so had full trust in him. He knew me and my older brother. But we both on a particular evening apparently did not know reality ! He told us about making a tour in very deep snow the next morning. He gave out instructions I regarded as self evident plus some instructions I found surprising even if logical. The next morning, he fixed my skis and I in turn assisted. We went up. But then in reality I found that I had to support W.F. in the task ahead. Many of our friends had signed up without really taking note of the problems in question. Had anything happened W.F. would have been "guilty" and somebody might have charged me as his "supporter" but sorry, sometimes you have to accept duty and to take responsiblity. As it went, the thing was a tremendous success, and in fact, beverages for me then, in expensive places, were free for me in three evenings ! but I added the experience to the knowledge that those mountains are dangerous and will be dangerous always !

Last edited by Wollishofener; 06.08.2011 at 17:33.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:40
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

Panick is a bad guide, for sure. That's why I would not send my child to the mountain this caliber hikes, on their own, just with another kid guide. Not fair to the camp kids, nor the guide, either. I hope the people who actually organized this and had a responsibility for kids safety will be questioned.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:47
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

I would always check with whom little one is and who is in charge and responsible. Sometimes I think the open attitude we have or experienced, is leading to wrong decisions.

I'm all for an open minded education and I hope my kid will be adventurous enough to explore what lies out there in the world.

But it's as important to say no, as to correctly judge situations you are in.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:51
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

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Agreed- and yet. StephenNE is a very experienced hiker and he clearly thinks this hike was NOT suitable for a group, let alone an inexperienced group. As a leader you have to assess the difficulty and danger level, and choose hikes which are suited to the group. There is always an element of risk in the mountains, or the sea, but a leader has to keep danger levels in check.

A English kid about the same age was killed by a polar bear on a camp in Northern Norway 2 yesterday. They were camping with leaders right in the middle of polar bear territory. And I can't help but think - was that an acceptable risk? (btw the polar bear was also a victim as he was shot).
That the tour taken was NOT suitable for a group without extensive experience is obvious. This may well be in the centre of the investigations. The question is HOW they came upon this strange idea !? YES, the question about too much of alcohol will inevitably come up. "*As a leader" ... right, but I charge the wrong rule only to go ahead with that education at age 17. They WILL have to change this and get down to 12

Last edited by Wollishofener; 06.08.2011 at 17:35.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:52
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

Getting the balance right is hugely difficult. The last thing I'd wish on CH, is a situation as we now have in UK, where any activity has to have a risk assessment, run by so many different agencies, special insurances, etc. Result: nobody is prepared to take on the responsibility of organising trips, hikes, etc, for kids. And yet - there just had to be a limit on the element of risk. I used to organise so many hiking and Youth Hostelling trips, drove the school minibus with our 6th Formers to France and Germany, organising work experience. None of my younger colleagues do this now- just too much hassle and form-filling, etc.

From the sublime to the ridiculous- as always. When I organised ski/snowboarding trips for UK school kids, I had to qualify to be a ski leader. Kids would have to be in lessons for part of the day, then we could ski with them without an instructor a/providing we were qualified b/only on slopes done with the instructor (=NO exploring new slopes/territory). Later this was revoked, and kids could only ski with the ski instructors- so we had to pay for 3 hours am and 2 hours pm for the instructors. Then it was decided kids had to have helmets. So each kid was provided with a brand new helmet- which were all thrown away at the end of the trip (in case they suffered damage- surely, as kids were always with us and the instructors, only helmets which had been damaged in a bad fall, etc, should have been thrown away).

Here, kids ski with their mostly unqualified teachers- and are often allowed to ski in small groups without supervision whatsoever. 1 local girl died last year on a ski trip as they went under a closed/avalanche banner and lost control. Their instructions were to ski in small groups (no supervision at all).

Last edited by Odile; 06.08.2011 at 17:27.
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Old 06.08.2011, 16:56
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group overestimated a mountain tour!

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Speaking of lakes: Some years ago I was swimming with my husband in the lake of Lugano. I'm an ok swimmer and learned swimming in a lake. The whole area was marked with a line of those floating balls. So I decided to swim to one of those at the far end, approx. 25m away from the shore. When I reached one them I found that I could not hold myself to them and along came one of those big ships - bringing so many waves. And I completely panicked and was not able to swim back, because of my out of mind state. Luckily my husband was there. Otherwise I'm sure I would have drowned. Panicking leads to all sort of illogical actions and movements, most of the time the wrong ones.

Never panick ! Quite to the contrary, we in the "Schwimmbad" of Zch Wollishofen enjoyed that the steamships always had a stop nearby and swam out towards them to be in the resulting waves produced by those ships.

It was great `!
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:05
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

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Getting the balance right is hugely difficult. The last thing I'd wish on CH, is a situation as we now have in UK, where any activity has to have a risk assessment, run by so many different agencies, special insurances, etc. Result: nobody is prepared to take on the responsibility of organising trips, hikes, etc, for kids. And yet - there just had to be a limit on the element of risk. I used to organise so many hiking and Youth Hostelling trips, drove the school minibus with our 6th Formers to France and Germany, organising work experience. None of my younger colleagues do this now- just too much hassle and form-filling, etc.

From the sublime to the ridiculous- as always. When I organised ski/snowboarding trips for UK school kids, I had to qualify to be a ski leader. Kids would have to be in lessons for part of the day, then we could ski with them without an instructor a/providing we were qualified b/only on slopes done with the instructor (=NO exploring new slopes/territory). Later this was revoked, and kids could only ski with the ski instructors- so we had to pay for 3 hours am and 2 hours pm for the instructors. Then it was decided kids had to have helmets. So each kid was provided with a brand new helmet- which were all thrown away at the end of the trip (in case they suffered damage- surely, as kids were always with us and the instructors, only helmets which had been damaged in a bad fall, etc, should have been thrown away).

Here, kids ski with their mostly unqualified teachers- and are often allowed to ski in small groups without supervision whatsoever.
The Pfadfinder Organisation of Switzerland made it clear that they make THOUSANDS of such things each year and that is the first accident of this kind in more than 30 year. If you compare it with road traffic it is a good figure. They stated that they of course support a thorough investigation.

When the friend mentioned and me were on our own in the afternoon we asked the (licenced) ski instructor in the morning for his advice, his ideas and his suggestion. The most astonishing advice was "on the .... -route you two have to take the BLACK route as this is the one for you two"

But again, sometimes you HAVE to accept that risks are there. I argue that if you KNOW the risk, you are quite well off
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:09
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

Pfadfinder is a scout, by the way.

At school, they also made us go on these mad, dangerous hikes I would never do now. Something about toughening us up and showing the valour of courage. A few kids from my secondary school were injured over the three years I attended, one died.
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:14
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

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Pfadfinder is a scout, by the way.

At school, they also made us go on these mad, dangerous hikes I would never do now. Something about toughening us up and showing the valour of courage. A few kids from my secondary school were injured over the three years I attended, one died.
I am familiar with the scenarios and a few times dug my heels down in order to push some common sense into people, regarding risk estimation, teens and safety. Toughening or not, what's the point when kids die in the process. Tragedy. Of course mountains do claim lives, but teens don't always have the risk radar set up fine enough.
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:15
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

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Getting the balance right is hugely difficult. The last thing I'd wish on CH, is a situation as we now have in UK, where any activity has to have a risk assessment, run by so many different agencies, special insurances, etc. Result: nobody is prepared to take on the responsibility of organising trips, hikes, etc, for kids.
I was about to say exactly the same thing
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:16
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Re: 13year old path finder death, because the group underestimated a mountain tour!

Just to share a little bit.. i think i read somewhere that this group of "kids" where boy scouts ..i really dont know for sure.

I write this because i am a troop scout leader back home. We never, let the kids go alone on hikes, (for kids a refer youngs from 9years old to 18years old).. I became a scout when i was 15 and i never went camping alone or hiking by myself and my friends without the supervision of a leader (we never tought of them as grown ups.. they where also our friends only a little older)

when i decided to stayed on my group and teach supervise or however you want to call it i was 20 years olds.. with experience on the who/when/how/where on camping and hiking but i was not in charge alone, there was another dude who was 34 and part of the troop for 10 years

we used to work with the 9 to 14 years old... and we had a lot of fun while camping and hiking.. teaching them how to set a proper fire and a lot of stuff...

where im going with all of these is: were where the person in charge, a 15 year old can be a leader of a small group for certain activities... but not be the responsable for the whole trip .. Not yet. It is not the same to be responsable for your acts and be responsable for a whole group. Especially if you are going hiking or camping a place completely new to you.

My question would it be, were where the parents? or the people in charge of the summer camp?
i tought here in switzerland people check and double check for safety ... especially with kids .. a 15 year old is still a kid
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