The growing popularity of activities such as hiking, climbing, skiing and snowboarding has ensured that the number of visitors to mountain environments continues to increase. Since such areas place enormous physical demands on individuals, it is inevitable that deaths will occur. Differences in the activities, conditions and methods of calculation make meaningful mortality rates difficult to obtain. However, it is clear that the mortality rate for some mountain activities is comparable to hang gliding, parachuting, boxing and other pastimes that are traditionally viewed as dangerous. Deaths in the mountains are most commonly due to trauma, high altitude illness, cold injury, avalanche burial and sudden cardiac death. This review describes the mortality rates of those who undertake recreational activities in the mountains and examines the aetiology that lies behind them.
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