Is hiking dangerous? Will trekking get you killed?

May 25, 2022 BY AWE365 Team

Today we explore an important question for those of us who like to hit the trail. Will trekking get you killed? It sounds like an over-exaggerated statement, but is hiking dangerous? Clearly it isn’t perfectly safe… so let’s explore this further.

Is hiking dangerous? Will trekking get you killed? pixabay royalty free image

Will trekking get you killed?

We hear of accidents and misadventure while trekking all the time. But there are also more sinister occurrences.

Back in 2,000 Tim Prentice, 38, of Bristol was murdered in Nepal. In 2012 trails on the South Korean island of Jeju were closed after a 40-year-old female tourist was kidnapped and murdered. And in 2018 two Scandinavian hikers were beheaded by Jihadist’s in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

For most people who don’t trek, the idea of wandering around remote areas with little or no protection against predators – human or otherwise – seems foolhardy, to say the least. But these kind of deaths occur extremely rarely in comparison to other accidents, trekkers getting lost or people dying of exposure.

Is hiking dangerous? Will trekking get you killed? pixabay royalty free image of mount mckinley (Denali) in Alaska, USA

But is trekking really that dangerous in the grand scheme of things?

The Statistics Say ‘Yes’

An academic paper published in 2008 by Flores, Haileyesus and Greenspan claims that trekking is the third most dangerous outdoor activity. It is only behind snowboarding and sledding. Really?

Based on this anyone who values their health should stay well away from the Lake District. Let alone even think to trek in the Andes, Himalayas or Alps – no matter how beautiful the sights are….

Hiking down from Helvellyn in the Lake District UK

Common Sense Says ‘No’

A lot of the people who voice concerns about people taking trekking holidays no doubt drive cars. Worldwide, there are 17.4 traffic related deaths per 100,000 people, even in the US this is 11.7 and in Europe 9.3. In comparison there are just 4.6 hiking injuries per 100,000 people.

The key here is that the trekking/hiking figures aren’t even for deaths but injuries. So we can assume hiking deaths are far, far lower than the above numbers.

People have the same reservations about trekking as they do about its motorised cousin hitchhiking. Usually people who have never trekked or hitched.

Luxury hiking holiday in the Dolomites near Ortisei Outdoor gear storage tips How to store sports equipment

Is hiking dangerous?

As the 2005 book No Such Thing As A Free Ride? point outs, you’re far more likely to get insulted, abused, maimed or be on the receiving end of some kind of nastiness during a Saturday night out in any city centre in Britain. The same defence can be made for hiking.

The hypocrisy of the majority is easily explained. Going out and getting trashed at the weekend is a major aspect of our modern culture. It is an extremely popular participatory sport, if you will. Whereas trekking is a minority adventure travel interest.

For that reason trekkers are an easy target. Having already insulted the populations of Mexico and India, Jeremy Clarkson branded the ramblers who won a court action to cross his land on the Isle of Man ‘unpleasant militant dog walkers’.

Is hiking dangerous? Will trekking get you killed? pixabay royalty free image from Canada

The irony of a famous advocate of a pollutive, person-killing mode of transport attacking people who travel in a peaceful and eco-friendly manner is clearly lost on Clarkson himself.

Don’t have trekking nightmares

The incidents in Morocco, Korea and Nepal were tragic, to be sure. But such horrors are rare. For every hiker who gets desperately unlucky there are hundreds of thousands all over the world who ramble, hike, trek or fellwalk in safety and with pleasure.

Will trekking get you killed? Most likely not!

Is trekking dangerous pixabay royalty free image from Nepal of Mount Everest

It can be dangerous to trek. But if you’re kitted out properly, know what you’re doing and where you’re going, you’ll be a member of this happy bunch. Sure, there’s no denying that some risks are involved. But if we tried to live an entirely risk-free existence we’d run the risk of dying of boredom.

After all, 20 people a year die falling out of bed. Let’s all of us avoid beds. They can be dangerous you know.

We hope this answered the questions is hiking dangerous? And will trekking get you killed? Now check out this article about the most dangerous extreme sports as hiking and trekking don’t even get a look in.


Hiking, Trekking, Walking
Danger, Safety

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