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Mutual responsibility in mountaineering

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What do we take from mountaineering? Will the joy of victory be complete and pure if we realize that we have passed by someone else's misfortune? Will we be just as happy at the top if the stranger died before reaching it?

Сlimbers cross the ice plateau on Elbrus, one of my favorite photos

These questions should be asked at the very beginning of your passion for mountaineering, because the correct answer determines why we go to the mountains - for the sake of wretched vanity and the satisfaction of petty ambitions, or for full-fledged personal growth, for moral and physical development? After all, there will be no development if our passion is not based on an understanding of the basic ethical rules, the observance of which should not be influenced by either our social status or nationality - the mountains equalize everyone and give us the opportunity to show our most human qualities. Isn't that the proper value of mountain climbing?

Snow peaks of Dombai - Peak Ine, 3455m

In the mountains, we often encounter situations in which the safety of other people directly or indirectly depends on us - for many people that is a new, unknown level of responsibility, unusual and inapplicable in their normal, urban conditions of life. However, you need to understand that when climbing mountain peaks, participating in the mountain expeditions to remote areas, we expose ourselves to conditions in which, sometimes unexpectedly for ourselves, we get to a different level of responsibility for others, since our own life and safety depend on those who are next to us.

A distant view of Mount Elbrus from the east

Increasingly developing commercial relations between climbers in the growing business industry in mountaineering, make adjustments to the behavior of people in emergency situations. However, many just do not understand the specifics and try to apply the relationship pattern they are used, to the cases where it is obviously inapplicable.

Sunset panorama of the Main Caucasian Range

More than once in Russia I have heard stories that mutual assistance and support were inherent in the “Soviet school of mountaineering”, but in Western culture there is no idea of such mutual assistance. This is complete nationalistic nonsense. From time immemorial, in the maritime business, directly related to Western culture, there was an immutable international law - to come to the aid of all those in need at sea, to leave the route at the SOS signal, change course and do everything possible to save the lives of those in distress. This is a matter of survival in the sea, which, like the mountains, is an element of Nature beyond human control.

Peak Shkhara, the highest mountain of the Bezengi Wall

Entering into a relationship with the elements of the mountains, we put ourselves in the conditions where our life and safety become dependent on those people who, willingly or unwillingly, are nearby - and there will be no other help in the event of an accident. It doesn't matter if you are a client or a guide, whether your own or someone else's group is in trouble. It makes no difference, because help is needed immediately.

Round dance of rays at sunset. Amazing evening in the mountains of Georgia

Unfortunately, gloomy news regularly come about accidents in the mountains, in which the severity of the consequences is seriously aggravated by ridiculous actions, or by the complete indifference of people who were in close proximity and would be able to come to the rescue at a difficult moment. But they did not accept this responsibility and did not provide timely assistance.

Ascent to the top of Kel-Bashi, Bezengi region

I am sorry for few examples. Two roped guides fell down while climbing Elbrus, after which their clients continued to move up and made the desired ascent. The lives of two people in this case turned out to be less valuable than the ambitions and desire to get to the top. How much is the price of such a victory...?

Glacial crevasses on the route of Mont Blanc, France

When descending from Mount Ushba, a person dies of fatigue five meters from the tent, into which his partner, no less tired, has already got and fallen asleep...

Abandoned by the group, the climber, who fell into a crevasse on the glacier, dies of hypothermia, without having time to wait for the rescue team, for which his own group slowly went down.

Climbing in the mountains of the Eastern Caucasus

I won’t even touch on a whole set of stories about Mount Everest, where people die on the trail literally a step away from the other climbers, indifferently passing by - everyone has their own Sherpas, their own oxygen, their own hard-earned money spent on the expedition – why should they to stop?

Colorful sunset over the Main Caucasian Range. View from the east slopes of Elbrus

So, if we accept this as inevitable, if we explain our behavior by the fact that we paid the money and nothing else will concerns us? If we pass by those in distress, in the expectation that rescuers should come and do it for us, what will happen? It is logical that at a difficult moment we will be left without help in the situation, when everything depends on every minute, and any, even the most insignificant intervention of outsiders can help to save someone’s life.

Passing a difficult section of the snow ridge, climbing Mount Ushba

In the difficult conditions of the mountains, where many dangers threaten a person, trouble can come to any of us at any moment. Under these conditions, the level of responsibility for each other increases many times, and our own safety depends on how much we care about the safety of the people around us. This is the first rule of conduct in the mountains, at sea, in the taiga. The rule, tested by time. The rule, which became the Law - help to others, and they will help you.

The author of the text and photos - Alex Trubachev


Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.