Hard as it may be to believe, most climbing accidents happen due to human error. Yes, while equipment safety is vital, knowing what you’re doing when you tackle those rocks is vital, make no mistake, your gear can fail you too. This is why it is of the highest priority to be well prepared before taking off.
To let you get on with your preparations, here’s the minimalistic guide to safety during your next rock climbing trip – the absolute minimum you need to do to keep safe before departure..
Your climbing checklist
By now, you have also read many books, blogs and articles about what to leave and what to pack, yet the basics remain the same. So let’s go over them together.
- you have checked all your gear … twice.
- you pack a few days in advance. Sometimes you remember something that can come in handy that didn’t make it to the little handwritten checklist that you so solemnly swear by.
- you inform your family that you are traveling to a remote location and for how long you will be gone. Family members seem to like having this information, even though normally they can do nothing with it.
- you have medical travel insurance. I repeat: make sure you have reliable medical travel insurance. (Remember, think of granny waiting at home for you to return safely)
Why You Need Medical Travel Insurance
What’s the big deal? You figure that if you have either private medical insurance or qualify for state medical care, then there shouldn’t be an issue, right? Maybe not. Travel insurance has existed for a long time and for good reason.
Reason 1: If you plan to leave the borders of your own country, don’t underestimate how expensive medical services can be in another country. If you are in an accident that isn’t even your fault, you will likely need to pay upfront if a specific travel medical insurance does not cover you. Nobody wants to get stuck in a costly situation like that.
Reason 2: What if something happens to anyone in your family? You are on your way to having the rock climbing experience of your life, but granny has a stroke, and you have to help your family with her care. Is all hope lost? Are your expenses paid for your trip flushed away? It won’t be if legitimate medical travel insurance adequately covers you.
Reason 3: Of course, the obvious reason everyone always sees first is the risk of physical injury. Not to be downplayed, but this is a very real and relevant reason to definitely get medical travel insurance. Murphy’s law stipulates that you will hurt yourself on that single expedition that you choose to forfeit insurance based on all your previous successes. Climbers, in particular, should refrain from taking such risks and always put safety first above everything else.
And yes, reason 4: Aside from falling off a mountainside in a strange land where nobody speaks your language, you can also pick up other illnesses that can cripple your journey, such as food poisoning. Often the water in foreign countries can upset your digestive system. Traveling into the wild means you will use natural resources, and assuming you have a guide or are a seasoned climber, you should be fine. But what happens when you are not? That is the day when you thank your stars that you signed up with a competent medical travel insurance company.
What We Recommend
So, where do you start? Speaking to your guide in advance or fellow climbers would be a good idea. Generally, they have also taken out insurance in the past and have hopefully never had to use it until one teammate tells you his tales about “this one time…” and that’s where you should pay attention.
We have played it safe with SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. They offer three types of insurance coverage when you are abroad.
- Nomad Insurance – a travel medical insurance covering people from all over the world, while outside their home country.
- Remote health company – global health insurance for remote workers, nomads as well as remote startups and teams.
- Remote health individual (coming soon)
SafetyWing understands that we travel more today; we are at a higher risk of injury when we are traveling and climbing in particular. We are at a place where we are more spontaneous and more fearless. The whole world is shifting how they travel and work, and now everyone knows someone who works from home, and often that “home” is not their home country.
This means you can purchase Nomad Insurance even if you are already abroad. The fee includes two children under the age of 10 if you aren’t already conditioning your kid nephew to fall in love with rock climbing. Right up to age 39 years old, Nomad Insurance will cover you for an entire four weeks for only USD 42. I am yet to meet someone who will show me their unforeseen medical bills for under USD 42.
At the end of the day, it comes down to how well prepared you are physically. Did you pack your helmet and leave a note on the fridge for the family, but are you adequately covered in the rare event that you fall down and injure yourself beyond what the average first aid kit can handle.That is the real question. It pays to pay for medical travel insurance and to get home safely to tell the tale while you are (secretly) already preparing for your next journey.