2019-2021 : 3 years of scientific research on Mountain sports accidents

The Petzl Foundation continues to fund research into mountain sports accidents, with the University of Lyon 1. Maud Vanpoulle, a PhD student supported by the Petzl Foundation, analyses data from mountaineering, climbing and ski touring accidents to identify recurring scenarios. Our aim is to learn more about the risk factors, so that we can improve preventive measures, information and practices.

MARCH 2019

Première analyse des récits SERAC pour le rocher montagne et terrain d’aventure

  • Project partner:  L-Vis, Université Lyon 1
  • Country: France
  • Project type: Accident prevention
  • Budget: Coordination and financing of the thesis

The study has three main goals:

  • Quantitative analysis of mountain rescue data, centralized by the National Mountain Safety Observation System (SNOSM)
    SNOSM data is currently the biggest data source in France for mountain incidents. The goal of the study is to identify the most risky activities, victim profiles, recurring circumstances of accidents and their location. This statistical picture must bring solid foundations for realistic preventive measures.
  • Qualitative analysis of SERAC’s incident and accident reports and encouraging people to share their experiences
    The mountain community can use the SERAC database to share their own experiences and read about those of others. SERAC is a tool to learn and reflect about past events which mountain federations and professionals are now starting to use. The goal now is to further analyze the reports in order to base preventive measures and training on realistic detailed situations.
  • To better understand the role of conscious engagement in a risky situation
    Accidents often happen to experienced mountaineers who are able to analyze the risks they are taking. Through qualitative interviews, we examine individual perceptions and acceptance of risk, as well as personality-types that may influence their engagement in a situation, even though the risks have been partially or completely identified.

Report your accident or near-miss experience in the mountains on the SERAC database on

SERAC is a database of incident and accident reports, accessible to all mountain sports enthusiasts, on the website. This database was launched in 2016 in collaboration with the University of Lyon 1, the Petzl Foundation and the Camptocamp community, in order to learn from each other’s experiences, whether they are serious accidents or near-misses.

Share your story on camptocamp/serac - By adding a report:

  • You turn your experience into a learning situation for the entire community
  • You help to build collective intelligence
  • You facilitate prevention recommendations and accidentology research

Témoignage de Maud Vanpoulle

PhD student in accidentology, L-Vis, University of Lyon 1 / Petzl Foundation, future mountain guide

Maud VanpoulleUltimately, our aim is to better understand the multiple processes involved in an accident scenario, as well as the barrier processes that prevent it from turning into a dramatic event.

Uploaded in March 2019



Since 2012, the Petzl Foundation has funded research into mountain sport accidents. Our long-term aim is to improve prevention. (...)

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