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Accessory Climbing Routes Associated With More Rescue Operations Than the Main Climbing Route: A Retrospective 12-Year Report of Yushan National Park

  • Chun-Yen Kuo
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Chun-Yi Ho
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
    Search for articles by this author
  • Hong-Mo Shih
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

    Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Wei-Ling Lin
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Tai-Yi Hsu
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

    Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
    Search for articles by this author
  • Wei-Kung Chen
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Hang-Cheng Chen
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Hang-Cheng Chen, MD, No. 2, North District, Taichung City, 40447, Taiwan
    Affiliations
    Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

    College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

    Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
    Search for articles by this author

      Introduction

      This study compared the casualties and types of rescues conducted on the main climbing route (MCR) and accessory climbing routes (ACRs) in Yushan National Park (YSNP) between 2008 and 2019.

      Methods

      We collected the following information for all documented mountain rescue operations conducted on the MCRs and ACRs in YSNP between 2008 and 2019: accident location, casualty type, victim number, and type of rescue. The victims were categorized as to injury, illness, mortality, or no medical problem (NMP) groups according to their condition at the time of rescue.

      Results

      Two-hundred forty-four rescue operations involving 329 victims were conducted during the 12-y study period. Among them, 105 (32%) did not require medical treatment, 102 (31%) were injured, 82 (25%) were ill, and 40 (12%) were deceased. Of the 82 individuals with illness, 69 (84%) had acute altitude sickness. The accident and mortality rates on the ACRs were significantly higher than those on the MCR (P<0.001; χ2). The ACR incidents involved significantly higher percentages of helicopter-based rescues and victims in the NMP group (P<0.001).

      Conclusions

      Acute altitude sickness accounted for most of the rescues. ACRs had higher injury and mortality rates and required more helicopter-based rescues for patients who did not have medical problems. This study may serve as a reference to reduce casualties and overuse of helicopters by educating tourists on the appropriate use of maps and the evaluation of trails in relation to weather conditions.

      Keywords

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