“Decathlon effect” and “Calleja effect”: The risk of jumping into the mountains

For some time there has been noise in the media about a phenomenon that has been called “Decathlon effect” and “Calleja effect”. This refers to the growing increase in cases of risk and emergency in mountaineers and people who practice this sport. On this occasion we want to echo this event that fills the emergency services that every year have to deal with more emergency cases in this area with concern.

It is true that the vast majority of us like to be in contact with nature, and what better way to go out to practice sports outdoors. But fashion is currently throwing us to the mountain to practice extreme sports such as mountaineering or climbing. This boom is what has increased emergency cases, and behind them there are many people without experience or knowledge of the adversities and risks involved in the sports of these sports. Precisely this is what we want to highlight to avoid repeating these episodes.

What the Civil Guard says about it

If we go to official sources we can see a clear evolution in the cases of mountain emergencies with people practicing this type of sports. Since 1981, which is the first year in which they began to register these cases, and in which 64 mountain rescues were documented, to this day, things have changed a lot. In 2015, the Civil Guard registered more than 1,500 cases of mountain rescues , a figure that greatly concerns the security forces. In addition, the cases that were registered before were of people with experience and skilled in the matter. At present the vast majority are amateurs who barely know the inclemency of the mountain or the risks that this sport entails.

The influence of television programs

This increase in cases the Civil Guard blames for several reasons, as published at the time the Confidendial. Among them is what they call the “Decathlon effect” or “Calleja effect”. This means that more and more people are more motivated to perform this type of high risk sports due to the proliferation of television programs that show adventures and mountain routes in which they are not very dangerous and very exciting. This makes the interest increase by the practice of this sport in people who do not have any preparation in the matter and who think that doing mountain activities is simply taking a walk.

The ease of finding any equipment one of the causes

To this we must add the ease of getting a proper mountaineering equipment. This is what is called “Decathlon effect” and refers to the proliferation of large areas in which the facilities that give us any to equip ourselves for the practice of any sport are high. This closeness and ease when it comes to equipping us makes us feel more secure when it comes to practicing risk activities like mountaineering. We went to the mountain with all the equipment, but without the most important, the necessary experience to know how to respond to any contingency. Before the appearance of these large surfaces it was much harder to get a complete equipment, so it was more difficult for inexperienced people to launch themselves into the mountains.

The mountain is more dangerous than we think

We must not forget that the mountain is a hostile environment. It has nothing to do hiking through a delimited route and a controlled terrain, which is launched to a wild mountain and in which we are exposed to inclement weather. One thing to keep in mind is that in the mountains weather conditions change from one moment to another, and what started with a sunny day can turn into rainy, foggy … To this we must add risks that the terrain itself has and that a beginner does not take into account, since it is necessary a previous preparation of the route to know the best way …

Mountain sports without medical examinations nipreparation

Above all the most striking fact that the Civil Guard provides refers to people who practice sports in the mountains such as the ultra trail and the enduro. Both modalities are races that are carried out with different intensities and tests in the mountains and are the culprits of most emergencies. The problem, as we mentioned before, is the lack of experience in the mountains or the lack of a previous medical test for the realization of this activity, since in Spain it is not obligatory to present medical reports to participate in this type of competitions or in others such as marathons …

All these reasons are what are putting the security forces on alert, and for that reason we want to make everyone aware that there are countless sports that can help us achieve unique adventures and experiences without risking our lives. It is always necessary to control at all times the activity that we are going to do and that simply with good equipment and a good attitude is not enough. So if we want to practice activities in the mountains it is better to start little by little with someone who will teach us their dangers and the possibilities that are presented to us in this environment.

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