Letter: Canyon tragedy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: What is it that drives thousands to risk their lives in the pursuit of pleasure, asks John Davison ("The thrill-seekers", 29 July).

It's not thousands, it is millions, risking injury and death in such things as horse riding, skiing, playing rugby, taking drugs, driving faster than one should. We do these things because they are pleasurable. The desire for the reward outweighs the perception of risk.

Nevertheless, the distinction between skill sports like climbing and recreational activities like bungee jumping is a key one. As a climber I have learnt to make my own carefully considered judgements. The customer who signs up for a bungee jump is entirely dependent on the provider, and is entitled to expect the minimum risk.

The uncertainty in canyoneering is the risk of environmental hazards, particularly flash floods. In other respects the activity can be well controlled and "safe".

It's your choice. You can decide to stay at home, sit on the couch and watch TV. And maybe find that later in life you are obese, unfit, hypertensive - and bored.


Association of Mountaineering Instructors

Deganwy, Gwynedd