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Mountaineering Research

Original Post
Molly Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Hi, I'm a design student working on research for my senior project, which will be all about mountaineering. I would appreciate your stories and feedback from your mountaineering adventures!

Tell a story about when you’ve been injured on a mountain? How did you get off?
How has this changed your experience/expectations for the future?
Can you tell me a story when you were in significant danger?
How many mountains have you summited or attempted to summit?
What medical equipment do you bring?
Have you been in a situation where you lost or forgot a very important piece of equipment?
Name some equipment you will not climb without?
What are some of your biggest challenges/fears?
Have you or a friend been stuck in a stressful/dangerous situation?
What is your favorite part of mountaineering? Best experience and why?
How much weight are you willing to carry?
What is the most frustrating thing about the ice axe you use?
What is the most frustrating thing about the crampons you use?
What is the most frustrating thing about the backpack you use?
Have you ever done a crevasse rescue or come close?
What is something you forget most often?
Have you had more close calls before or after the sun comes up?
What are some key elements in a good mountaineering philosophy?
What advice would you give to a new mountaineer?

Don MacKenzie · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 25

Hi Molly,
I suspect that this post will generate very little useful insight for you. I would suggest you consider the following:
- First of all, talk to your advisor. If they are remotely competent, they will be able to help you learn how to gather information like this in a more effective way.
- You can probably get some initial answers to many of these questions by reading individual posts and threads here and on other forums. For example, for the danger/injury questions, read the injuries/accidents forum, and pick up a few copies of Accidents in North American Mountaineering. For the gear questions, read a bunch of gear reviews to identify current shortcomings and perceived tradeoffs in specific types of gear.
- Related to the above: Your question list seems very scattershot. It is not clear what you are trying to learn, or why. You should try to focus your questions more on a specific problem. If you are still trying to identify what that problem is, see my previous comment.
- One thing you might try to posting here is a much more open ended way, such as "I'm doing my capstone design project on mountaineering equipment. What is your single largest complaint about any piece of gear that you have." Your current questions are both too general and too narrow.
- Once you have narrowed down to a specific topic (e.g. I want to create an improved crampon design), then a set of questions would be appropriate. I suggest creating a questionnaire using Google Forms or something similar, and then posting the link here along with an explanation of what you are doing.
- Keep the list of questions short. Talk to your advisor. When I advise my students, I tell them their job is to come up with questions, and my job is to cut the questions from the survey. You need to focus on what you really need to know. Superfluous questions will lead to respondent fatigue and attrition, costing you critical information.
- Pre-test your survey with a small group of people who are unfamiliar with the project, to identify questions that are poorly worded.
- Consider offering an incentive for survey completion. People respond well to drawings for prizes. Physical prizes work better than gift cards. Consider giving away a nice rope, or some other bit of kit that anyone in your target population would be happy to receive.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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