Safety Record at Philmont

Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 09:23:18 -0700
From: wmarkgriffin <>
Subject: RE: [Philmont] How Safe is Philmont?
(Note: Mark has since retired from Philmont and now is Scout Executive, Blue Mountain Council [Kennewick, WA])

It is not a secret and it is a great safety record. Considering that there are about 30,000 people here a year for at least a week and in many cases several months, it is amazing. It is a credit to the medical staff and the medical standards that Philmont enforces.

I have been directly involved with Philmont as a faculty member or a member of the staff since 1990. (As a participant starting in 1971)

Here are the 9 camper fatalities since my first summer (71).

1985-Fall at Window Rock (youth)
1985-Heart Attack @ Tooth
1988-Lightning Strike @ Cito
1989-Heart Attack @ Cito
1990-Asthma Attack @ Abreu (youth)
1992-Heart Attack @ Ute Gulch
1992-Heart Attack @ Base Camp
1996-Heart Attack @ Aguila (PTC conference adult)
1999-Asthma Attack @ Harlan (youth)
While one fatality is too many, I would contend that in any similar sized population over a nearly 30 year period there would be a lot more than this.

I also have some 1998 camper statistics from the Health Lodge:

There were 17 fractures

19 ingrown toenails

138 tetanus shots

66 ankle sprains

48 lacerations
There were 754 incidents (radio calls) in 1998 - 206 were dehydration.

Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 18:15:39 -0700
From: wmarkgriffin <>
Subject: RE: [Philmont] How Safe is Philmont?
(Note: Mark has since retired from Philmont)

Sorry, but I missed one! In the report I read it said there had been 9 camper fatalities since 1975. The 96 PTC heart attack at Aguila was not counted as a camper fatality (the report I have also says that that is the only PTC fatality since PTC started in 1950!)

The 9 camper fatalities include a 1998 heart attack of a 56 year old at Bear Caves. Sorry. That makes 10.

I am sure you have noticed that 6 of the 10 are heart attacks.

I have also been asked about a 1994 heart attack in base camp. It is not on the overall report, nor is it in the 1994 health lodge report. I will check on that when I get back to Philmont.

I still think that Philmont is a pretty safe place to be all things considered.

Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2000 21:51:41 -0700
From: The Evans <>
Subject: Safety Record at Philmont

[...] I was an Associate Chief Ranger in 1985 and was the Operations Leader for both of the PhilSAR's listed that year that resulted in fatalities. As a clarification, the heart attack victim on the Tooth in 1985 was a PTC participant hiking the Tooth on Sunday, the day off at PTC. This death is what resulted in the Urraca Trail being constructed for 1986 for use by PTC participants. [...]

Harry Evans

[Harry's message has been edited, removing comments on other topics.

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