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When Will Pokémon Go Take People Rock Climbing

Pokémon Go is a new app that gets people outside following digital Pokémon characters on their screens. While the game is being blamed for car accidents, users being robbed, users being stabbed and users falling off cliffs, there are some upsides. In Scotland, users of the game have been lured to the hills to climb up to find the digital creatures in areas with very real objective hazards. The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCS) has found a number of them in the Cairngorms, which led them to issue a statement to people venturing into the hills for the first time.

Mountain safety adviser heather Morning with a Pokémon Go character in the Cairngorms. Source BBC
Heather Morning with a Pokémon Go character in the Cairngorms. Source BBC

Heather Morning, an MCS mountain safety adviser, said, “From a mountain safety perspective there are clearly a few issues here. It is not difficult to imagine a situation where a Pokémon Go gamer finds themselves lost and unable to find their way back to safety. It would be equally easy to see how someone could put themselves into danger focusing on their game rather than focusing on the ground in front of them. Another aspect of Pokémon Go is the game’s ability to eat your battery life.

“All the biggest battery-eating culprits are in action, and your screen is the biggest battery hog. On top of that, you will be using your camera, so that you can see the Pokémon in the real world. And to top it all off, the ever hungry GPS is a must to find the Pokémon in the first place. A classic combo for a dead phone very quickly. If your phone is your only tool for navigating your way out of wherever you have found yourself, then you are in for trouble.” She added that users in the mountains face real-life dangers and they must stay “switched on” to get home safely. In South Africa, one user found a character hovering off the edge of the well-known Table Mountain.

Some users have found characters at climbing gyms, such as the one below. There have been no reports of Pokémon creatures climbing the mountains in Canada or sending projects at Canadian crags. But, the game was just released in Canada last week. If you see someone wondering near a cliff-edge and staring at their phone at the top of Smoke Bluffs, Yamnuska, Niagara Glen, Val David or any other Canadian area, be sure to remind them of the dangers in the mountains. If you spot a Pokémon creature sending a route near you, let us know so we can report on the First Pokémon Ascent (FPA) of so and so.

I found this fella at the rock climbing gym