Know when to turn back on the hills especially in the wind and in winter !

During your journey keep 4 important factors in mind.

I often get asked about the hills in winter and this winter at present has been mixed. It is so important not to judge your winter hill days by the Summer associated times in many guide books and web sites. Every day is different and winter can quickly return. A great idea is to plan your day get your map out and look at your route plan it. Work out what is your formula for every kilometre travelled and what time to climb each contour. There are many variants but it all depends on who is with you and your and there physical shape. Navigating in a white out takes great accuracy and time and even this weekend folk were saying high up the Goggles were essential. Here are a few thoughts.

To me one of the big stoppers on the hills is wind and trying to explain what a 80 – 100 mph wind can do you no matter who or how hard experienced you are. Two things to bare in mind I have seen big men blown over by the wind. Some of the most scariest things I have been involved in is in high winds. The other point if you are pushing the boundaries and you have gone out in extremely high winds if you have a problem who will come and get you? The helicopter sadly will not be able to get you it will be up to the Rescue Teams. They will come out and do there best. I know several folk who have been hurt on Rescues some pretty badly in high winds. Looking back on a few incidents on Rescues I would not do that again when we were out there in extreme conditions. We were extremely lucky.

During your journey keep 4 important factors in mind. The human element, the conditions,the terrain and the timing.

At a turning point, analysing these 4 factors will help you decide whether to continue or not.

For example in what kind of physical condition are you and your party.

Are the conditions and weather good?

Is the terrain acceptable?

Do you still have enough time?

Plan your route and remember guide book times are for Summer conditions.

Check weather and avalanche conditions. Think how many kilometres will you climb in an hour in deep snow? How many metres of ascent in an hour ?

Todays weather for Cairngorms winds – Southwesterly 50-70mph; risk 80mph with gusts 90-100mph Cairngorm plateau, particularly middle of day. Speeds easing marginally into afternoon, rarely less than 40-50mph.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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