Thank you for the many comments on my piece on the power of the wind in the Mountains. Nowadays forecasts are very accurate and we have far more information on the weather and what to expect. Many of us still get caught out and unless you have experienced a strong wind most folk have no clue. Many think a 35 knot wind is far stronger than it is so it can be hard to gauge wind speeds. If it is blowing me and I cannot speak to folk with me its about 50 – 60 knots. That means to me get out of here time. Gusts are the ones that get you and if you are near a cornice or steep ground its easy to get blown over. I am very aware of the power of the wind often I thought we we invincible we are not. No matter how fit you are it only takes a gust to smash you into rocks or worse. Please be aware of the weather and plan your day accordingly. Many thanks for the honesty of a few pals who have allowed me to re quote them. We need honesty to pass on these messages. Be safe and enjoy the mountains.
Power of the Wind – “The RAF Wessex helicopter moving backwards, hovering over the tourist path on the Ben during the annual hill race, trying to pick up a casualty. Even though we were moving backwards the forward air speed indicator was showing 70 knots. (around 80 mph).
I think the Oban Times (or Press and Journal) later reported the unexpected sudden weather change for that race as ‘the worst hill storm in living history’ !
1988, I think. Wessex Pilot George Phillips
George it was 1988 just checked !
|03/09/88||Ben Nevis||15 race casualties. A real epic. Weather 40 knots – 10 wind-chill, driving rain, epic flying by RAF Wessex we ran out of stretchers and gear.|
There were 15 casualties.
A mountaineers Tale – A similar thing happened on my Winter ML this time to my assessor who disappeared over the cliffs trying to catch his rucksack with radio, fortunately several minutes later he reappeared and uttered these immortal words nose to nose and eye to eye ” Ron, you are not on assessment now, I don’t care how you do it, just get us back to the snow-hole….” we crawled trying not to get blown over the edge, lost all the maps bar the one that Jim in the Lodge stores had told me to stuff down my front just in case! Compasses broke, gloves disappeared, goggles froze up and no communication for two days. When we eventually got down we learned that the Lodge had been evacuated and roads closed due to snow and winds of 130mph on the plateau!
Winds make me nervous, very nervous, not sure why!!!! it’s hard to explain to a lot of the youngsters and young instructors brought up with mobile phones, social media, more reliable weather and avalanche reports along with HASAW what it was actually like just a few decades ago!
Ron Walker Mountain Guide.
Photo – The result of being picked up by a gust of wind (recorded travelling at 130mph) and being carried through the air for 25 metres, before being slammed into a pile of boulder P. Greening
There are three good things that you get out of the mountains. You meet people, you meet battle and beauty. The people are true, the battles are the only ones worth fighting and the beauty is life itself.
I miss the mountains for sure…but never saw one that was worth dying for….. BEST ADVICE
Jan 2020 Dougie Crawford
Please if you have a tale that you wish to share about a Mountaineering Mishap then please get in touch we can all learn from mistakes.
Thanks all for your comments and also I am fine a few thought it was my ankle that was battered. It was a mate a few years ago.