I have just read Kevin Woods update on his traverse of all the Munro’s this winter. The storms keep coming yet Kevin is still pushing on. Yesterday he did the 7 Munro’s of the South Clunnie of Kintail.
Kevin is very honest in his updates he speaks openly of the effect of trip on him, it’s well worth reading. The constant battering every day with the storms coming through and the constant high winds can take its toll. Kevin wore an ear plug on the hill the other day and found it effective. He also says he had to be very aware of the ever changing snow conditions. The high winds and fresh snow add to the concentration needed to travel safely. Avalanches do not just occur in climbing areas. I wonder how many winter mountaineers care aware of this. There have been a few big avalanches in the Kintail area – sadly a few fatalities. The hills are steep and the big Corries and ridges need care in heavy snow.
The South Clunnie in summer and winter was a classic day for the RAF Mountain Rescue troops. We used to add on The Saddle and Sgur Na Sgine. In winter it’s a big day and one I did a few times.
As I was out over 150 days we often had long days in the hills in bad weather. It became at times Groundhog Day. To elevate this as a lot was navigation and fitness training I would take a radio cassette with me and listen to the radio in the afternoon.
The troops would be navigating and I would be aware but with my earphones getting a break. A few times I had to stop and sort things out but it was great to be able to keep up to date with the football scores/ rugby results at times. On cup final day or a big match I would meet folk and update them of the scores .
The wind can be horrendous and is the thing that can stop you, most people over estimate the wind speed they are in. Winds can pick you up and throw you over cliffs and into rocks. Always be aware of the power of nature and how as humans we are very vulnerable.
On Everest as a few of our group had been before the Tibet side before it is frequently hit by high winds. We took a hut with us to escape the noise of the constant wind. Thats another story!