Hillwalking in the heat! Some tips.

Over the years I was very lucky to learn about walking in the heat during my time in Desert Rescue in Masirah in the Persian Gulf. Nothing can compare with the Temperatures out there are incredible and it took a lot to learn to walk or work in that heat. I was off loading planes and ships out in the open and it took some getting used to. We knew very little about heat stroke or exhaustion but carried lots of water on the hill and fruit in tins !

Masirah how not to dress / see water container.

Average Weather at Masirah

The hot season lasts for 2.3 months, from 17 April to 26 June, with an average daily high temperature above 33°C. The hottest day of the year is 13 May, with an average high of 35°C and low of 27°C

The cool season lasts for 2.6 months, from 8 December to 26 February, with an average daily high temperature below 28°C. The coldest day of the year is 16 January, with an average low of 20°C and high of 26°C.

At the end of the weekend with the desert rescue you could lose a lot of weight and looking back it was a huge learning curb.

Some tips that worked for me:

Drink plenty of fluid before you go! We had a saying drink like a camel.

Wear a head covering hat etc and I always covered my neck with a “bandana” that I would wet whenever possible.

Go slower, drink a little and often and in your water use an additive electrolytes to replace salts etc lost by sweating.

Check the colour of your urine when you can. The darker the more dehydrated you are.

Wear comfortable clothing carry long sleeved shirt trousers and have your breaks when possible in the shade. Also if there’s a breeze on the summit use it to cool down.

Top up your fluid from the rivers and burns whenever possible.

Use sun screen often and replace on the hill it’s easy to sweat of!

Skin cancer is serious and I wish we knew had known about it when I was working in the early 70’s. I have lost several pals due to skin cancer.

Sunglasses are essential look after your eyeless

When travelling back home in car rehydrate and replace lost fluid. Keep an eye on folk in your group for heat exhaustion/heatstroke it can be a killer, there is little water high up just now so ensure you carry enough.

Comments welcome :

Paul / “It’s easy to get caught out despite being supposedly experienced. I very nearly crossed the boundary the other day. The walk in was hot and I struggled to get enough fluid onboard. Limited water above 450m meant that I pushed a bit too much to get the day done which pushed me closer to heat stroke. I knew it was happening but foolishly felt it was still in my control”

Paul “the days when I’d carry 2 or 3 litres of water are long gone. I carry a litre now and rely on the hill to provide. I’ll be more careful in future. Arran looks fab, I’ll have to revisit some day” David Whalley of course. Us sensible people are also dafties. I’ve never done the central knoydart hills and I think I underestimated how much the walk-in takes out of you. 7 miles and 600m ascent. Even experienced you get to a point where luck is not on your side but I tried to rationalise my day even when I knew I’d maybe pushed it a bit far. I think the big point is, when you’re initially dehydrated, water is your primary concern so you forget to eat and get energy onboard which compounds the problem. You can also make nav judgements and errors because of this. Luckily I wasn’t at that point. It was still hard to force food and drink down me when I had the opportunity though. We are strange beasts.

Robin / Ogwen Valley MRT have just been to a heat stroke on Carneddau Dafydd. Man doing the 14/15 peaks, low on water …I got close in the desert a few years ago. The answer was to have a good dose of electrolytes first thing and that helped in 40c plus temperatures.

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 when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, Gear, Health, Hill running and huge days!, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hillwalking in the heat! Some tips.

  1. Jim higgins says:

    Best thing I ever purchased was a two litre platypus rehydration pack. Basically a poly bag with a hose. Not only does it do away with the need to constantly stop to take your pack off to retrieve your bottle but it saves the temptation to guzzle your water and thus piss it all out. I find that taking small sips from the hose every few minutes gives me much more energy, especially at the end of a long day in the hill. Being able to do this on the move is a big plus. With of course tea, coffee, soup and juice for lunch stops.

    Liked by 1 person

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