Are you ready for the change to winter?

Hopefully we have still got some summer left but I have not been out for a while but heading West this weekend. So I had a look at my kit. My summer bag was light.

I have added some more gear to my bag !

Warm gloves ( plus a spare) A better hat for winter and a buff.

My winter waterproofs are in. Bothy bag checked and torches. I carry two. Worth checking your torch after every trip.

I carry a small flask in winter well worth the weight.

My phone battery is also checked as is my map and compass. It’s easy to break a compass that has been in your bag all summer.

I noticed when I was teaching navigation last year that a lot of guys rely on their phone as a watch. I still use a watch especially for navigation legs and timing . Comments ?

A few tips / Get away early have a cut of point in the day to be down low it’s not easy coming down steep ground in the dark!

Practice navigation now before your in that white out. This is the time to check your taking of bearings timings etc.

Goggles to me are essential in winter. As are glasses if you need them to read the map or your phone.

When the snow comes Practising ice axe arrest 10 years ago is not so good. Practice every year. Go out with someone experienced and learn about ice axe breaking and crampon use. my advice even better take a course. You will not regret it!

Your route for the day all the Munro guides give summer time’s for hill days. In winter it all changes. Routes are dependant on weather and snowfall . Read the forecasts and the Avalanche report (this starts mid December) it will give you a guide to what’s been happening high up. Use these tools there free.

Remember wind has a huge effect on the hill. We always overestimate the wind speed read and understand what the speeds are and the effects on your day.

Eat well before hand porridge is a great fuel hydrate and have some food handy that you can eat on the move.

Carry a small duvet that you can use in an emergency or during your breaks . Plan for what to do if someone has a problem on the hill?

Are your boots in good condition ensure your soles are not worn out . This is the time of year for slippy wet grass ! A slip can be very serious.

Winter is a great time of year but you can prepare yourself for it. Plan a sensible day and remember “the hills are always there the secret is to be there with them”.

There are few paths in winter it’s a lot of route finding and constant checking of navigation.

Do not be a follower we all have our part to play on a day on the hills. Take an active part in the navigation check the leaders bearings and timings. It’s so easy to put the hood up and leave it to others?

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, Avalanche info, Enviroment, Equipment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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