Some good comments from yesterday’s blog on Training in wild conditions.

Please note yesterday’s blog was not an ego article but an insight into the mindset of the times. The point I was trying to make was that we trained very hard to do the job we did. I got to know what a 40 mph wind was like and how hard it was to control look after each other in winds and weather. You learn about wind, snow conditions etc. There was only one radio in each party in the early days 70’s and no GPS, good weather reports limited communication and avalanche information. I would get my information from Blyth Wright one of those behind the eventual SAIS service we have today. I was always asking advice if we were off on a call – out in the wilder parts of Scotland no matter what time I called he would assist. I took a great interest in Avalanches after my early epic on Lancet Edge in 1972!

Wind speeds !

As I stressed it was all a huge responsibility on the young leaders and the Team Leaders with an organisation I feared at times would not support us if it all went wrong! Yet we built a trust I felt we had to make all the tram self reliant and we would have the capacity to help each other if all went wrong.

Stu MacKenzie RAF MRT – “Yes thats ok and read abd agree with the content. 50 years ago we were out on the Monadhliaths and the weather was so bad, blizzard, we decided to turn back and get off the hill. Next day we were out looking for the party of schoolkids who all perished bar one. So sad, but it was all down to experience and decision making.” (The Cairngorm Disaster)

Ally – Everyone’s training is their responsibility, standards are achieved by experience, learning Hill craft and understanding your responsibility. No one is a expert we just learn how to use the hills. Fab article..

I think on the RAF Mrt side fitness and our relative youth, helped offset slightly weaker area knowledge because as you said we covered large areas. If you could put in say 25-30km in on the hill, you’d learn more of the area, the same with climbs or scrambles. The youth angle aided recovery, we’ve all had those jobs where you’ve barely eaten tea in the bothy and you’re back out up the hill on a callout, potentially all night, or even turned around in the car park back uphill.

I always saw fitness being key to making good decisions, if you aren’t physically wrecked ploughing uphill or in tough conditions you can think clearer or more wisely, especially as a party leader when you’re responsible for others who are less experienced.

Darren Summerson – RAF MR Team Leader

Ryan – Torridon

Great article Heavy, not only honest but pure. To be able to rescue climbers or recover a body successfully in what can be the most harrowing conditions we must also train in these conditions to be the best we possibly can and to stay safe. I never understood why fair weather walkers wanted to join MRT, maybe it was just for the badge.

Neil – Lakes

A good read Heavy and totally agree sometimes the hardest decision is the one that’ll save yours or team members lives. When a team member has an accident on a rescue it’s the worst situation we found that out for sure.

Andrew Wolfstone RAF MRT

Darren Summerson along with what sumo said, fitness got troops out of trouble a lot I think, nav errors being a main one, because the guys were so fit they would just turn around and carry on. Normal hill goers were probably only for enough for the day planned barring any mistakes.

The winter course was a big eye opener for me, going from joining the team and sleeping every Sunday on the drive home to teaching on the winter course where you’re on the hill for almost 2 weeks straight. Most of the students were part time and only out 2 days a week. Hats off to them.

A great read as well

Alan Jackson -Another good read Heavy. Regular, hard training in any activity slowly builds a high level of fitness for body and mind which is essential for clear thinking and coping with developing situations in a hostile environment. In my experience, it only becomes apparent just what a high level of fitness has been achieved when returning to that activity after you have had to stop through injury or other circumstances. We may have experience but trying to regain that previous level of fitness can take much longer than we think.

Great advice in this Classic

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 Avalanche info, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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