Cold Bivouac’s – what’s yours ?

Most of the bivouacs in my early days in these days the bivouac gear was basic. Orange polythene bags were the standard. This was the early 80’s a few on call-outs. My worst one was on Skye in 1982 on the USA F111. I have written about this in previous blogs. On my Big walks when we had to find a bothy we stayed in the platform at Bridge of Orchy station.

Myself & Jim Morning Bridge of Orchy railway station.

All this was good training for what was to come. We got issued with Gortex bivouac bags they were a great improvement from the unbreathable polythene bags. They were a great asset not just for us but casualties.

I located this photo below from my old pictures it was on my first trip to the Himalayas in 1990. It was to Kusung Kanguru 6,367 m (20,889 ft). It was a huge learning curb. We were supposed to move up and stay the night and the other two were going to descend. Anyway we had to bivy outside that night it was a Baltic and we learned a lot. This wad especially true for Willie Mac who had an epic Bivy on Diran Peak ( Pakistan Viewed from the Hunza Valley, Diran is a gentle pyramid and is considered to be the second easiest 7000m peak in the Karakoram after Spantik, although it has a reputation for avalanches. The Karakoram Highway runs up the Hunza Valley and gives easy access to the mountain. This 7,266-metre (23,839 ft) pyramid shaped mountain lies to the east of Rakaposhi

Myself and Willie Mac at 17000 feet names on bivouac bags in frost. Gortex bivouac in action.

The summit boys bivouacking at 20000 feet on Diran at 20000 feet after there tents were taking out by a big avalanche. Summit group Dan, Vanders, Guy (RIP) Davy , Willie.

Pakistan – Diran the summit team on the Col at 20000 feet photo Dan Carrol.
Bivouac bag in action below Tower Ridge!

Over the years we used bothy bags and tents on overnight crash guards a big improvement from these early days. The tent was a great improvement if we were there for a few nights especially on aircraft crashes.

Tent at crash site on Creag Mheagaidh.

Comments welcome !

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 Aircraft incidents, Alaska, Books, Enviroment, Expeditions - Alaska - Himalayas etc, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cold Bivouac’s – what’s yours ?

  1. I’ve had some uncomfortable bivvies, but the coldest was indoors! Back in the 1980s I stayed in Corrour Bothy (the pre-renovation one) one February night when the temperature in Braemar was reported -28 degrees C. Lay awake all night listening to katabatic winds periodically roaring down the hillside and in the morning my groundsheet was frozen to the concrete floor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim higgins says:

    In our schoolboy pocket money mountaineering days tents were a luxury. Our first tent was a rubber coated canvas ex army patrol tent bought second hand from a pal for £2. It was obscenely heavy with thick wooden poles and no ground sheet. Imagine that. The previous owner had washed it and attempted to steam iron it leaving a big melted iron shaped hole in the rubber coating. The water poured in at the least sign of rain.
    It went in the bin very quickly and the scadging of a barn from any obliging farmers soon preceded on any weekend hikes. I have many stories of barning it, as we called it.
    My memories of orange bags was emptying anything up to a pint of condensation from them in the morning. Many places you may know provided surprising rough comfort for an emergency sleep. Aichintee house at the foot of the Nevis path, Darnaw (or darned darnaw as we renamed it near the forest lodge and the opposite side of Polmadie burn from Shiel o Castlemaddy. On hitching trips public toilets and even a telephone box made do.
    I am so glad of the life I have had.

    Liked by 1 person

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