Updated: Jun 5, 2020
More Mountain Survival
by Ryan Thomson
Those of you who are regular readers of Adventure Wild may remember our first guest post by Ryan from one of my favourite Facebook groups who wrote an insightful post on Mountain Survival which you can catch up on now if you have not yet read it.
Ryan has followed up on the first post and we are able to bring you more mountain survival tips for your adventures.
Always tell someone where you are.
Let them know an exact grid of your start point on arrival.
Have a detailed 48hr weather report and check for updates.
Leave a route plan and the direction of the route at home.
Plus the map sheets and ETA of the walk.
Take safety extremely seriously if possible complete a first aid course before your adventure and keep it up to date.
Consider other training courses on navigation and basic survival skills. There are lots of course available.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Even on British mountains, the weather can change quickly and other factors can change. It is easier than you think for something to go wrong and become a serious situation. On one such trip, a friend Ryan was with began exhibiting early onset signs of hypothermia.
Signs of hypothermia: “Mumbles, Stumbles, Grumbles, Fumbles” so heading back to a point of safety has to be a number one priority.
Getting back to the car Ryan’s friend was so cold. This momentarily distracted Ryan away from his kit. Which unfortunately resulted in him leaving his rucksack when they set off in the car.
Ensure your equipment is always expertly packed.
This is how Ryan packs his kit:
I have Red Goretex top and bottoms. These get packed in a red waterproof bag.
All my extremity kit - gaiters, gloves and hat are black and get packed in a black waterproof bag.
My warm Rab is green and gets packed in a green bag.
Lighting in a yellow bag.
Medical kit in blue.
So with a head torch at night I can colour coordinate what I’m grabbing.
I am trained in both day and night navigation and always follow the rules of telling someone where I am. At all times, always.
I won’t compromise on safety referring back to the friend with early hypothermia. I placed my friend in the car and turned the heater on. I stayed with her, we talked about food.
My priority was getting her off the mountain. To a warm pub for food so she could re-warm slowly.
No matter how experienced you are, always make sure that your kit is secure, waterproof and no straps to tangle you up.
You understand about weather, wind, fronts. First light & last light times and hill angles.
Ensure people know where you are and a time to call mountain rescue if not down by a certain time.
Download the What 3 Words app to assist in location mapping in case of a rescue. Know how to map read and not rely on digital aids, so you can use a compass, take a bearing and count pace.
How to take back bearing and resection.
You have food, water, warm and wet weather clothing.
Spare batteries, waterproofed.
Phone charging kit.
How to contact mountain rescue.
How to give a grid reference.
First your kit, then yourself.
DO NOT SWITCH OFF FOR ONE SECOND.
UNTIL ALL PEOPLE IN GROUP ARE ACCOUNTED FOR.
ALL KIT IS SECURE.
AND MEMBERS AT HOME INFORMED OFF THE HILLS AS TO NOT WORRY AND SCRAMBLE MOUNTAIN RESCUE.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS and DO NOT TAKE RISKS.
DO NOT OPERATE OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
Colour coordinated canoe bags are a life changer.
I tend to put my Goretex in a red one and tend to buy red. I am not a fashion follower and do not care about the latest hill colour or forest casuals. I buy with safety in mind always. My down jackets are either orange or green and get packed in orange or green as these colours stand out. Medical and survival are in a blue bag. Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival kit is a brilliant design by him and Gerber, a hypothermia blizzard blanket is orange one side thick foil the other, I have a US Army one which is immense, and a top-quality first aid kit to cover most eventualities. Lighting such as torches goes in yellow to replicate the yellow light. I buy all my extremity kit black - gloves, hat, Goretex socks and gaiters - these go in a black one.
The way to pack Medical and survival are at the bottom as chances are you won’t need it but it’s there if you do: these situations are normally thankfully rare, but always pack it. The old saying “I’d rather carry it and not need it than need it and not have it” should spring to mind here.
The weather tells me if my Goretex or my Rab comes first, before the other.
Wet day - Goretex Windy day - Rab An overcast day looking like the potential to rain - Goretex On top sits extremity kit in black as chances are this will be getting used first Top pouch - lighting - black diamond storm and Petzl emergency. These are easy to reach if needed with spare batteries that are waterproofed. The hip pouch on my Cobra I keep a Suunto Global compass in Degrees and a Silva in Mils with a silva map distance measurement tool for accurate distance measurement A good idea if you are pacing at night is to carry a tally counter to click every hundred metres. This has proved an invaluable tool for me at night.
Map Kit Ortlieb bags Staedtler lumicolours Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook - good for writing grids or doing a route card China graphs to mark maps and draw on areas where forestry may be felled that can throw you. So you should always alter your map accordingly to what you physically see on the ground. A book I recommend is the Ultimate Navigation Manual by Lyle Brotherton.
You can access the Basic Navigation Skills e-book by Lyle in our exclusive resource library when you join our free Wild Club.
Over To You…
We hope that you have found this post useful and would love to hear your thoughts, and top tips on how you prepare, pack and provision for mountain hiking. Comment below and also find us on social media as @AdventureAcces and use the hashtag #AdventureWild.
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