On The Day
Welcome to the fourth in our series of posts on mountain safety and planning a day out in the mountains. Previously we’ve discussed plotting a route, considering the weather and what kit you might need. This time we talk about what to be aware of on the day of your walk.
If you’re walking in a group then consider having a briefing at the start
Discuss the weather. Is there a time when the weather might change? Is rain forecast or will wind speed increase?
Check everyone has the correct kit.
Ask if anyone has had any recent illness or injuries within the group. Make sure they speak up if they have any issues, talk about blister prevention and what to do if they can feel a blister appearing.
Go over the route with the group so they know the terrain they’ll be walking, how long they are expected to be out etc. Also, if you’re carrying a spare map then give it someone who can follow it.
Make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency and who to contact, swap mobile numbers if needed in case someone gets separated.
The first hour will dictate the sort of day you will have as it pertains to group fitness. Is everyone moving well? How does everyones fitness look? Do the group look capable?
Take time to observe what the weather is doing throughout the day. Are clouds closing in? Is it getting colder or hotter? If the weather gets worse then consider backing off. The mountains arent going anywhere so dont get summit fever.
Is the route and terrain safe? Is the footpath in good condition or the ground under foot steady? If you’re taking on a more technical route that involves scrambling then is it what you’re expecting? Again, if it feels “off” then it probably is so back off and make safe choices.
Make sure you take time for regular breaks and time for lunch. Stop and drink water, little and often if needs be, as hydration is important.
When stopping to let people catch up with those at the front then make sure those at the back have the same time on a break.
If the group is stringing out then consider putting some of the slower people at the front.
This is when most accidents occur so think about foot placement on steep terrain and take your time. Don’t rush it. The pub isnt going anywhere.
If you can think of anything else to consider while out then please feel free to comment. In the final article we’ll discuss what to do in an emergency.