HOW TO STAY SAFE IF YOU GET STUCK ON THE HILLS

Phil Sanderson, Instructor at Glenmore Lodge National Outdoor Training Centre, shows us how to stay safe if you get stuck on the hills for a while

Illustration photo of HOW TO STAY SAFE IF YOU GET STUCK ON THE HILLS

There can be a number of situations which require being static on the hillside for a few hours – from dealing with simple hazards such as waiting for a swollen stream level to drop after prolonged rain, to more serious situations such as waiting for Mountain Rescue to arrive for an injured party member.

On a bright sunny day with good views, sitting tight on the hill is not a problem. It is more likely to be during poor weather with approaching darkness that problems could occur. So how can we make our extended visit on the hill a bit more bearable?

Weather conditions such as temperature, wind and rainfall all combine to allow the onset of hypothermia if left unchecked so it’s imperative we reduce the effects of these factors.

Shelter is the first consideration, and a lightweight group shelter can reduce the effects of both wind and rain. They are produced in a range of sizes and the large ones are able to provide shelter for a whole group, ensuring that body temperatures remain stable as the group will benefit from the shared body heat.

Insulation is next – extra layers including a hat and gloves will reduce heat loss. A survival bag for each individual is advisable and by using a head-first entry into the bags you can add a small air hole, which I believe to be the most efficient way to trap warm air.

Try sitting off the cold ground by using the foam back of a rucksack or a rucksack packed with vegetation as a cushion – this will reduce further heat loss to the ground. Lastly, carry spare food and fluids as this will help fuel your body and maintain temperature during your extended stay.

The following items in your rucksack will help to make any unexpected extra hours on the hillside more manageable without adding too much weight:

[1] Group shelter, eg. Terra Nova Bothy 2 Superlite or Bothy 8

[2] Survival bag, eg. Blizzard Blanket, Blizzard Bag

[3] Extra synthetic insulated jacket, eg. North Face hooded Thermoball Jacket

[4] Extra hat and gloves

[5] Extra food

glenmorelodge.org.uk

Photo: Blizzard