What to wear
What to take
On the hill
   The party
   The route
   Electrical storms
About the team
Contact us
Team only

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The party

The capabilities of your party can change quite dramatically during the day. Your fittest member may, for any number of reasons, turn out to be the slowest. So the ongoing capability of your party has to be continually reassessed.

scafellpikegroup.jpgYou may find that members of a group forget to rehydrate or eat. It's a good idea to stop every now and then specifically for a drink or to have a snack.

With larger groups it is important that the party does not become strung out, with the faster members steaming ahead and the slower ones left trailing a long way behind. It may be reasonable for this to happen while the path is clear and visibility good, but if conditions become more difficult that the party should stay as close together as possible. It is good practice then to have a 'back marker' whose job it is to keep an eye on the whole party and to shout if it is becoming spread out.

One of the most serious problems to look out for is hypothermia. Hypothermia is a reaction of the body to the cold; in order to survive the body stops sending blood to the extremities, reserving any residual warmth for the core. The air temperature does not need to be that cold for hypothermia to set in, so you should be on the look out on wet, windy days as well as when the temperature is very low.

Mild hypothermia can be associated with shivering, feeling cold and low energy. As the condition gets worse the patient may shiver violently, become incoherent, stumble around, feel listless and breath slowly and shallowly. In severe cases shivering may stop, the pulse become very weak and the patient may become unconscious.

If a member of the party appears to be suffering from hypothermia you should stop and do what you can to stop them losing more heat. If you have a shelter they should be put in it and insulated as far as possible from the cold. Gently remove wet clothing and put them in dry garments or a sleeping bag. Small amounts of drink and high energy foods can be given (but not alcohol). In very mild cases recovery may eventually be sufficient for the patient to be guided carefully down. With anything more serious, call for help.  

Calling it a day
Deciding to turn back can be quite a difficult decision to make. There is a lot of pressure to keep going, especially if the summit seems to be in sight. 'Summit fever' can be become even greater if there is a group of fairly ambitious hill-walkers, none of whom want to admit defeat. But it is as well to remember the maxim that you haven't climbed a mountain until you have got the top and got back down.

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