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Novices on Mountains

Novices on Mountains

Postby cjwaugh » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:00 pm

HI and welcome
Ah common sense a rare commodity today it all seems to be doom and gloom just now with property dropping , job losses , depression thank god we still have our hills to take to as you put it ,sure you ll enjoy the site as much as i do :)
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby Monkey » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:20 pm

LeithySuburbs wrote:I'm skipping the "say hello" page and just diving in here for my first post. I do like a good debate/discussion and this topic always includes a little luke warm repartee.

What we are talking about here is an old-fashioned idea known as common sense. My first proper hillwalk was on Beinn a'Ghlo and, TBH, I was not properly prepared for it. Yes, I was fit and young and healthy but I simply did not have the experience to take on a reasonably stenuous walk (3 munros, 14 miles). I had no map, compass, ran out of water on BCCB (munro 2), and fell in a bog on my pathless return :lol: . However, I got back to my car having thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience (fortunately it was a glorious summer day). Hopefully, I have not repeated any of the above mistakes since.

My point is that we all have to start somewhere and, if I do see a group obviously underprepared, I give them the benefit of the doubt and trust that, if the going/weather gets tough, they will turn back. I wouldn't give them "the lecture" as it would probably be thrown back in my face. Having said that, we all owe it to the MRS to apply "due diligence" (to use a currently popular term) when we take to the hills and I would agree that Snowdon in winter is probably not the place to start.
Well said. :)
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby munrojo » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:08 pm

"They will learn eventually when they come a cropper on the hills says caberfeidh", im a great believer that each to his/her own! experience is to be gained and the only way to gain such is to get out there but as you politely said to the inexperienced couple to go and do some gentle walks first. i myself trained with mountain guides first before i ventured into the wild mountainous expanse, and as i finished my first ever wet sogging cant see a finger in front of my face munro
i realised that i need better clothing, where im going with this you ask :? we all have a dream goal and even to persuade someone to diverse from their goal and gain that invaluable experience is not for us to judge..
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby mountain tortoise » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:41 pm

I know I said I was not going to say any more on this subject but. Did any one else see the report on the chap rescued on Snowdon last weekend. He had an ice axe but no crampons with him, he was on Grib Coch which is still covered in snow and ice. He slipped and got stuck. Any way, this is not particlarly unsual I here you cry. Well the real interesting bit is that this was the second time he had been rescued off Snowdon this year. Who was it who said about people needing to learn from their experiences. Oh well lets hope he lives long enough to learn from his.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:08 pm

Yes, whatever anyone may have said on this thread I think there is a real problem with a large number of folk underestimating the mountains in winter. This is especially true of the 'honeypot' mountains, whether it is Snowdon, Ben Nevis, Ben Lomond, Schiehallion or the Cobbler - on any of these you can almost guarantee meeting people who aren't yet ready to be there. Yes, these can be great first ascents for beginners to make - in summer.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby cjwaugh » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:10 pm

Unfortunately there will always be the exception to the rule just say a prayer for him its only a matter of time and hope he doesn't take anyone else with him :(
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby azrael » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:41 pm

Paul Webster wrote:Yes, whatever anyone may have said on this thread I think there is a real problem with a large number of folk underestimating the mountains in winter. This is especially true of the 'honeypot' mountains, whether it is Snowdon, Ben Nevis, Ben Lomond, Schiehallion or the Cobbler - on any of these you can almost guarantee meeting people who aren't yet ready to be there. Yes, these can be great first ascents for beginners to make - in summer.


Not sure what you base that on Paul.

Sure - you may see folks you feel are under-prepared, but, as usual, this winter in Scotland has seen serious incidents in Scotland dominated by experienced walkers and climbers.

There may be lots you see underestimating the winter hills but maybe that hits home soon enough to stop things getting out of hand.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:17 pm

It's interesting that this has been such a polarised discussion.

I think the many fatalities on Snowdon this year have been concentrated heavily on the inexperienced.

In Scotland it does seem that more fatalities may have been experienced climbers - probably because they are on more difficult mountains , but a large proportion of rescue call-outs are for the inexperienced. I do know alot of MRT members and walkhighlands is contacted by them to to point out particular hazards on routes where people go frequently wrong.

I appreciate that people learn best from their mistakes; it's just my opinion that the winter mountains are dangerous to such an extent to the complete novice that too many may not get a second chance.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby mountain tortoise » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:42 am

I Paul is right. I live in North Wales and know the Welsh Mountians very well. Snowdonia has seen a huge increase this year of MRT call outs and sadly involving a large number of deaths. It is probably that this has been the first true winter walking season here for many years. I was walking in Snow in Cwm Tryfan on 31st October and will probably be walking in snow this coming Saturday. Yes normally by now Snowdon is back to being tourist mountain. Even the Berwyns where I live had snow all this winter up to and including this week. It has been great if you know what you are doing. Yes accident can happen to even the most experienced walkers it is just sad so many new comers to Wales this year have lost their lifes.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby mountain coward » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:23 am

Our club cottage is next to the Mountain Rescue Post/hut in Nant Peris and some weekends, they're in and out all the time - as soon as they get back from a rescue, they're off up again - don't think they ever get a weekend off by the looks of it!

It's ridiculous that sometimes the same people get rescued time and time again - apparently there was a couple rescued twice in 3 days in the Lakes - both times for being stupidly unprepared. There was also that couple in the Lakes who called the mountain rescue 'cos they were going to be late for a 'dinner' appointment!! Once can possibly happen to anyone - twice or more is simply inconsiderate!
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby aimeebethelsmore » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:21 pm

I'm very new to this and have only recently (last November) been introduced to Munro's by my fella who has been doing this for many, many years.

I have been spoiled in a ways as my introduction to Munro walking was in the winter with an experienced walker so I am confident enough to make decisions based on weather and the kit I am carrying. We don't carry needless kit and none of it overly expensive just emergency rations, torch, whistle, map, compass, fluids and spares clothing (depending on the season). This is our choice to carry these things but I do think to a certain extent more experienced walkers should over advice to others and then it is their choice to take it or not. I would always welcome advice from those who have more experience than me, and I'm a proud woman!

We were worried about a group on teens who started the Five Sisters late afternoon last bank holiday as they seemed very ill prepared so explained an alternative off route for them should they not have enough day light to complete the full walk.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby Nige R » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:35 pm

Some years ago me & my mate were coming down off Scafell Pike on a day of low cloud, we were stopped by no less than 5 different groups of people who all asked if we knew where we were as they did not have a clue where they were. Every group was well kitted out and appeared competent hill walkers. One group even seemed shocked when I pointed out our position on the map! "How do you know that when the cloud is down?" said one witless wonder. Basic map reading ability was seriously lacking with each group, little wonder that hillwalking frequently gets bad press. I was lucky enough to start my days in the hills with a guy who is a qualified mountain guide, his suggestion to do a mountain leadership course as soon as possible as well as practical advice when in the mountains together put me in good stead for the times I had ahead of me in the hills. Maybe the high cost of the training courses (although they are excellent and you cannot put a price on your or your walking companions lives) is what stops more people attending these courses and learning how to be safe when conditions turn bad.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby stomper » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:04 pm

These so called novices who go up mountains when the weather is bad well for me they are asking for trouble and its usually them who end up getting rescued. For me if the weather is bad (evern after an 8hr drive) i don't bother contemplating going up. What do you get from going up mountains when weather is bad Do you see anything, Do you enjoy it, the answer for me is a definate NO NO. Its just a tick in the book and to say that you have done it whooo hooo. I like to go up when the weather is clear and if it rains halfway through so be it.
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby Matthew C » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:02 pm

I'm with Stomper on this one the hills will always be there, so you can /will get a second chance if you turn back, ask Freewheelin I made him turn back when we were about 1/2km from the top of Stob a' Choire Odhair still not sure he has forgiven me :? So what we did it a couple of weeks later in brilliant walking weather :D
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Re: Novices on Mountains

Postby kinley » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:03 pm

stomper wrote:These so called novices who go up mountains when the weather is bad well for me they are asking for trouble and its usually them who end up getting rescued. For me if the weather is bad (evern after an 8hr drive) i don't bother contemplating going up. What do you get from going up mountains when weather is bad Do you see anything, Do you enjoy it, the answer for me is a definate NO NO. Its just a tick in the book and to say that you have done it whooo hooo. I like to go up when the weather is clear and if it rains halfway through so be it.


Define bad weather :?

If the wind speed is above 40mph base (gusts 60) or there's white-out forecast I'll think twice. Electricity in the air and I'm in the pub :lol:

Do you see anything? Almost always actually - wildlife, plants are still there. The odd break in the weather. A different feel for the hill.

Do you enjoy it? the answer for us is a definite YES YES.

Just a tick in a book? No - that's a gross generalisation and an attempt to portray all walkers out in weather you dislike as mad baggers.

In truth I suspect novices are more easily put off by bad weather than the more experienced but I take your point about long drives tempting some out in adverse conditions.
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