Would you sky dive without a parachute?
Posted on November 10 2018
Following on from the last week’s blog, there was a desperate message from a Lake District mountain rescue team last week, about the huge number of avoidable rescues that are happening. They gave an example of a National Three Peaks challenge group that needed talking down from Scafell Pike, (not rescuing), as they had a breakdown of navigation, (amongst other things). Their clothing was largely dog walking level, not mountain level. One had a camouflage military jacket. On a night nav in poor visibility! They claimed to be experienced in mountain travel. This was clearly not the case.
However, we all need to learn and as the saying goes, growth can be painful! When I started my first mountain walking, I made many mistakes and got away with them, we all do. From poor navigation to badly reading the weather and terrain, I have made many. The difference was, from the start, I was determined to have the right kit, before pushing my limits. Full set of Paramo, check. Silva compass, check. Scarpa mountain level walking boots, check. Leki poles, check. Deuter bag, check. The list went on. I had kit holes, but the essentials where covered. You would not start sky diving without a parachute or attempt a red route mountain bike course on a road bike. You need to get the essentials to be safe.
When I made my mistakes, I was not under too much physical pressure, as the gear I had was looking after me. Cold for example, can be very dangerous. In the early stages of hypothermia, your mental health has already started to deteriorate, and this affects your judgement, often compounding your error. In my Scarpa boots and Paramo waterproofs, I was at least dry and comfortable.
At Trailblazer Outdoors, we actively encourage people to access the outdoors. It’s good for your health, both physical and mental! But do so in a safe manner. Invest in your skills and kit. Push both, but not beyond their limits. And don’t sky dive without a parachute or attempt a red run on a road bike and certainly don’t walk up a mountain with a naff jacket and no skills, it will probably all end badly!
Here is an early video. My first Cairngorm trip, at the end of winter. I had little experience at the time, but enough, with my kit, to stay safe-