Author Topic: Panic moment  (Read 521 times)

dinger

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Panic moment
« on: 18:26:26, 23/08/17 »

Well that was an intresting walk Monday after I checked the weather and thought I charged my gps batterys which I try not to use only in emergency.
I decided to ascend Glyder Fawr and Fach in Wales, early morning which I planned a route on the map, it was going great until the visibility must have been 30 metres max, slowly I reached Gylder Fach with no one else in sight I began to get a compass bearing and headed for coming down Bwich Tyfan but when I was near I eventually bumped into a guy and he asked me where I was heading, when I told him he said don't even think about it, its dangerous in this visibility. So I thought not been there before I will go back the same way I came has he disappeared into the mist.
By this time I was so disorientated where I was I panicked , I could not see anything at all and knew there was some big drops nearby. I then decided to get my Gps out only to find I forgot to charge my batteries.
Anyway I calmed myself down took a back bearing Back to Gylder Fach and eventually found a path .
This terrified me and I nearly gave in to call emergency services . Now I'm normally quite good on my navigation skills but this time I really lost the plot. Has anyone else had this experience?

pauldawes

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #1 on: 19:06:18, 23/08/17 »
Always difficult to navigate in dense fog, don't care "who you are".


Ages ago I did an eight week evening course in navigation skills. When we got to navigating in fog...and guy was talking about walking carefully on a bearing, counting strides, using average stride length X strides to estimate distance, etc practically everybody in class had eyeballs whizzing round. His final advice: "In really bad fog, if you can, wait for it to clear". By and large we don't have real fogs in this country anymore.


But no..never at panic stations in fog. My worst two moments were:-


1/ Walking off an edge while busy talking to a couple of mates about 10 foot behind me. Fortunately landed on a ledge about 6 foot down. Much younger and even more stupid in those days. But that was a scary moment.


2/ Solo bog trotting...stepped into a very boggy area...went in to just about neck level. Had to sort of "swim" to firmer ground about four foot away...only four foot, but hard work...and a wee bit worrying. Got on to drier land...only to realise my map was still in the bog. 




dinger

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #2 on: 19:25:17, 23/08/17 »
Yeah I did a navigation course in Buckden Yorkshire moors, doing the night navigation and the bogs around there were something to think about especially hiden well in the sphagnum moss and were deep too, so never mind the maps looking for sharp shear drops the marshlands can be just has dangerous too I suppose.

ninthace

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #3 on: 21:26:05, 23/08/17 »
There are a some useful lessons here.
Always check your kit, don't assume - check.
If you have a mobile make sure there is a navigation app on it.  At the minimum that will give you a grid ref.  Better still, copy your intended track to both gps and mobile. That way you have a another back up ssystem.
Navigate continuously, especially in bad vis, look out for minor features as you go and account for any you come across that you were not expecting rather than blundering on.  Don't forget the obvious - are you going uphill/downhill/flat when you should be. That way you are less likely to become uncertain of your position in the first place and if you do, your circle of error will be less.


Not a moral of this tale but bottom line, always have a map, compass and know how to use it.


Panic can set in quickly, try to stay come calm, pause, think it through.  What do you know? What can you see? How bad is it really? What is the safest direction to go in?
The mere act of forming a plan of action can settle you down


Last time I was truly lost it was in the middle of Dartmoor, in thick fog on my own, with a severely out of date map but a serviceable compass. I was 15 or 16 years old and it was truly terrifying but I walked my way out. That was over 50 years ago - no mobiles, goretex etc.
« Last Edit: 21:32:55, 23/08/17 by ninthace »
Solvitur Ambulando

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #4 on: 21:53:06, 23/08/17 »
The Glyder plateau is a nightmare in heavy mist, as are the neighbouring Carneddau, but in a different way.


Ive marshalled on top of Glyder Fawr on several occasions, for both  the 1000m and Peris Horseshoe, navigation when one has lost ones bearings, is very challenging on terrain that looks the same.
The huge boulder field that makes up the Glyders, is not the easiest to navigate, even in good visibility, but i know what its like up there in very poor visibility, every bit of terrain looks the same, and some of those boulders are B   I  G.
Trying to hold ones composure and not to panic, is easier said than done, its happened to me once or twice, a big event happened in the Carneddau some years ago.


I was soaking wet, getting terribly cold, and totally unsure of my bearings, somewhere between Foel Fras and Yr Aryg, i thought, but i was only a a few yards from Foel Grach, and continuing towards lewellyns summit, totally in the wrong direction.


How i found my bearings i cannot remember, but i was parked at Aber, and several hours overdue, i made it back safe.



Everytime i visit the Glyders, i have to be 100% sure of the weather conditions, call me a sissy, or what ever you like, but i only venture near the Glyder plateau, in fine settled weather, when there is a limited report of any adverse weather.


The Glyders and Carneddau are high mountains, and need the utmost respect.

I know its not easy for those living a greater distance from the mountains, but if the weather looks poor, have a backup walk in reserve.


A trip out into the mountains is meant to be enjoyed, and if one leaves for home still trembling with fear, of what might have been, then its a day one would rather forget.


Ive been lost in the Carneddau a few times, and realised that if i headed due North by using my compass bearing, eventually after an eternity, i should be in the area towards Foel Fras.


Their a lot easier to navigate, due to their terrain, and being made up of mostly grass.


Thankfully none of the terrain of the Northern Carneddau, offers any technical problems, and unlike the Glyders, if you stumble, most of the time the landing will be a soft one.


All i hope is that you found your way down safely, and learnt by your trial and error.


Keep studying the weather, throughout the the duration of your trip in the mountains, if dark clouds or mist is approaching the Glyders, make a hasty detour to safety.
« Last Edit: 22:23:14, 23/08/17 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

fernman

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #5 on: 22:00:19, 23/08/17 »
It wasn't clear to me if the OP was carrying a paper map to use as an alternative to his gps with flat batteries?
I don't use a gps for navigation, I rely on an OS 1:25k map and a compass.
The problem is, in hill country, footpaths and bridleways that are marked on the map but absent on the ground, and at the same time new farmers' and forestry tracks that do not appear on the map.
On the one hand the map you bought a few years ago quickly becomes out of date, while it seems that the OS are facing a battle to keep up.
As I said above, I don't use a gps for navigation, but what I am doing increasingly is taking my phone out to get my current grid ref from the OS app so that I can check precisely where I am on the map. I did this no fewer than 4 times during my lowland walk today where finding my way wasn't clear on wooded commons with multitudes of unsigned trodden paths.

dinger

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #6 on: 22:06:48, 23/08/17 »

Yes I got down fine when I reached 400metres it was clear everywhere.
but to previous yes I had compass and map suppose I could have got a grid reference from mobile which I didn't. I was doing ok but when you set off for your intended route then you get told no don't go there, it just through me straight away in chaos but after a few minutes I sat beside a rock and took a few deep breadths had a think and hoped my bearings were correct but for features I could see nothing only bumping into the rocky formations which if anyone has been up here its just like a moonscape and hard to put the surroundings to map. apart from the steep descents nearby. I think its being solo too you feel more vulnerable, even if you had company who knew nothing about navigation I still feel I would have been more calm because of the company.

sussamb

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #7 on: 06:36:08, 24/08/17 »
We did a forum meet walk up there a few years ago now in similar conditions and the nav is certainly challenging there in thick fog.  Glad you got down safely  O0
Where there's a will ...

Armchair Hiker

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #8 on: 09:06:28, 24/08/17 »
I often to forget to charge my garmin, but never forget to charge my phone.


But in the case i did i picked up a 2 hour emergency charge from Tescos the other day for 3 not too bad for an emergency charge, if i forget to carry my power block that give 2 full charges.


Hand held gps are the bees knees, but we often forget to charge them but never forget to charge out phones , so i alway have maps on my phone and alway use Strava for my fitness tracking but also so i can back track as it always recording.

sussamb

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #9 on: 11:26:27, 24/08/17 »
Always carry spare batteries for my GPS and a USB charger for my phone. More back ups than in the old days when all I had was a map and compass  O0
Where there's a will ...

Peter

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #10 on: 12:21:41, 24/08/17 »

It's a very long time ago now, but I did my navigation training with the police.
The courses were only held in winter, and we only went out at night. They literally dropped us out of Landrovers in the middle of nowhere. No view at all during the drive.
It was scary at times, but, of course, the entire point was to give you confidence in the skills they were teaching.
I've been scared since but only as a result of following others (exposure issue).
Always have options. The very basic one is to stop, retreat. Never be afraid of failing to make the goal.
Fear and panic are killers. Stop and regain composure and rational thought again. Nothing will happen, you just lose 15 minutes.
 
Peter
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adalard

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #11 on: 15:29:09, 24/08/17 »
Stop and regain composure and rational thought again. Nothing will happen, you just lose 15 minutes.


Great advice - I'll second that. I did it on Pen Yr Ole Wen last year. I wasn't lost but I suddenly felt out of my depth and a bit panicky. It's funny how your mind can start racing when this happens - it became not just about the terrain but about how I was going to run out of water and how I would be too exhausted to carry on even if I made it up my first summit etc. etc. In the end, I lay back on a huge rock and just closed my eyes for 10 mins. When I sat up again, everything felt much more in perspective and I ended up having a great day.




BuzyG

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #12 on: 17:07:56, 24/08/17 »
Interesting thread.  Glad all turned out well.   :)


It's so easy to end up in very poor visibility on even a perfect summers evening..  Just Tuesday evening I set off on an unplanned walk on Bodmin Moor.  Heading back to minions around 10pm the visibility dropped to a few yards, as I assented Stowe Hill. It had been a beautifully evening and a beautifully sunset and hour earlier.   I had very little with me just a small camera bag.  Crucially however it contained.  a head torch.  a mobile phone with a map loaded, a bottle of juice, a paper map and a Compass.


Even on the main route,  one I have walked hundreds of times.  I became dis-orientated.  Stopped and got my map and compass out. Literally 400 yards from my car.  When you can't see, it doesn't matter how well you know an area.  You need a map and compass and the skills to use them, Simples O0

dinger

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #13 on: 21:02:21, 25/08/17 »

if anyone can could advise for future reference, is from Glyder Fach theres a path which seems to head down towards Bwlch Tryfan then onto Cwim Bochlwd which was my intended route but has I said when I had my panic moment a walker who I passed advised me to not attempt that route because of steep drop. Can anyone agree with this or would my route plan be fine taking this route under the conditions mentioned.

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Panic moment
« Reply #14 on: 21:23:45, 25/08/17 »
Check out the decent via the Gribyn ridge, its nearer Glyder Fawr, but as it takes you quickly down to the shores of Llyn Blochwyd, its a much grander route than that horridly eroded path down to Bwlch Tryfan.
The decent down the scree off the Glyders to the Miners path over Bwlch Tryfan, years ago, was very straight forward, a bit steep in places, but straight forward, and safe.


In the past decade, things have certainly gone downhill, the severity of the erosion is a huge problem, a problem that really the National Park can do little about.


In those glory days, when we had great winters, this route was one of the safest off the Glyders, but no more, its terribly loose and is no longer the easy alternative, especially in mist.
The Gribyn route is a route worth checking out, in fine weather, as it looks slightly intimidating, but its easy peasy, and a quicker alternative to the Devils Kitchen route.
Actually reaching the Glyder plateau, is far easier up the Gribyn, and if the weather looks suspect, its one of the quickest ascents off these 3000footer, and once the route is located, its never in doubt.
« Last Edit: 21:34:27, 25/08/17 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »