Author Topic: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.  (Read 3202 times)

BuzyG

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Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« on: 16:50:30, 27/02/18 »
I'm an experienced  hill walker,  But, living in the SW, I'm not very experienced in heavy snow. 


So looking at the weather charts, I've booked Thursday and Friday off to head up on to Dartmoor and hopefully learn a thing or two.   I walk the area, I am planning to head to, regularly, so Navigation and fitness are very low risk.  My thinking is I should take the opportunity to learn to cope with some new risks.  Ie the cold and the possible blizzard conditions. I'm a natural risk taker and I always try to balance that out with planning and sound decision making on the ground.


Just though I would but it out there and see what others think.  Is this a good idea?

Hillhiker1

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #1 on: 17:19:53, 27/02/18 »
Sounds like a reasonable plan, one thing I would say though; Don't overestimate how far you can travel through the snow. I usually shorten my winter routes
in snow to probably around half what I'd do in summer. Also it saps your strength. Big time!
Get out and enjoy it though!

Murphy

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #2 on: 17:42:55, 27/02/18 »
I agree with Hillhiker......

ninthace

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #3 on: 18:04:16, 27/02/18 »
If the forecast for Dartmoor is right you risk being out in high winds and snow which could means you could end up in a whiteout.  At this point you could be navigating by feel. I have done it on a few occasions and it is not fun.  Really sound windproof clothing, lavers and goggles are a must.  I would not dream of it on the moor without a pre-plotted route on the gps, preferably one using hand rails as walking on a bearing in those conditions on the moor will be a b*gg*r - and for heaven's sake leave a copy of your route behind and stick to it if you can.  Make sure you have an escape routes as well. Phone fully charged and if you have a signal and need to deviate tell someone.  Take a storm shelter too.
Good luck
Just seen the local forecast - you could also face freezing rain. Rather you than me.
Solvitur Ambulando

BuzyG

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #4 on: 18:53:39, 27/02/18 »
Ninthace, thanks for your candid reply.  It was after looking at the forecast that I choose those two days.  I haven't experienced a blizzard style white out.  But that is, perhaps rather perversely, what I am hoping to find and negotiate, to add to the learning bank. Hence I am trying to ensure I have all the bases covered before setting off.  I'm confident I have all the required skills.  I have just never had to use them in the sort of conditions that are forecast, for Thursday in particular. 


I'm planing a shortish route 4-5 miles. That I have walked dozens of times. Never more that a mile from a military road.  Starting in the shelter of Meldon Quary East into the wind in the relative shelter of Red a van brook and then breaking off  right to Yes tor.  A horrid boggy piece of ground in the spring months, but frozen solid when I was up there on Sunday.  Then heading across to High Wiilhays before heading SW to fordlands ledge and dropping into the valley, to head back to Meldon.  An pretty simple route on most days.  But I am not kidding myself that it will be simple on Thursday.  Just getting the car to Meldon quary may not be possible for example.  So I do appreciate the knowledge of those who have more experience of such conditions. 

ninthace

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #5 on: 19:39:04, 27/02/18 »
One caution from experience.
Track and paths can totally disappear in snow and drifting can change  the whole topography to the point where the line of the track itself is no longer detectable - I have lost whole roads in the past, never mind paths! Have confidence in your navigation - at least the brook and upslope should lead you to Yes Tor relatively easily.  The ridge to High Willhays and Fordlands  may be a problem in snow since the ridge line is not well defined when visibility is measured in yards but the drop off down slope should take you to another handrail. By the way, while streams are a useful handrail I did fall through the ice into one in a whiteout once (the outflow from Grisedale Tarn), I didn't even know I was walking on ice at the time but in retrospect the flatter going should have been a clue!
Enjoy!
Solvitur Ambulando

MichaelUK

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #6 on: 20:57:00, 27/02/18 »
All excellent advice. Dont forget GPS can be effected by adverse weather. My only concern is that you are knowingly going into a potential dangerous situation! If it goes tits up, and I hope it doesnt, you may need the assistance of the emergency services, hopefully not. You may be putting other lifes at risk. An extreme situation I know. Just be sensible and careful.

sussamb

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #7 on: 21:14:13, 27/02/18 »
Has to be really adverse to affect GPS.  I've only had bad weather affect my GPS once in around 10 years, and that was a very large black storm cloud that passed directly above me.  Moved my position about 100 metres for around a couple of minutes.
Where there's a will ...

gunwharfman

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #8 on: 21:18:32, 27/02/18 »
I'm not keen on snow. When I was a young man in the late 60s I set off to work a night shift in my Morris Minor Traveller. It was already snowing when I left. I had to drive down a steep hilll to get over East Farleigh bridge, I kinda slid all the way down, got to the bottom just before the bridge and then got stuck. I decided to leave the car and walk back home. After a couple of miles in blinding large flakes I was so cold and exhauseted I just had the overwhelming desire to just lie down and have a sleep in the snow. I didn't because as I walked I was trying to thumb a lift as cars and lorries past by. A lorry stopped and took me home. I have never forgotten that, thats why I'm no longer keen on snow.

Maggot

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #9 on: 21:24:43, 27/02/18 »
I know the moor well, and I can imagine the route you are planning.  If you are there for for two days, why not try Day one slightly easier and more easily navigated (there are great loop options south from Princetown) where, if it all goes a bit Pete Tong, may be a little extreme places to find you really don't like walking in a whiteout than High Willhayes, Dinger, Yes Tor etc.  When you have cut your teeth and got some confidence, then Day Two up the north area of the moor (obviously having checked the firing times  :o )

BuzyG

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #10 on: 23:21:10, 27/02/18 »
Maggot, O0  So glad I posted.  I'm local to the moor.  But as I had put this idea together today, having seen the weather forecast I had forgotten to check the firing times.  Oakhampton rage is busy, so I need to head South and plan a new route.

tonyk

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #11 on: 10:05:52, 28/02/18 »
 Read Slogger's blog report of the 2013 Spine race and you will get an idea of what its like to be caught out in white out.Instead of a walk it becomes a survival situation.

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #12 on: 12:05:13, 28/02/18 »
Good luck, its -4C here on the coast in NW Wales, its very uncommon for temperatures to reach that low on the Welsh coast,  heaven knows what conditions must be like on Dartmoor, rather you than me.

Flanners

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #13 on: 13:04:05, 28/02/18 »
-6 in Kent, I did not fancy going in the car to a location to walk today as the roads were bad earlier, so basically walked from my home through my Town out into the countryside, walked about 6 miles and had a fantastic solo adventure. The snow and some unfamiliar paths caused some navigational issues but it was good fun, didn't see a soul either. O0

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Planning to Head Out in Poor Weather.
« Reply #14 on: 16:36:10, 28/02/18 »
There has not been a lot of snowfall here in the Rhinogs, above my home in Dyffryn Ardudwy, but the temperature and windchill is savage.
I went for a walk of around seven miles on Monday afternoon, to have a look at the breathtakingly stunning views towards Snowdon and the Moelwyns, from the summit of Moelfre, the air clarity is incredible,  but even with the significant amounts of heavy winter clothing i was wearing, the wind was so bitter, that i never made the summit.

This kind of windchill is rare on the Western fringes of the Gulf stream coast of West Snowdonia, and because the humidity is very low, there is very little ice on the ground, but the ground is like concrete with the cold, but safe to walk on.

Without the wind, walking conditions would be almost ideal, cold but manageable, but its the severe windchill against my face that i find almost unbearable, and in the Rhinogs there's no shelter.


Let's hope this Beast from the East goes home pretty soon, its getting me down.
« Last Edit: 16:40:09, 28/02/18 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »