We've had two days of dealing with emergencies on our summer mountain leader training course. Yesterday we spent most of the day looking at emergency rope work on steep ground. Mountain leaders never plan to use a rope and it very rarely happens in an emergency. However, if it does happen, leaders need to know how to use it efficiently and safely. We practised safeguarding people with a rope in descent and in ascent in various situations before safeguarding the leader with a rope as well. This was a wet day in Glen a'Chaolais with the mist down on the tops giving us a bit of poor visibility navigation practice as well.
Today we looked at other emergencies such as injuries and medical conditions, hypothermia and heat stress. We considered our duty of care and to whom it extends to, self-rescue and improvised stretchers. We also looked at water hazards, stream crossings and environmental hazards. All this was done in Steall with great views up to the metamorphic sedimentary rocks of the Mamores and their recumbent folds standing out clearly.
After heavy rain last night there were lots of paddlers out on the river Nevis enjoying the high water. We also used the high water to practice techniques to aid stream crossings. It does not need much depth to sweep your feet away when the water is flowing fast. When it goes above your knees there is a good chance of being carried away in the water but you can make yourself much more secure with some mutual support. The last two days will form the over night expedition so we went back to prepare for this with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.