What NOT to do in the Mountains!

20 12 2012

A classic 12 minute video of how NOT to start out winter mountaineering!

How not to ascend Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

The guy who filmed it was pretty new to hill-walking and it was his first winter hill – the others hadn’t been up a hill before! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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27 responses

9 01 2013
Dan Hudson (aka icemandan)

Thanks mc and Paul. It was a long time ago (1999). I have to admit that I had a borrowed pair of crampons which I didn’t know how to use and didn’t put them on for a short icy stretch on an otherwise slushy hill. I had an axe but couldn’t arrest on the steep ice I slipped onto. I didn’t have it strapped on and lost it during the fall. I think that was probably just as well as an out-of-control axe would probably have done more harm than good.

In terms of Injury, I got off lightly despite a fall of 1000ft (I thought at the time it was more like 100). One arm was badly broken – effectively it looked like a second elbow but the other turned out just to be dislocated. Otherwise it was just cuts and bruises but what nearly did for me was the hypothermia. I saw the rescuers some distance below and (unaware that there was another party coming down from above) managed to roll/slide down the snow slope towards them and in doing so ended up in the Burn at the top of the waterslide.

Mc – I fully sympathise with the anguish of summoning help – I hope your companion was ok. I know my mate ran down, took a tumble himself and damaged a rib and got halfway down before he remembered he had a mobile phone. The police met him in the car park and took him to the police station where they have a big model of Ben Nevis and got him to point to where we were. As it happens, it was an awkward spot near where you change bearings so they had to search two sides of the mountain. (I thought when the fall was happening that I was in Five Finger Gully)

Paul – I have huge respect for the rescuers. They combed two nasty expanses of hillside in the cold, dark, wind and the wet, the helicopter crew flew to the limits of their abilities, the resuscitation/defrosting team at the hospital were there in the small hours of the morning, all because of a silly slip.

Given all of that, I was very impressed that they weren’t judgmental about the whole thing. I think rescuers, RAF crew and medics were mostly hill people too. One of the rescue guys came to see me in hospital and suggested that I try Tower Ridge. No chance I’m afraid. I’m afraid the incident has significantly increased my mountain cowardice now that I can visualise what happens and I now stick to puddingy hills in winter conditions.

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9 01 2013
mountaincoward

Bloody hell – I’ve heard of getting straight back on the horse but a suggestion to try Tower Ridge?! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I’m with you with the sticking to ‘puddingy hills’ in winter ๐Ÿ™‚

I think the mountain rescue teams are not generally judgmental unless you’ve been an idiot which, in these circumstances, you hadn’t – you’d just been very unfortunate. I’m always fearful that, even with an ice axe, you won’t necessarily stop a slide and your story bears that out.

Anyway, my companion was fine when they found her – she’d just got lost and descended the wrong side of the hill and, when she realised and it got dark, stayed put. But all the time they were looking for her I was picturing her lying amongst rocks just below where I last saw her all smashed up so I was pretty upset.

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8 01 2013
Dan Hudson (aka icemandan)

It’s quite odd but in a way being the casualty is the least traumatic part of an incident like that.

Like most accidents, it started when a simple slip on the way down in an apparently unthreatening situation became a potentially fatal situation. Weirdly when you are falling, the analytical part of your brain keeps going. There is a great rushing, you don’t know which way up you are, black rocks come towards you and (if you are lucky) past you and you end up ‘sledging’ down snowy ground. When the rushing stopped and I was lying on my back, my first thought was ‘I’m still alive’ and my second thought when I looked at the state of my arms was, ‘not for much longer’. I couldn’t move. The combination of cold and adrenalin meant that I didn’t feel the pain from my injuries. When they picked me up, I passed out and came round on the operating table at Belford hospital pumped full of morphine.

It was all much more traumatic for my mate who saw me disappear down into the mist, had to summon help and wait in Fort William Police Station for six hours without knowing what had happened and with the prospect of having to explain to my wife (fortunately the police didn’t inform her until I had been found). Equally the Mountain Rescue didn’t know what they would find and the helicopter crew had to fly in very difficult conditions to pick me up. It is very humbling.

Incidentally when Belford were campaigning against the closure of the A&E they used my case as an example of someone who wouldn’t have made it if I’d been taken to Glasgow or Inverness.

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8 01 2013
Paul Shorrock

Quite a tale Dan!

I was in mountain rescue in the Lake District for 17 years, and have just applied to join my local team having recently moved to North Wales. In the past I’ve helped recover the living and the dead, and will probably do it again ln the future.

I remember ten years ago doing a winter circuit of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge. After using Salewa crampons for years I had just changed to Grivel G12’s – they attach quickly and easily, but the points are slightly longer than the Salewa crampons. At one point on the route I almost tripped over the slightly longer points – lucky I didn’t ‘cos it was 100 metres or so straight down!

I remember thinking, “Well, that was bloody lucky!”, and so it was. Others aren’t as lucky – one body I once helped recover was a guy who had tripped over his crampons …..

Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m so glad for you that you are able to do so. It’s me that feels humble! Stay safe ๐Ÿ™‚

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9 01 2013
mountaincoward

Well I certainly know what it’s like being the call-outer and having to wait to see what’s happened to your mate – very distressing indeed!

Your description of falling sounds awful though – I read a story about a guy falling off Crib Goch once and he described it all in full like that – said he didn’t know which way up he was to try to stick out a hand to stop, and that he kept bouncing off black rocks with various parts of his body – that description’s never left me. So I’m sure it would have put me off hill-walking for good.

I always seem to be very unlucky with ‘shock’ and don’t seem to get the ‘out of it’ feelings very often – I just get all the pain and sickness. I’ve only once had the ‘out of it’ feeling where it doesn’t hurt and was very thankful for it – just wish I always got that instead of the severe and long-lasting pain until they set my bones.

What state were your arms in? bloody and bones sticking out? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I don’t think you have anything to reproach yourself for though, unlike the lads in this video – you were simply descending the mountain and had a slip – hopefully they’ll eventually read these comments on here and see what COULD have happened to them!

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6 01 2013
Dan Hudson (aka icemandan)

I’ve done a few dumb things on the hills in my time but these guys take the biscuit. The fact that they then posted on-line suggests that they still think its a bit of a joke. Better to maintain a sheepish silence and resolve to be more sensible in future. Let’s hope they live long enough to grow up.

PS as a piece of cinema the dialogue wasn’t up to much

PSS This is a bit hypocritical as my avatar (icemandan) is what the Daily Mirror called me after I was scraped off Ben Nevis with a temperature of 29.

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8 01 2013
mountaincoward

Shame I had to go on the ‘unmentionable site’ to read about your accident – I think it’s gone from the Daily Mirror archives now! That fall sounded horrific – it must have been really scary? Or was it so quick you didn’t really know what was happening? That would have put me off for life. I certainly didn’t know that’s why you called yourself ‘Icemandan’ – I just thought you liked ice-climbing or something! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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23 12 2012
fedupofuserids

Looks like they had a lot of fun ๐Ÿ˜€ most importantly they got up & down without injury (lucky maybe ?), this time they got away with it !
As you say what ‘NOT’ to do but we all had to start somewhere and boundaries are there to be pushed.The elitists and fun police would probably have them banned from the hills !

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23 12 2012
mountaincoward

I do think they were lucky myself – I know people have to learn but I thought the degree of over-confidence and ineptitude on this one was truly horrifying myself – I could hardly bear to watch that descent!

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22 12 2012
bob

Agree with all the comments above but on a different subject they have made a very watchable, well shot, video. Seen a lot of Blair Witch type professional films which have not been as gripping or as exciting as this. Cloverfeild springs to mind and Monsters and Blair Witch itself was two hours of rubbish I’ll never get back..
Maybe they should take up a career in film instead of mountaineering. Might be safer.
Well done Carol for finding it.

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23 12 2012
mountaincoward

It was certainly ‘edge-of-seat’ stuff – maybe they should take up film-making!

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22 12 2012
tony dyke

I suppose it is weighing up a spirit of adventure against risk factor.I also have done some silly things in my youth and if we stopped and thought about all the dangerous things we have done in our lives then we would probably just stay on the couch and vegetate.Experience is the key to all this,more risk means more experience which means more experience and then less risk.
Unfortunately some people get seriously injured or even killed along the way.On the Buckle a few years back, five regular and quite experienced hill walkers were killed in an avalanche on their way up Coire na Tulaich.Were they Unlucky or should they not have been there ?.We all take risks in our lives its just a case of keeping them to a minimum.Many years ago in Knoydart i couldn’t get across a river in spate to get back to my car.I had camped out for two nights and used all my food up,so it was a case of just seeing the night out till the morning and waiting for the river to drop, but i learnt a valuable lesson.Take more food than you need and watch the long range forecast if you are out for more than a few days.Rivers in Scotland are notorious for rising quickly.Experience gained at the expense of a hungry belly during the night.( but it could have been worse if i had tried to cross the river).

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22 12 2012
Paul Shorrock

Few of us would deny that experience is the best teacher, and like you Tony I’ve done daft things and learned something along the way.

However, I would question why these guys want to share their stupidity with us! Having got into a situation where they could have come to grief big time, then having got out of it without accident, I would have thought that they would be happy to share a wry smile together in the pub – instead it’s out on YouTube, almost glorifying their exploits – Muppets!

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22 12 2012
tony dyke

Paul
They probably wanted to share the clip because, it is a human frailty in wanting to be famous for a day.Bigging themselves up as the youth say today.
There are millions of you tube clips, with all sorts of people doing stupid and silly things just to get fifteen seconds of fame.In the technological world we now live in, it is easy to post something that to you and me seems ludicrous,but to a gang of lads in the pub laughing at the clips on their mobile phones whilst getting hammered on vodka and red bull might seem very funny.

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22 12 2012
Paul Shorrock

Fair comment Tony – I’m probably demonstrating how wide the generation gap is ๐Ÿ˜€

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22 12 2012
tony dyke

Paul
There is nothing wrong with demonstrating how wide the gereration gap is, as long as you don’t dance at weddings to ABBA, having had 12 pints of theakstons old peculiar whilst gyrating like a whirling Dervish. .

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22 12 2012
Paul Shorrock

Hahaha …. A scene we have all witnessed .. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

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23 12 2012
mountaincoward

Well at least I’ll admit to liking Abba – I suspect lots of other folks do too but not many will admit it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I, too, have certainly done daft stuff – even in the hills – just I picked much safer hills and routes to do daft stuff on. There are just so many accidents anyway amongst people who DO know what they’re doing on the Buachaille in Coire na Tulaich without people taking liberties with the hill in such a way.

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21 12 2012
tony dyke

Scotland Mountains
Here here,its no use taking ice axes and crampons if the participant has no idea how to use them.As the mountain guide books and instructors all say, the first winter hillwalk of the season should all be about practice practice and more practice,because when you do slip or fall you will only have a couple of second’s to stop yourself.
Ps.Conversational English…Loved That.

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21 12 2012
Scotlands Mountains

As beginners they at least seemed to recognise the need for equipment in retrospect.I`ve seen folk with ยฃ1,000`s of pounds worth of gear that didn`t have clue what they were doing.
I would however recommend a course in Conversational English ๐Ÿ™‚

PS: Done much the same thing when I was young .!

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21 12 2012
mountaincoward

LOL to the course in Conversational English! It did get a bit samey didn’t it – mind you, I’d have been effing and blinding if I’d been stuck up there without any spikes or an axe! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I did some pretty silly things when I was younger but not on such serious mountains really – more on easy stuff in the Lakes.

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21 12 2012
tony dyke

As a pretty experienced winter hill walker,( 96 munros done in full winter conditions ), these guys were very fortunate on doing some glissading without a ice axe or pole to stop them.If they had hit a steep wind blown solid ice patch then velocity would have increased rapidly and then as the advert says,” there may be trouble ahead”.A trip to Fort William infirmary would have been on the cards.

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21 12 2012
mountaincoward

They were pretty lucky really.

I’ve done very few Munros in full winter conditions and when I have, due to my cowardly nature, they’ve all been smooth, grassy stuff with non-steep slopes (I know those can be the worst for avalanches though). I mainly do stuff like the Lakeland fells in winter – much more my comfort level really…

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20 12 2012
Paul Shorrock

What a bunch of muppets, Carol (I’ve added that comment to their vid!) I would have clicked ‘like’ on your post, but people might have mistaken that for approval of their stupidity! Rant over ๐Ÿ™‚

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21 12 2012
mountaincoward

It was a new guy on the forum I (now) frequent – most people said the same thing but some said they admired their courage?! I just told them they were lucky and that might not always be the case…

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20 12 2012
Alan

No gear, no idea, but lots of luck :-/

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21 12 2012
mountaincoward

That’s a very poetic comment Alan ๐Ÿ™‚ Very true and very succinct!

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