In most cases the weather could be described as “normal”. It should be remembered that on the British mountains the weather can be severe at any time of the year. It should be noted that Scafell Pike lies in officially the wettest part of England, Ben Nevis can have snow at any time of the year, with the average wind speed on the summit being almost 50 mph. Snowdon is prone to mist and high winds. The risk is created by ill-prepared and ill-equipped people venturing out into the “normal” weather conditions. It is vitally important that each participant is correctly equipped and prepared.
A while ago two members of UK Outdoor Pursuits Co admin team completed the Challenge. Here are a few photos taken at the summits of each of the peaks. These photos were taken during the middle of June !! (yes, there will almost certainly be snow on Nevis)
All participants should be equipped with the following items.
Note that this is a guide to the minimum levels required.
Clothing – Use a number of thin layers of thermal clothing covered on the outside with a water proof layer.
* Inner Layer – You will need to carry a number (min 3) of thin vests or T-shirts, which can be taken off or put on as required.
* Thermal Layer – This is used to insulate the body, normally a fleece or woollen jumper.
* Waterproof Layer – This should be waterproof to protect from the weather.
Boots – Above all your boots must fit your feet correctly. It is no use having a technically advanced pair of boots if they do not fit. Your boots should be sturdy with good ankle support. They should be designed for use on long (rocky) mountain walks. Boots should have soles specifically produced for use on wet rock. Bad fitting boots are not simply uncomfortable, they can be dangerous. In extreme cases it may simply not be possible to carry on with a walk because your boots do not fit.
Rucksack – Your sack should be big enough to carry all the equipment and clothing that you need for the event but not too big so as to tempt you to carry too much. About 30/45 litres is about average. Look for plenty of padding on the shoulder straps and make sure it has a (workable) waist strap. You should carry all your equipment inside the sack, not strapped to the outside. Normal mountaineering practice is to carry all your gear inside a bin liner in the sack to improve waterproofing.
A well packed rucksack should contain:
Water Proofs, Flask, Pen/Paper, Torch (plus spare battery and bulb), Gloves, Boot laces, Spare clothing, First aid kit, Chocolate, Dried fruit, Woolly hat, Blister pack, Survival bag and Whistle.
You MUST carry spare clothing. It is almost certain to be required.
Notes on maps. You don’t really need to carry maps on this event but if you do, please remember that they are not much use unless you know how to use them. There are many books that will give you the basics of Navigation. Probably the best is “Mountaincraft and Leadership” by Eric Lanmuir.