The arrival of warmer temperatures and longer days have seen a rise in people taking to the hills across the country. Lomond Mountain Rescue Team would like to stress that, despite the spring like conditions at ground level, it is still very much mid-winter high on the hills and it is vital to head out prepared with essential safety equipment and, equally as important, having the mountaineering skills to use them.
This weekend saw two incidents that Lomond MRT responded to in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The first, a call from a walker using microspikes who felt unable to progress on the steep snow and ice of Ben Lomond. The second, sadly, was a multi-agency call out to a fatality, where a walker had slipped and then fallen 300m, from a similar location on the Ptarmigan Ridge, North West of Ben Lomond’s summit.
Freeze/thaw conditions and strong winds have compacted exposed snow on the peaks into ice and hardened neve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A9v%C3%A9) Ice axe and crampons are still vital to safely negotiate our hills despite the first signs of Spring in the Glens.
People heading for the hills should always check the weather forecast – the Mountain Weather Information Service (http://www.mwis.org.uk/) and the Met Office (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub…/weather/mountain-forecast/…) provide in depth forecasts. Further essential conditions information can be found on the Scottish Avalanche Information Servicesite (http://www.sais.gov.uk/) and for general advice refer to MCofS (The Mountaineering Council of Scotland) (http://www.mcofs.org.uk/)
In the event of an emergency Dial 999, ask for the Police and then for Mountain Rescue
(Picture Copyright J. Millar LMRT, Ptarmigan Ridge, Ben Lomond)