26 November 2010

Getting Found

Most of us get a little misplaced occasionally while hill walking. Here's a few ideas for preventing it, or dealing with it when it does happen.

Preventing It:
1. Begin your route from a definite point.
2. Each section of your route has a definite start and finish point.
3. Use 2 to 4 'Tick Off Points' for each section of your route.
4. Use 1 'Cut Off Point' for each section of your route.
5. Extend or zig-zag your route if need be, so you can always travel between definite features.
6. Don't get complacent and always double check everything. Don't rush or be distracted!
7. Be very aware of what the ground is doing around you. Is it ascending, descending or flat?

Dealing With It:
1. If you're partway through a route section and become unsure of where you are along that specific route section, continue on to your next finish point, using Tick Off Points and then a Cut Off Point to keep you on route.

2. Stop, turn around and re-trace your steps to your last know position. Do this carefully and logically, using map and navigation. Don't randomly rush back as this is how you can become properly mis-placed. When you reach your last known position, begin your navigation again.

3. Use a 'Collecting Feature'. If you have only a vague idea of your position, look for a long/wide feature on your map, running parallel to you; such as a forest, river or road. Take a Compass Bearing to this feature. Because it's a long/wide feature you have a large margin of error in terms of reaching it. Once you reach it, firstly establish it's the correct feature and secondly establish where on the feature you are, by walking along it until you reach an obvious bend, junction, etc. Also work out Distance, Time, Tick Off Points and Cut Off Point.

4. Get a grid reference from your GPS and relate it to your map to get your current position.

5. Sit down, keep warm and wait for the mist/cloud to clear, so you can see your surroundings. (Last choice!)

Tick Off Points:
Obvious features along your route that you physically walk through or past; such as a change of slope, a lake, stream or spot height.

Cut Off Point:
A physical feature that you will walk through or past if you overshoot your destination point, such as descending ground if you walk past your spot height accidentally.

Distance:
OSI 1:50 000 Scale Mape: 1mm = 50 metres : 1 Blue Grid Box = 1km

Time:
Average Hill Walking Speed = 5km per hour : 1km per 12 mins.
Allow 1 Extra Min Per Uphill Contour Crossed

Click Here To See Our Two-Day Mountain Skills Courses
(Kerry & Wicklow Courses)

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(Kerry & Wicklow Courses)

Compass Bearing Video

Any other tips or suggestions?

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