29 May 2015

Emergency Bivvy Tips

Here are some tips for an emergency stay in the mountains; waiting for rescue; if lost and waiting for mist to lift; or an unplanned overnight.

1. Get as sheltered as possible.

2. Get as dry as possible.

3. Get as warm as possible.

4. Layer up as much as possible. This is where those two/three emergency fleeces and emergency hat/mittens always carried in your backpack become a lifesaver. Pull up your socks as high as possible. Tuck your pants into your socks. Close all your zips. Tighten your cuffs and collars. Pull your hat down low over your ears and neck. Do everything you can to contain and protect your body heat.

5. Breath up and down into your coat collar instead of wasting warm exhaled breath into the mountain air. This also means you are inhaling warm air through your coat instead of inhaling cold mountain air.

6. Sit on your backpack, insulated off the ground. Never sit or lie directly on the ground - it is a killer.

7. Pull your bivvy bag/survival bag entirely over you the wrong way and cut eye holes/breathing holes in the enclosed bottom end of the bag, where your head is. Slightly tighten the open end of the bag, where your feet are. Be aware of suffocation! Have plenty of ventilation.

8. Go to the toilet as fully as possible before getting into the above survival bag situation.

9. Ration and consume your food and hot drink over your wait, to keep your body fueled. If you only have cold drink try to warm it slightly by keeping it close beside you in the survival bag, but not against your skin. If you have a mix of good food (brown bread sandwiches) and bad food (sweets) mix consumption evenly.

10. Ears are covered by hat. Breath through nose, not mouth, and close your eyes. This closes off vulnerable heat escape points.

11. Curl your fingers up within your mittens/gloves to conserve finger/hand heat. Mittens are much better than gloves.

12. Take a positive attitude, 'I will survive no matter what happens!'. No matter how miserable things become think about what a great story this will make afterwards.

13. Be as organised and efficient as possible. For example if you need to go to the toilet again, time your trip back into the elements with a lull in rain/wind if possible.

14. Use your wait time to plan a super organised plan of attack for day break/storm break.

15. Keep your phone warm and dry in an inside pocket to preserve battery power and turn it off if feasible.

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