Tell us about your most severe 'severe weather' experience

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Graham, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    Just had a look at the Met Office Mountain Weather forecast for the West Highlands for Friday 23 December:

    Forecast.png

    Should blow away the cobwebs.

    Wondered if you've got a 'favourite' bad weather tale you'd like to share?

    Where? When? How bad? (quantification preferred but severity on the Gixer scale is acceptable) and, I think it would be good to hear your excuse for being so idiotic in the first place....
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
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  2. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    A long long time ago, in my mid twenties, I ascended striding edge on Dec 28th carrying full winter kit to be met by the full force of an Atlantic roarer on the summit plateau. As I crawled towards to two figures huddled in the summit shelter, ice axe in hand, an incredibly powerful gust blew me onto my back and propelled me backwards, turned turtle on my slippery Karrimor Jaguar nylon pack, onto the cornice overhanging red tarn.

    I lunged sideways with the iceaxe, which dug in nicely thank Ged and spun round onto my stomach and hung on for grim death.

    As the wind subsided slightly, I resumed my hands and knees crawl to the summit, finally collapsing in next to the two (thoroughly alarmed) day-hikers. One said:
    "We're supposed to be going down striding edge to meet our wives with the car in Patterdale. But I don't fancy that after seeing you nearly blown off the mountain."

    "I'm going into the wind down to the pub at Thirlspot." I replied. "Maybe you'd better do the same and ring the hotel in Patterdale to get your missus to come round to meet you".

    When we got to the Kings head it was heaving with tourists and hikers sheltering from the storm. I finally got to the bar and ordered a pint and a chicken dinner. After I scoffed it, I went back to the bar and ordered another pint, and another chicken dinner.

    It was definitely a "today is the first day of the rest of your life" kind of a day.
  3. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    Sheesh......I'll share mine, less dramatic.

    I keep a detailed Walk Log :geek: and will get my excuse in first - simply underestimated the speed at which the conditions changed, strong winds were forecast but not until the late evening (more fool me :rolleyes:)

    Camped out at Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia on the night of 6-Nov-2008 with a lovely sunset and calm weather. It was admittedly a bit breezy on the morning of the 7-Nov (even in the shelter of the cwm) but nothing untoward, so I had a leisurely breakfast and set off around 10am on a short day walk to Elidir Fawr via Y Garn.

    At Y Garn summit it was pretty windy, not too gusty but just a steady strong SW wind. The wind picked up walking to Elidir Fawr and when I reached the summit I got inside the bowl of the shelter and had lunch. In the space of about half an hour, the conditions worsened considerably with really strong gusts and occasional rain 'bullets', ouch.

    I started back to Y Garn, crossed the saddle with the wind building up really quickly and I ended up crawling on my hands and knees for the last few hundred metres of the ridge to take the return path near Y Garn's summit. It was not possible to walk and if you know the ridge, trying to walk on the leeward side was a non-starter. Once I was back on the path down to Llyn Idwal it was so calm and spookily quiet.

    The Clogwyn weather station recorded a maximum gust of 92mph but the Snowden Summit station, which is quite a bit higher, wasn't working so I can't say what speed the wind was gusting to at 900m ASL that day. I know it was more than my svelte, aero shape could tolerate :biggrin:
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  4. tallest of pauls

    tallest of pauls Ultralighter

    Way back in '93 i was backpacking over the Carnedd's, starting at Llanfairfechan. After an hour a sticky hot clag enveloped us, upon reaching Foel Grach summit the weather went to tits, the rain poured and lightning pinged off everywhere.

    Dropping a bit to the north and then up to Llewellyn, the hillside was a wash with water. My old lightning(the irony)gore jacket had reversed itself due to the warmth of the air, I was soon soaked and the pockets filled with water. Then the lightning began getting really close, with flashes and cracking thunder becoming one. Heading into Ogwen via Criag Yr Ysfa it proceeded to bucket down even heavier!

    We eventually got to the campsite in Ogwen, everything was full of water. Boots , rucksacks, ears and was directed to a barn - camping was out of the question.

    According to records 5 1/2 inches of rain fell in just 3 hours.....Most of that on my head.

    'FLASH floods and thunderstorms hit parts of Britain for the second day yesterday, with some areas having more rain during 24 hours than in June last year'.
    'Worst hit was Llandudno in north Wales, where 500 people were evacuated as the strongest downpour in living memory swept away cars and caravans, leaving motorists stranded and flooding hospital wards.'

    The independent.

    That was one of my first backpacking trips. They've been fairly boring since. :woot:
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  5. tallest of pauls

    tallest of pauls Ultralighter

  6. MikeinDorset

    MikeinDorset Ultralighter

    Nothing to match these stories, although I used to crew for a sailing acquaintance and crossed the channel a couple of times in force 9, which was interesting. Proved myself a true friend by grabbing his false teeth from mid-air when he puked them out and not dropping them when I then got swept overboard. Found out why deck harnesses are handy!

    Autumn 97 the wind on Cairngorm got to the point once that we had to crawl on hands and knees along the ground, couldn't stand up with overnight packs on, even with poles. Driving rain and sleet. Then we met a runner in a singlet and shorts who was bemused but didn't want to stop and chat, funnily enough.

    Had my glasses blown off my face once, in the hause between Grizedale Pike and Hopegill Head. That was odd, they just flew away. Found them a few meters away, on grass, luckily. The weather was perfectly OK, just loads of wind getting funnelled up the valley and over the hause.

    Watched most of the tents get blown away from behind the Plume of Feathers on Dartmoor once, while sat on mine.

    Last year we started the Snowdon horseshoe out of train season, knowing gales were coming in, assuming we'd get off in time. The wind rose much sooner than predicted, one guy was slow on the Crib, and so about 10 minutes after we got off the pinnacles it got a bit serious. Crib y Ddysgl was do-able but we abandoned after the Snowdon summit. Amazed at the number of people we found on top wondering what the hell had just happened to the weather, including some without waterproofs and a nice couple who watched their map blow away. So we ended up coming back down the miner's track with about 8 new pals who decided the best thing was to follow our group, partly cos we knew where we were going, partly because we'd just shared lots of food and hot drinks, so we might have more we'd not yet shared with them, and partly so they could give us back the spare clothing we'd lent them. Lovely company, but a classic Snowdon situation in bad weather.
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  7. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Had a few Late 80's . Trying to cross from Macdui to Gorm,wind was so strong we had to lay on ground with crampons kicked in axe shoved in and it still smashed us up and down..Prob be carrying 35lb + back then too..gust gone move like drunk repeat for what seemed hours but Think was only 30 mins..was exhausted when we rested behind the weather station thingy... mid 90's crossing in April ish river up from Steal falls in Nevis ..so cold balls ached for 3-5 days ..got to other side had to stumble along for a mile or so as Cudnt refasten shoe laces ... .. crossing a maybe steep winter slope ..Beinn Dearg group I think and passing old avalanche debris at bottom size of cars ..crossed river moved up other side some. Stopped for a slurp and bite ...the slope avalanched ... nervous looks ..packed and carried on only talked about it years later .... I'll try and remember more ..I do often wonder how I got to live to near 50 years old
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  8. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

    Nearly died on tryfan in a gale force blizzard - full winter kit - had to abandon pack to make it off the heather terraces (we'd taken a bad route in the white out) - 5 hours later made it back to car - couldn't drive as legs were shaking too much to operate pedals .. Next day googled 'Deaths on Tryfan' and one report descibed practically the exact decent we'd made ..
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  9. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    The most severe weather I've experienced was in the South Atlantic but that's another story. In this country, getting stuck over night in my truck on the Fens. Eighteen inches of snow fell in about two hours coupled with gales force winds meant I had to wait for the snow plough which took about twelve hours to reach me.

    I was staying at Marr Lodge last New Year when the river burst it's bank only just made it out of the valley as the only intact road was flooded by Spittle of Glenshee and I was in a small hatchback.
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  10. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    :eeker: Wow, that's a serious decision to have to make, can you tell us some more about the decision process?
  11. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Was on a Outdoors magic winter meet at Sykeside probably around 2010 and we chose Striding edge with its full winter coat on.
    One of our party chose not to do it but agreed to wait at Red tarn for when we came down Swirrel edge.
    Striding was fine no probs for us all stopping and posing for photos along the way.
    Swirrel edge was where things changed as it was thick cloud almost white out conditions as we came across one young guy arse cramponing down a snow and ice route with no cramons swinging an axe like a mad man (almost like cutting steps) instead of digging it in.Wife at this point had to take a wide berth past the loon and as she did slipped and had to self arrest, thing is i had only the week before (on Kentmere horseshoe) tought her the winter skills i learnt on a course.
    This the developed into checking wife was ok then helping loon with axe down to safety to which we came across a Chinese couple sharing micro spikes with no axe.
    Again to which we stopped and helped down safely but not before a passer by offered Sean ( Oookworks ) a spare axe for new party member without.then himself slipping with two axes in hand wondering how the **** to self arrest,luckily doing so without any harm or loss of axe.
    Probably the only time i want to walk backwards down Swirrel in full winter conditions ever again !!
    Looks for mate who decided not to join us but to no avail?? Had he gone down ?? Had he followed us after all ??
    Around 8pm that night he finally turns up to campsite.
    All relieved we ask where he had been to which he showed us hid Pot ! He had only gone up Castyecam and come across someone who was crag fast somewhere and helped in to safety and on his way.Then took one step back slipped fallen and broke his arm.with nobody around he strapped it to his walking pole walked off the mountain,drove to Kendal hospital gotten it fixed and drove back to campsite !!!
    He truly was the hero of the day ...
    What a day :(
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  12. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    thats a normal weekend for you Dids..... :happy:

    worst weather experience was a bit tame compared to that but probably the time I went up The Roman Steps and camped out in gale force conditions with driving rain. Never thought it would be life threatening but it was pretty full on and we managed to trash a Hex tent in the process (sorry about that Mole). Here's a video



    The lump outside the trashed Hex is me
    The lump inside the trashed hex is Mole
    Commentary by Sean of Oookworks

    :pompus:
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  13. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Ha haThe good old days
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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  14. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    or that time we went to the Western Brecon Beacons in November 2008 Diddi, and the 70mph winds we enjoyed and with me being in my Laser Competition :)
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  15. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Yes very surprised you survived the night :)
    I didn't even notice a wind that night in my Beast :p
    Second nights accommodation were certainly better :D
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  16. Jamess

    Jamess Section Hiker

    Probably the dumbest thing I've ever done was to start a traverse of the sierra Nevada ridge in southern spain with a forecast of heavy snow and 100 mph winds.

    At the end of the first day the storm began and we sheltered in a shepherds hut for two days whilst all hell broke lose outside.

    As soon as the wind relented we got down fast but it was hard going in waist deep snow and no snow shoes.
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  17. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    And how is Mr Rocky these days Dude?
  18. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    .
    .
    He's good and you probably wouldn't recognise him he's lost that much weight lately.
    edh likes this.
  19. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

    @ Graham ..

    yep ditching ones pack is definitely a last resort but we were struggling for a decent foothold in the heather terrace - when i say i nearly died - I'm refering to slipping about 4 ft on what felt like a borderline vertical gradient with a good 200ft drop - zero chances of survival if one had gone over - the pack weight was too much of an encumbrance - I remember dropping it and watching it bouncing off rocks- I saw it land - which gave perspective to the scale of the potential fall - I remember thinking there goes about £1500's worth of kit ! I found the pack - a lightweight Marmot which was torn to shredds - small price to pay - both sig bottles were punctured and I needed a new Dac pole for my Hilly Soulo . . Later we drove into Betws - y' and pitched on the village green - we were too drained to pitch up in the dark anywhere else - My buddy was saying that we shouldn't really pitch on the green - I said if anyone gives me drama I'll knock them out - I was that shell shocked ! We then downed a full bottle of gin in about half an hour !
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  20. Surfer99

    Surfer99 Trail Blazer

    Hmmmmm possibly a force ten stuck off the cost of Anglesey for around 8hrs, one minute we were looking down at the sea, next, next up at the stars, was hilarious watching people trying to walk around the ship and dare I say it others being sea sick :D
    Graham likes this.
  21. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    @Noltae Good decision, and well done recovering the kit. Tryfan is a nasty wee beast. I nearly got cragfast going over a boulder choke up the chimney between Tryfan and onto Bristly ridge. My mate dropped me his bottle of juice, which I caught, thus neatly proving to myself I didn't need more than 3 points of contact to stay on...
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  22. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    .
    My wife did the same in the same place and I couldn't get to her to help as i were belowbut a mate above gave her a good shouting at to bring her too and carry on :D
    Munro277 likes this.
  23. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

    im a hill walker / wild camper not a climber but these days i carry some cord so one can atleast hoist a pack up/down if needs be - Scrambling is a real eye opener with a heavy pack ..
  24. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Moderator Staff Member

    I'm lucky that the worst I've caught has been 50mph gusts and flooding two years running on a Dorset campsite since I moved to the UK.

    Did have a very bad habit of going walking in North East (coastal) Queensland in summer, cyclones are not a load of fun even when you manage to dodge the worst of the storm.
  25. MikeinDorset

    MikeinDorset Ultralighter

    ...which one?

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