/ Wild Camp Adventures

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lone - on 19 Jun 2012
Hi Everyone

My Partner and I wild camped Penyfan last night, the weather was amazing, high winds and driving rain, clag flying about everywhere, listening to it all crashing into the tent was unforgettable.

We've done well over 100 camps now over the years and they all have something different to add to the memories for when we grow old.

I was wondering if any of you have gone out into the wilderness or even your local mountains and gotten into some kind of situation that perhaps tested you, or has stuck in your memory for a long time, or changed your life a bit even...

Would be good to hear about it,

All the best

PROJECT_MANAGER - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to lone:

over in the silveretta gruppe in march? this year. skiing over 100cm of fresh powder down to the weisbadenner hutte.

that night we had very strong winds with huge drifts forming.

few beers in the hutte listening to a guide stroking his ego to a bird who seamed equally matched. i actually said hi as they were speaking english, all i got was a.. pah you poor man sitting their in duct taped trousers and superglue repaired soft shell!

anyhow the route the next day took us up a 35' slope (on the lee side!) luckily some tests suggested it wasnt too bad, so up we went.

all the way up i had a very annoying guide stating how the english know nothing etc etc, why are you worried.

(ALL this to a man who has been commented to by imfga guides as to how good my rope work is and who do i work for!)

at the next col i did further snow studies, very dubious, the shot was steep, and the guides rope wasnt long enough. so i offered for him to use mine. he refused, off they went... complete with client.

2 seconds later... rather nice avalanche, and off i went to pull them out.

what shocked me more was NO apology from the guide and the client didnt want to continue the trip... and asked to return with me.

SO never go into the mountains alone with a woman! it will blur your judgement ;) might be worth it thouggh
victorclimber - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to lone: went to do Needle Ridge way back plastered in snow and ice and intending to bivi had to rope of it we werent good enough and no crampons then,back to stretcher at top of Sty Head and ended up rescuing!!one rather thick Army Officer with 12 recruits 2 of whom had Hypowhatsit,offered to make a brew went to get water ,in up to my chest through the ice ,so I got a bit arsey as you do and ended up taking them off the Hill,they didnt know where they were ..didnt I mention the white out ..we ended up biving soaked and cold ,and back to the car next morning .but would I have missed it ? yes back then but now NO ...we were both 18
sheep - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to lone:

Camping at Angle Tarn at easter with snow on the ground. We were both 14 and it was way before the time that sleeping mats were invented. We took a tent but no sleeping bags to 'save weight'.

You live and learn, and it was a lovely walk back down Langstrath at dawn.
paul-1970 - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to lone:
The more wild camps you do, the more difficult it is to use established camp sites. It just feels more 'normal' throwing your tent down in a wild location that you've chosen or have walked a good part of the day to get to.

Experiences in my head that stick out:

A wild, high and very remote camp in Harris, just by the shores of Loch Stuladail. The second night was as wild, wet and windy as you can imagine.

A birthday camp high in the snowfields just under Beinn Dearg (Loch Broom). Waking up in the morning and cooking my sausages while sitting in an Arctic scene.

Camping in the mid-summer on Faraid Head, nr Durness. Surrounded by ocean, noise, seagulls, wind. And the soundtrack has always been like this for thousands and thousands of years.

Camping at the head of Loch Treig, Lochaber, in the winter, and hearing the train bump along the dark shores of the loch in the distance.

And few experiences compare to the 'not making the bothy' trip. So I bivvied out in the open in late December, high in Fionn Gleann after failing to get to Camban. Nothing compares to the shock and awe of the unplanned. Nor lying in a sleeping bag and emergency plastic bivvy bag staring at the mass of stars and chrystalline reflective snowfields.
GrahamD - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to paul-1970:

> The more wild camps you do, the more difficult it is to use established camp sites.

I'm the opposite; the more I do, especially in combination with carrying climbing gear, the more I appreciate the creature comforts of a pub and a bog.
GrahamD - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to sheep:

I remember 'saving weight' by taking a down vest rather than taking a sleeping bag for two nights planned bivvy in the Picos. Totally crap idea as the debilitating effect of two cold nights without proper sleep far outweighs the sleeping bag.
GrahamD - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to lone:

Probably the most memorable was as innocent 20 year olds with no climbing experience and precious little in the way of scrambling deciding to go backpacking 'somewhere up the west of Scotland'.

So we saw what looked like a nice ridge walk on the north side of Glencoe and the Pap of Glencoe looked like an enticing start. We finally got to to somewhere where we dared scramble off the left (Rannoch Moor side)sometime just before midnight - chastened and not a little relieved. That felt like a four star campsite to us, complete with herds of stags a few hundred metres away. The first time I realised that Scottish mountains can be a whole lot more serious than those I was used to.
summitjunkie - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to lone: Like yourself, I've wildcamped on numerous occasions, summer and winter, planned and unplanned, here and abroad. However, one particularly sticks in my mind...

First time in the Atlas Mountains heading over from the Lepiney Hut to the Mouflon I managed to get us in the wrong couloir (poor maps, the lack of a recce and overconfidence)! Two thirds of the way up, having already done 400m grade II/III ascent a storm came in threatening to throw us back down. I decided to push on assuming that we were in the correct couloir and that relative safety and a known route off was only 200m above us but when we eventually got there it became obvious we were 150-200m to the left of where we should have been and, in the prevailing conditions, there was no obvious way off.

So, we waited for the storm to abate.... and waited, and waited. After a couple of hours squatting behind a rock for shelter on the col it became obvious that we might be there for the night and that we'd have to set up a more generous shelter so that we could ride the storm out, so we built a decent windbreak and got the bags out. I managed to get some water on for our evening meal and managed to get some coffee down but after a while started to get ill (we were at just over 3600m but the even lower pressure due to the storm meant we weren't acclimatised for a stay in the location we were in) so had to pop a diamox. We both then went to sleep.

Woke in darkness and it soon became obvious something was wrong. I shouted out for the missus and could only hear muffled sounds - the wind had dropped but the storm persisted and whereas the col was previously being scoured of snow we were now buried under it. Now, the brain is a bit befuddled under these conditions and with just having woken up, so the immediate response is to panic. However, after a few seconds of imagining the worst I remembered - we were lying down!

Quick as a shot I simply sat up and shook the accumilation off the bivi bag and cleared the small 'breathe hole' that I'd drawn round my face of snow. We were indeed buried, but only if we were lying down... phew! A quick dig out with the snow shovel and we were OK for a bit again.

Twice more that night I had to get up and dig us out, but around 4am the skies cleared to reveal a blanket of stars and I knew we'd be OK. The storm had dumped a good three foot of snow on the col and the temperature was ridiculously low seeing as we were only 30 miles from the fringes of the Sahara but, in the morning, I could see a reasonably safe route off and we'd survived our first forced bivi at altitude.

What an adventure and what a learing experience!
tallsteve - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to lone:
Took the scouts and a fellow leader wild camping in Snowdonia last August.

We found the remains of a WW2 bomber in the col, and had an amazing starlit night. None of the rest of the group had seen so many stars.

An ally cooking pot and night light made a great fake fire around which we sat and chatted until the wee small hours.

My fellow leader went on and on about the experience for weeks afterwards.
Bingers - on 20 Jun 2012

How do you know you are in the same room as the hero PROJECT_MANAGER?

You don't need to know, he'll tell you.
Bimble on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to lone:

Waking up over the back of Skiddaw in January, glorious (-8 according to the watch) morning, covered in frost everywhere & the sun coming up to glitter off it, with nobody else around. Superb
Skip - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to lone:

Twenty years ago this August along with 3 people i had meet in North Pakistan we decided to attempt to get into Tibet.After about 2 weeks of insanely tough bus travel we arrived in Llasha,somewhat surprised as we thought individual entry to Tibet was banned by the Chinese. Our next destination was Katmandu, however we were reluctant to take official transport and be restricted as to were we could travel. A plan was hatched,there just happened to be 4 very poor mountain bikes for sale in Llasha (the very cheap ones you get in Halfords for about 90).Makeshift panniers were cobbled together from canvas school bags and a "tool kit" assembled from the local market. We had one small tent and one lightweight plastic sheet.

So off we went with one acceptable map, very poorly equipped re suitable clothing and virtually no survival gear.Fortunately i had a reasonable stove, picked up in a local market in North India and some freeze dried expedition food donated by a retreating Korean expedition leaving Nanga Parbat base camp.

The trip went very well, with a few set backs, including two of us having to wait at a large lake for about five days will the others hitched a lorry lift back to Llasha for bike repairs.However one late afternoon we spotted a very ominous looking storm rapidly approaching ahead of us just as we were about to set up camp. We chose to camp in what seemed to be old livestock pens, constructed from earth walls, set up the tent,made a lean to with the plastic sheet and rapidly dug some drainage trenches (no idea what with?). Then the storm hit, very heavy hail turning to snow, lighting hitting the ground close by. Within minutes snow was building up against the lean to and water pouring in until we had to abandon it, with one lad frantically trying to dig us out, everyone soaked to the bone. The tent dwellers retreated to shelter while Jon and i attempted to make for a small hut we had seen earlier. However it was dark, and the lightning flashes made our vision unreliable. After a brief discussion, i persuaded Jon that we were walking to out deaths in very difficult terrain and we retreated to the tent while we could still locate it. We got there to find the others had abandoned it six inches deep in water.

The only option seemed to be to get back on the road and walk in the opposite direction to which we had come, there we no dwellings for miles that way. Huddling together to try to gain some warmth (i was in early stages of hypothermia) we keep walking.leaving all the gear at the camp. Eventually we reached a small house with lights on, knocked on the door and were welcomed in by some locals having a bit of party. A fire, some food and chang (local barley beer) did the trick, we stayed the night and walked back to camp to retrieve our gear.

The rest of the trip was a great success, including five days at Everest base camp, North face.

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