/ What Would You Do?

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MischaHY - on 20 Nov 2016
What would you do?

Yesterday myself and two friends were out walking around the Castleton area of the Peak District. We started out through Hope, up and over Lose Hill and up onto Win Hill. We set off around midday in the knowledge that we would do a good leg in the dark, and so came properly prepared (Headtorches, technical clothing etc). On the way up Win Hill we encountered a group of four adults who had evidently come out a little unprepared for the length of walk (Edale - Hope via Mam Tor and Win Hill), and were lost in the failing light with only phone torches. We gave them directions to Hope and offered to exchange contact information but they were happy so we carried on.
As we came towards the crest of Win Hill on the Mam Tor side we met a couple of walkers who we briefed about the lost party in case they had lost their way again. In return they mentioned to us that they had spotted a young man attempting to set up a tent further along the ridgeline on the other side of the fence, but seemed to be struggling.

Having made our way further along the ridgeline (By this point it was around 5:45pm, pitch black and very cold with the wind chill), we encountered the lad in question having just finished setting up what looked like a 20 argos 2 man tent, and hanging a glow stick on the nearby fence post (Above the plantation). We approached him in a friendly manner and asked if he was alone and whether he had a sleeping bag etc, to which he assured us that a sleeping bag and roll mat would not be necessary (it was easily -3) but that he had a few friends coming up behind him.
It was clear to us that he was inexperienced due to his answers and the clothing he was wearing, so we advised him to come down with us, but he was adamant that he and his friends were going to camp. As we made our way down the hill he followed us to shout his three companions who were waiting lower down the hill, evidently trying to avoid the biting cold for as long as possible.
We spoke to the lads further and warned them of the danger of hypothermia, to which they assured us that it would be ok because they had "Loads of blankets, a barbecue and alcohol".
Again, we warned them of the danger of the cold especially combined with alcohol, but they were evidently resolved to attempt to stay the night up there. Having ensured they knew how to contact mountain rescue and danger signs of hypothermia, we carried on down the hill and into Castleton.

However, we did not feel comfortable leaving them in what we considered to be a very dangerous situation and decided to call the non-emergency police number so that they could put the situation through the guys at mountain rescue and consider whether they felt that they may need to intervene.
I expressed my concerns, including a scenario which I felt could easily happen whereby hypothermia combined with alcohol might lead them to shelter in the tent with the barbecue in the entrance for warmth, potentially leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The lady I spoke too then called back around ten minutes later asking for more details and saying that they were strongly considering sending a team out based on the conditions and risk factors mentioned. She mentioned Mountain Rescue may call again directly if required, but we did not hear anything further.

What would you have done? We as experienced hillwalkers/climbers felt that we couldn't knowingly leave them in that situation without alerting someone to the situation. In our opinion, the risk factor was just too high.

Thoughts?
Pursued by a bear - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Seems a fair call to me. If you'd done nothing and it later transpired that something unfortunate had occurred, you'd have regretted not making that call for a long time. Sure, we were all young and stupid once and it may now be that a group of young lads hate you with a passion; but they'll be around to do so.

T.
elliot.baker - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Perfectly reasonable decision.
brianjcooper on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Probably the same as you did. Offering advice is always tricky. At least you tried, and may have saved them from becoming another avoidable tragedy. You can lead a horse to water etc...
bouldery bits - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

it may now be that a group of young lads hate you with a passion; but they'll be around to do so.

> T.


This.

Bb
Wainers44 - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Good call. Would have done the same.
MischaHY - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> Sure, we were all young and stupid once and it may now be that a group of young lads hate you with a passion; but they'll be around to do so.

Pretty much my thought process. I know I've been bailed out of situations a few times in my life; at the time it was embarrassing, looking back I'm very thankful.
wercat on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:
Someone of my acquaintance long ago at work learned the hard way - when he was about 16 he went walking in N Wales with 2 older teenagers. They ended up taking shelter behind a stone wall in a blizzard and all huddled up together. When he woke up the two older lads had died keeping him warm. He later became a very prominent member of RAF MRT for many years and always preached safety when we were out on the hills with the Lochcarron MC.
Post edited at 18:08
Welsh Kate - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Good call. We had a callout a couple of years ago to a pair of lads who'd done something similar, got very wet and tried to camp in chilly conditions with woefully inadequate kit. One of them was flown to the nearest hospital hypothermic.
Dave Perry - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:
Its called evolution. I'd let them evolve - or not.

(People are allowed to do what they want, including not evolving).
Post edited at 19:25
Trangia - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Good call, and well done. If in doubt I believe there is no harm in alerting the MR and letting them make the judgement. I'm sure they would rather do that than be faced with recovering bodies in the morning.
Wainers44 - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave Perry:

> Its called evolution. I'd let them evolve - or not.

> (People are allowed to do what they want, including not evolving).

Oh gawd, you mean stupid people dont get help now....

...thats me up sh*t creek
mysterion on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

I would mind my own business
shuffle - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to wercat:

Blimey, that made me tear up. What a horrifying incident for your friend to have been involved in. Really brings it home how brutally difficult it is to survive in extreme cold without proper equipment.

MischaHY, I think you absolutely did the right thing. It is really important that we all look out for one another out in the hills (especially for those with less experience) and you did just that. It is really quite scary how unprepared some people are when they head out!
Ron Rees Davies - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Do the peak rescue teams publish details of their calls?

Oggie valley have them all on the website so you can actually check the outcome of any call like this.
deepsoup - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:
> Do the peak rescue teams publish details of their calls?

They do. The area the OP is talking about would be the Edale team: http://www.edalemrt.co.uk/latest_incidents.html

in reply to MischaHY:
> What would you do?

Exactly the same thing you did most likely.
olddirtydoggy - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Is this for real? I remember as a teen camping in exactly the same circumstances up at Burbage and yes we got very cold and drunk. Lesson was learnt the hard way and years later we're kitted up and experienced. Nothing wrong with expressing friendly concern but then calling non emergency and reporting it in was a bit much. The plantation isn't exactly full mountain conditions away from town. Hathersage is no more than half an hours jog away!
Great thread, I am entertain!
marsbar - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Trouble is hypothermia impairs judgement. People have died from it, with the bizarre notion that they are overheating making them remove clothes because the brain doesn't work properly. Half an hour away is irrelevant.
Jamie B - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Borderline for me. Not "clear and present danger" but clearly a situation with some potential. He wasn't going to respond to your well-meaning suggestions, so letting the police know was a fair call - what more can you do?
Hyphin - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Better saying/doing something and having someone think you're an ass hole than doing/saying nothing and spending the rest of your life feeling like you've been one.

If police/MRT decide to react or not that's there call, you just fed the information you had into their decision making process.

I'd bet that there's more than one or two of the proponents of "evolution" or "Darwinism" on here that are still here through luck rather than judgement.
deepsoup - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
> The plantation isn't exactly full mountain conditions away from town. Hathersage is no more than half an hours jog away!

Not that plantation. If you're going to get in a little dig at the OP, you could at least read the post first.
MischaHY - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Ha, got to love a good lesson learned! Now - imagine you're up on an exposed ridge, a good 45 minutes away from the nearest house over rough steep ground, you're drunk, hypothermic,and woefully inexperienced at moving over that kind of terrain.

Still entertained?

p.s. if these lads had been at Stanage Plantation I'd have had a good laugh at the thought of their chilly night to come, and then gone on my merry way.
nickh1964 - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

FWIW I think you did the right thing.
In similar vein..... A couple of Christmas holidays ago my wife and I walked along from Cairngorm over the N corries and were descending the shoulder from Lochain. It was very cold (minus 18 that am in Aviemore). We saw a figure traversing right to left along the path below the routes on the main cliff above the slab. He (or she) was moving VERY slowly, say a couple pf metres in a few minutes, stopping regularly. I started to worry that this was a cold person on the edge of hypothermia, trying to get up and go but failing to keep moving. I said to my wife that we wpould keep on descending as we would have aline of sight for some time, and see what happened when we hit the Corrie floor.
The figure was now mostly stationary for most of the time, occasionally moving a short way but then sitting down again.
I decided to call 999 as I was not in a position to leave my wife on her own and could not have done much if it was an emergency, plus it would take more daylight to get up to the individual and assess things and it was well past one thirty.
I called, got Police, they took my number and MRT called me, asked quite a bit about me ( I guess to see if I was likely to be reliable as a judge ), and said they had a chopper in the area and would check it out. Chopper duly arrived, landed, checked the situation with us, flew up when we had confirmed everything, came back a few minutes later to say the chap was sure he was OK, not a problem.
I started to say sorry, but was very nicely stopped and told if ever in doubt, do what you did, far better for them to assess and know about things than not.
So, I felt better about having called them, as a post above says, better to call it in than risk spending the rest of your days thinking "if only" .
Bootrock on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

No problem with your actions. You did the right thing, but sadly you can't fix stupid.

If there is any doubt, then there is no doubt. Get the professionals in. That's what they are there for.


Sadly a lot of people have the "it won't happen to Me" mentality and as severe lack of understanding or sound knowledge of hill safety or weather. They don't realise that experienced people with the right kit can die, let alone people without a clue. Having had a couple of mates die on the hills, I would have been firmer and not sugar coated my frustration at them. But all in all mate, sound judgement. Don't beat yourself up or worry about it.
mysterion on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:
Haha, such drama. Has anyone been up there to clean up the carnage?
Post edited at 13:48
MischaHY - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to mysterion:

It was a bit dramatic! Dark night, high wind... Makes for a good start to a story. That said, nothing from the Edale MR team today so looks like they got away with it! Good on them. Sleeping bags next time, I hope ;)
wercat on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to shuffle:

Yes, it is shocking. To clarify, he was actually head of site security where I worked so not a friend as such but a decent bloke. He spent a lot of time earlier in his career picking up the pieces after air crashes in remote areas
FesteringSore - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> Trouble is hypothermia impairs judgement.
Perhaps olddirtydoggy was hypothermic when he posted
Dax H - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Better to say something unique needed rather than not say something that was needed.
Also had it hit the fan I'm sure your report of where they were would have got a rescue there much faster than a pissed up call at 2am with little or no clue where they were.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Timmd on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave Perry:
> Its called evolution. I'd let them evolve - or not.

> (People are allowed to do what they want, including not evolving).

I might call that a callous thing to post.
Post edited at 20:34
Timmd on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Hyphin:
> I'd bet that there's more than one or two of the proponents of "evolution" or "Darwinism" on here that are still here through luck rather than judgement.

That's my thoughts, I think many adults are only here due to a sprinkling of good luck, certainly I think that's the only reason I'm still here (and still with all my faculties - thanks to helmets or landing luckliy).
Post edited at 20:45
Dave Perry - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:
So I decide to do a bit of hillwalking cum 'night-out', wearing my non branded, non technical warm clothing.

I don';t have a fancy tent bought at great cost from a high street mountaineering shop. I only fancy dabbling in camping at first so I bring a couple of blankets instead.

OK, so I grant you my Argos tent and my non branded non technical clothing won't cut the mustard if you want to look the part in some village in the Peak district by parading your logo clothing in the high street. Indeed my clothing gets damp in a down pour and my tent may well even let a bit of water in too- once I can get it up.


At a balmy -3c with any tent and a couple of blankets no one is going to die.

Bushcrafters use blankets - they even use hammocks and no tents. Tut Tut!!!. Bushcrafters on BCUK even delight in making old fashioned clothing from bits of wool - this is terrible! Not only do they have the cheek to forgo the technical brands and big logos they use -- WOOL! sacre bleu!!!. (or whatever the French is).

And I believe there are still armies in colder countries who use crappy tents and crappy non technical clothing and blankets in far colder conditions than the Peak district As for the need for gortex and technical clothing..........

It is of course a fine line in judgement if you decide that some one is incompetent to spend the night out without the right kit. It is of course another fine line to then decide to have them rescued by calling out the mountain rescue team.

You'd have to ask yourself, as you may have done, whether in the absence of your help that they would die or become so incapacitated through the weather (and not the beer) that they were at serious risk. I'm not sure they were!.
Post edited at 07:57
marsbar - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave Perry:

The way I see it, they may have been at risk, and if you call mountain rescue the judgement call is handed over to those that have the experience to make that call.
Iain Thow - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Wonder if this is connected to the tent and sleeping bags that were apparently abandoned up on the side of Back Tor on Tuesday, having been there a couple of days? No bodies (thankfully) but lots of gear strewn around (fox?).
Dave Perry - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to marsbar:

So next time I see someone in an Argos type tent, no sleeping bag, no branded technical clothing (whatever that means), some beer perhaps and a barbecue I'll call out the MR.

Any suggestions as to what temperature/weather it should be ?
Scarab9 - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> The way I see it, they may have been at risk, and if you call mountain rescue the judgement call is handed over to those that have the experience to make that call.

exactly what marsbar said. You thought there might be risk, you handed it over to experts to make a judgement. Worst case you took up a few mins of their time and they decided it wasn't worth checking. Or you could have saved lives.

I'd add that there's two people on this thread who appear to be utter pricks - just ignore them.
marsbar - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave Perry:

No sleeping bag, struggling to put the tent up and cold weather is the issue. I'm not a gear snob. It's not about them having expensive stuff. Some of my gear is mid price, most of it is cheap.

My dad survived camping hillwalking and kayaking as a teenager in the 1950s and 1960s without any fancy gear, that's not what this is about.

We've all made mistakes or done daft things when we were younger, one of mine was letting my Venture Scouts sort the kit out, I ended up with a tent with no ridge pole, despite my best efforts it fell down on top of me several times in the night. But it was summer and it didn't matter. Another time I was to tired to put the tent up. Again, summer, no rain, not an issue.

No sleeping bag in the winter, temperatures below freezing, not being able to put your tent up and getting drunk is a hypothermia risk. The risk from hypothermia is death.
Dave Perry - on 27 Nov 2016
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:
There were no relevant reports of call outs by any of the Peak district MR teams that day (or the next morning)
Post edited at 08:23
digby - on 27 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Bet the tent is still there, and a pile of bottles and cans around the dead barbecue.
Neil Williams - on 27 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

I think what you did sounds spot on to me. You can't nanny people if they won't accept it, but equally as someone who knows what they are doing in the hills you can't fail to feel *some* responsibility for those who don't.
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

Looks like they didnt take their crap home with them. Hopefully that isnt because they had to be rescued
https://twitter.com/fraglast/status/802148766052712448

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