Although mountain climbing is undoubtedly a physically and mentally beneficial activity, unpredictable mountain weather conditions should not be taken lightly as weather conditions this year are very different from before. On top of the drought, Mt. Jade Main Peak’s latest snowfall hit a record latest in 80 years. Yushan National Park Headquarters (referred to as the Headquarters below) would like to earnestly remind everyone that the temperature in the mountains is 10 over 10 degrees lower than those of the plains, and the influence of moisture has made the weather extremely unpredictable. For example, on April 17th, hail fell on Mt. Jade Main Peak and Paiyun Lodge. To prevent hypothermia high-altitude sickness and so on, climbers must be prepared for the cold and moisture. In case of an emergency, hikers should carefully evaluate the situation and not hesitate to turn around to avoid mishaps.
To Avoid Hypothermia, Remember the 333 Principle
Before entering the mountains, one must enquire about the impact of weather conditions on hiking safety, and not underestimate risks from weather factors. The most basic gear one should bring along includes a two-piece raincoat, rain pants, and spare dry and warm clothing in a waterproof bag. One should not, for the sake of convenience, count on luck or bring along the lightest and most barebone of equipment as this would certainly increase the risk of outdoor activities and affect one’s safety. Furthermore, hiking in heavy rain increase the risk of unclear vision and mountain trails collapsing. The Headquarters would like to remind hikers that being drenched in the rain and exposed to a low surrounding temperature increases the risk of developing hypothermia due to the rapid loss of body heat. Hikers who have a history of cardiovascular disease may easily develop high-altitude sickness due to hypothermia, hence hikers must pay extra attention to changes in their bodies. In the event of discomfort, hikers must immediately turn around and seek medical care. The 333 Principle in emergency response in mountain climbing means that signs of life can be maintained for 3 weeks without food, but only for 3 days without water, and only 3 hours when hypothermia occurs. For this reason, having knowledge of weather conditions before entering the mountains and preparing rainwater- and moisture-resistant equipment is a definite priority.
As Adverse Weather is Unstoppable, Triple Checks Ensure Ones’ Safety
The Headquarters reminds hikers to carry out ‘Triple weather checks’ when they are carrying out mountain climbing activities. The first check is to understand the situation in the mountains in advance by having a good knowledge of weather conditions whilst keeping tabs on traffic and meteorological websites before setting out. The second check to be carried out is for the lead hiker and members of the hiking party to check their equipment together and discuss actions to be taken in the event the team encounters adverse weather. The third check to be carried out is setting a turn-around point so that in the event of encountering bad weather, the hike may be canceled and a timely turn-around point would prevent hikers from being trapped by landslides or flash floods.
Hiking with Company, Being a Good Teammate
As everyone in a hiking team has different physical conditions, hiking speeds across the team can vary hugely during long-distance and long-duration climbing activities. If hiking partners do not know each other’s conditions, they may easily become separated, hence such ‘nominal company’ poses great risk to all. An example of such a risk lies in how pressure and panic resulting from isolation, coupled with reduced physical strength and judgment, may lead to dangerous situations for the isolated individuals and the team. The Headquarters urges hikers to choose their hiking company and lead hikers carefully. Hikers should find familiar friends of similar physical abilities and be able to bear the responsibility to travel closely with and take care of themselves and their company. The team of hikers should be committed to sticking together regardless of the situation.
Safety must be the highest guiding principle when mountain climbing. When mountain climbers are planning their itinerary, they must pay extra attention and closely watch how weather conditions develop. Hikers must also have contingency plans to go and consider turning back if need be. When the weather conditions are unfavorable, it is best to postpone or shorten the trip. It’s only with safety that one can climb another mountain another day.