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Walking in Parties

Walking in Parties

Points to be borne in mind by parties walking in the mountains are:

The Leader

  • Chooses route, sets pace, and is responsible for the party. He appoints someone to bring up the rear to ensure that no one is left behind. The leader should not let anyone go ahead except by decision. If they do even when it seems safe, he is losing control and not fulfilling his responsibility.
  • Carries spare clothing, map, compass, whistle, torch, first aid kit, emergency rations, polythene bag (8 ft X 4 ft) and a length of rope. This should only be used in emergency, e.g. someone finding the terrain difficult. It must never be used to take a short cut over rocks not really suitable for walkers.
  • Leaves word with a responsible person of intended route and expected time of return or arrival.
  • Maintains a pace suitable to the slowest member, and reduces halts to a minimum to avoid breaking rhythm.
  • Waits after obstacles to re-form the party and ensures that the party never separates.

Rear man

  • Brings up the rear and warns the leader if the party is becoming strung out.
  • Ensures that no one is left behind.

Individuals in the party

  • Follow the leader, keep a rhythmical pace and avoid crowding each other.
  • Do not go ahead of the leader or break away from the party at any time. One common cause of accidents with parties is that individuals separate and either get themselves lost or come to grief on difficult ground.
  • Always take an intelligent interest in your surroundings and in the route. Not only is the journey far more enjoyable if you are alert and observant rather than watching your feet, but you may have to share, or take over, the job of leading the party at some time.

When scrambling and walking remember the following:

  • Avoid crowding each other on the rocks.
  • Watch where you place your feet and keep your heels down.
  • Stand upright, away from the rock, and keep handholds low to help keep this position.
  • Maintain three points contact, moving only one limb at a time.
  • Test your holds and look out for loose rock. Knocking loose rocks down on those below is another common cause of accidents. If a stone is knocked down shout below as loudly as possible to warn others.
  • Follow your leader's route. Retrace your steps if you feel insecure and work out the footholds and handholds in advance.
  • When descending or ascending scree, the position of individuals should be staggered so that rock falls cannot injure anyone. A close formation in a shallow arrowhead is safe.
  • try not to lose height either as an individual or as a party, except to avoid difficult rocks.
  • If a party is overtaken by nightfall in cold and wet conditions some sort of shelter should be looked for.
  • Do not throw stones or anything down a mountain or cliff.


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Published on: 2005-05-16 (1295 reads)

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