Speed is of less importance than economy of effort. To hurry is foolish except in extenuating circumstances. Slower hikers should always be encouraged and never left to struggle along on their own, to become exhausted and depressed.
Keep together and on no account should any member of the party be sent back on his own.
There is no Best Position for the leader of a party. He may be at the front, at the back or in the middle. Normally he will be at the front, having appointed the next most experienced member of the party to bring up the rear.
Rhythm is essential to good hill-walking. Springing and flexing the knees by taking too high a step and jerky movements tire the muscles and should be avoided. The leg should be allowed to swing forward like a pendulum. The natural sway of the body assists this movement.
Spare clothing should be carried in the rucksack, never tied around your waist. In order to maintain rhythm, the same speed of pace should be used on all types of ground, the length of pace should be shortened for steep difficult ground and lengthened for easy or flat ground. Each foot should be placed down flat with a deliberate step, resting the heels on any available projections such as stones or tufts of grass.
Where the slope is very steep, zig-zagging will assist the walker. When descending, overstriding and putting foot down heavily should be avoided as this will jar the body and is extremely fatiguing to the muscles.
If you have to negotiate a scree, deploy the party in such a way that debris dislodged by one person cannot fall onto another down below.
Constant stopping and starting breaks up walking rhythm and should be avoided as much as possible. One should try to make halts at fixed intervals based on time and ground.
Your job as a leader of a party is to stimulate interest and above all safe enjoyment in everything the mountains have to offer.
- With an appropriate steady pace the primary reason for periodic rests is to decrease the level of lactic acid and other waste products in the blood. This can be accomplished with 5 to 10 minutes of rest every hour. If a longer rest is requested the leader should slow the pace – although stragglers that are too slow should be halted or turned back if feasible.
- Longer rest periods are not particularly advantageous because the fall off in concentration of waste products decreases with time – recovery in 20 minutes is only about twice that in the first 5 minutes.
- After lunch some time should be allowed for digestion (about 30 minutes) because this process competes with exercise for the blood supply.
When rock-scrambling, remember the following :
- Never crowd each other on the rock.
- Watch where you place your feet and keep your heels down.
- Stand upright, away from the rock and keep handholds low to help maintain this position.
- Maintain three points of contact, moving only one limb at a time.
- Always test your holds and look out for loose rock. Knocking loose rocks onto persons down below is another common cause of accidents. If you do knock something off, shout “BELOW” as loudly as possible to warn others.
- Follow the leader’s route. Retrace your steps if your feel insecure, and work out the footholds and handholds in advance.
- Do not panic. Stop, think & stay calm.
- Never split the party – stay together
- On trail – immediately backtrack to a clearly marked part of the trail
- If you can’t find the trail, try and identify landmarks; use map to orientate yourself.
- If you don’t know where you are – stay where you are – seek nearby shelter from wind, put on warm clothing.
- Make use of emergency signals. i.e. 6 short signals (use torch, whistle, mirror etc)
- Place a bright-shining emergency space blanket on obvious place or put some brightly coloured clothing out on a place which can easily be seen by a search party or a helicopter.