Behavior during storms in the mountains

Behavior during storms in the mountains

Correct behavior in bad weather in the mountains

Thunderstorm – fascinating and threatening. Thunderstorms are one of the most dangerous weather phenomena during a mountain hike.

The problem: They are often very local in the mountains and often are not exactly predictable. So even with the most careful tour planning and steady weather observation, it can not be ruled out that you will end up in a thunderstorm.

The following rules of conduct should be taken into account in order to prevent an “in-thunderstorm coming” or to keep the dangers as low as possible in the case of the cases:

  • During the tour a regular weather observation is important. In particular, between May and August, the thunderstorm is greatest and there is a high tendency to afternoon heat storms. In case of unsafe weather conditions already during the preparation for the trip you should plan a possible shelter (pastures, huts …) or emergency descent and start the tour as early as possible.
  • If during the tour but after a thunderstorm approaches, you should not seek out some seem at first glance to be “useful” sites for protection – unsafe are forest edges, niches in / below free-standing boulders or free-standing trees. In this context, the proverb: “Oaks you should go soft, Buchen best you seek!” Not apply.A tent is not a safe place to stay during a thunderstorm.It is better to stay in the middle of the forest or in hollows of open mountain meadows. First choice, if possible: a shelter, if possible with sufficient lightning protection system.
  • In addition, keep away from all water-bearing areas in the event of a thunderstorm. In addition, deposit all metal equipment such as ice axes and crampons with sufficient distance. And: Get out of rope-insured climbs!
  • Important: During a thunderstorm the distance between the tour partners should be increased.
  • If it is very thick and the thunderstorm is really above an outdoor, it is advisable to take a protective position: For this one crouches with closed and tightened legs best on an insulating pad (such as a dry backpack or a climbing rope). The less contact surface to the ground, the lower the risk of so-called leakage currents.

The most important, no matter what happens: keep calm!