Winter navigation (19/12/2020)

Winter navigation

Winterproofing your navigation skills means ensuring both your skills and equipment are ready for the harsh weather and conditions that winter can bring. Here's some top tips for getting ready

  • If you haven't got a recent map of the area that you walk regularly then it's probably best to buy one. A recent edition will have updated information as well as the latest symbols so that you can refresh your knowledge. Make sure your map is waterproof and can be folded easily. You could also laminate a section of a paper map yourself which means you have less paper to fold and is less cumbersome.
  • Winter asks more of our equipment and a good standard of compass is essential. Looking after your compass will ensure that it not only lasts many years but also works correctly. Attach it to one of your outer coat pockets and ensure the lanyard is of a comfortable length to reach your map but not too long.
  • Practise your core skills such as pacing and timing. It will pay off when you really need to use them. Do this in a familiar area and walk from landmark to landmark over different graded terrain. We do plenty of this on our navigation and skills courses.
  • At home, put your big mitts on your hands along with your buff and ski goggles then try and use your map and compass to plot a bearing. If you can do it at home, it will become easier when you are in challenging weather and simple processes become a lot more difficult!
  • PLAN WELL - don't expect your navigation skills to get you out of trouble at the last minute. Your mountain journey should consist of planning beforehand, ensuring you have the correct clothing and equipment and that you have the necessary skills to complete your winter journey or activity. We cover these topics on our winter skills courses.

Experience of winter walking and navigating also contributes to your winter navigation toolbox. Gain experience from competent others or book onto a skills course.