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Thread: Hypothermia

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Derby Tup's Avatar
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    Hypothermia

    I'm with IanDarkpeak in thinking a hypothermia thread isn't a bad idea. I'm sure there are times when many of us have headed towards it (me included after sitting around too long after a BG recce recently). Knowing what to do (and probably as importantly not what to do) is very useful information
    Poacher turned game-keeper

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    Grandmaster IanDarkpeak's Avatar
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    Re: Hypothermia

    Quote Originally Posted by Derby Tup View Post
    I'm with IanDarkpeak in thinking a hypothermia thread isn't a bad idea. I'm sure there are times when many of us have headed towards it (me included after sitting around too long after a BG recce recently). Knowing what to do (and probably as importantly not what to do) is very useful information
    I'll get something together later. Bit short of time this morning.

    Prevention
    Signs
    Causes
    Treatment

    Anything else? What do our fellrunning Docs think?
    Might good to have some anecdotes from runners...

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    Master Al Fowler's Avatar
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    Re: Hypothermia

    As far as I can remember, Ive once been in actual trouble of hypo, and another time it was just a nasty but not serious spout of coldness.

    The first time was when I recce’d the Coniston FR route in pouring rain and cold cloud one October morning in about 2009 or 10.
    I lost the path up Weatherlam and ended up in a crop of huge rocks. I didn’t know where the hell I was and I was desperately cold. My OMM smock was soaked both inside and out, and my gloves were saturated. I sat down behind a rock to get the map and compass out, and had to force myself to get up and move. I tried to carry on, but bailed after Swirl How and just dropped straight down to Levers Water. Thankfully by the time I was at the tarn I was out of the cloud and I could warm up. Certainly a reality check that you don’t mess with the weather!
    The second time was after Noonstone when it was the English Championship race the other year. Id fallen in every bog going and was soaked. I had hitched a lift with a few clubmates who were a while finishing after me and I was stood around getting cold. By the time the car was opened, I couldn’t use my hands and couldn’t get undressed out of my wet clothes. I was given a pair of dry gloves and gradually my hands came back.

    Since then, Ive always taken a pair of gloves with me to wear after a race or training run, just incase.

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    Senior Member Steampig's Avatar
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    Re: Hypothermia

    Just to put some context to the Fellsman Hypothermia situation.
    This was my 1st attempt and myself and my running buddy set off from Ingleton in Long Tights and Waterproof / Windproof Tops. It was sunny but cold and very windy when we all set off. There was a real mixture of clothing being worn from shorts and long sleeves tops to people in full protection. I think that perhaps some people under estimated the effects of the wind throughout the day and not just when the sun went down and the temperature dropped. As Jez Bragg said in his Grough interview, even he felt that he was putting in a lot more effort just to keep going against the wind. More effort equals tired sooner than you might normally anticipate, more calories required sooner than you might normally anticipate etc etc. We noticed several people putting jackets on the tops of summits, putting your jacket on when you are already cold is a bit like eating when you feel hungry or drinking when you are thirsty.... it's probably too late. I think that careful management of yourself is the key in an event such as this.

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    Re: Hypothermia

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampig View Post
    Just to put some context to the Fellsman Hypothermia situation.
    This was my 1st attempt and myself and my running buddy set off from Ingleton in Long Tights and Waterproof / Windproof Tops. It was sunny but cold and very windy when we all set off. There was a real mixture of clothing being worn from shorts and long sleeves tops to people in full protection. I think that perhaps some people under estimated the effects of the wind throughout the day and not just when the sun went down and the temperature dropped. As Jez Bragg said in his Grough interview, even he felt that he was putting in a lot more effort just to keep going against the wind. More effort equals tired sooner than you might normally anticipate, more calories required sooner than you might normally anticipate etc etc. We noticed several people putting jackets on the tops of summits, putting your jacket on when you are already cold is a bit like eating when you feel hungry or drinking when you are thirsty.... it's probably too late. I think that careful management of yourself is the key in an event such as this.
    Good points Steampig. All the same I think my major problem at the Fellsman was putting on too many layers (ironically), then building a up a sweat running which then cooled super fast when I hit 3 miles of tough ground and having to walk head on into that frigid wind. All the same I definitely used up miles more calories than maybe I was expecting which also led to some unexpected low blood sugar moments as well.

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    Re: Hypothermia

    Quote Originally Posted by Derby Tup View Post
    I'm with IanDarkpeak in thinking a hypothermia thread isn't a bad idea. I'm sure there are times when many of us have headed towards it (me included after sitting around too long after a BG recce recently). Knowing what to do (and probably as importantly not what to do) is very useful information
    Get off the hill..

    If you are dangerously cold, uncontrollable shivering.. just get down.. if you hurt your ankle.. if you can get weight on it.. get off the hill.. don't take your shoe off and let it swell.. just get off.. no matter the pain.. unless you can get loads of layers from walkers on and you know help is close just get off the hill..

    DNF'ing is perfectly OK.. this stoical bullshit we see too much.. 'never quit' 'a winner never quits' etc... just stupidity.

    Broken ankles don't kill people.. hypothermia does.

    On sea survival courses we're given minutes to live once we hit the water, even in summer we're looking at a few 10's of minutes before we die..

    When you are wet to the core.. jacket or not.. the heat loss is extreme.. so if you are wet.. cold.. with no insulating layer.. get off the hill.. if the temperature is less than 10 degrees and you have a strong wind with the resulting wind chill you won't last long, you will be losing heat constantly... so you get cold, start stumbling, take a fall..

    Runners seem to have this magical faith in a very thin layer of wetted out goretex... if you are active its OK.. but the moment you slow its useless and you need to get off or get insulation on.. we don't have insulation with us in almost all races.. so get off the hill..

    The thing is the early symptoms of hypothermia are confusion and then tiredness.. so the moment you have any muddled thinking.. just get off the hill, but that's why you should just get off the moment you get uncontrollably cold.. Wendy Dodds found a guy lying down in the great lakes race the other year, he said he felt tired.. she undoubtably saved that guys life..

    So.. what to do.. get off the hill.. what not to do.. stay on the hill.. of there's a strong wind you need to get out of that.. if you can descent the leeward side.. if that will bring you to safety.. get into woods.. but the main thing is get back to civilisation asap.

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    Master IainR's Avatar
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    Re: Hypothermia

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Fowler View Post

    Since then, Ive always taken a pair of gloves with me to wear after a race or training run, just incase.

    I wear gloves a lot. I have reynauds so lose my hands quick. the other year I DNF'd in foel fras.. set off in a vest in awful conditions, but FF is a runners race so you keep warm.. but I took a sneaky short cut to move into second.. but had turned 180 and ran back on myself.. slowed.. got cold.. tried to get a map.. but my hands were useless.. couldn't get my jacket on.. then fell and cut my back so badly I still have a scar 3 years later.. I just descended.. out of the wind I warmed within minutes.. got my jacket on and had a pleasant run out having DNF'd.. it was amazing how serious it was as this cold front came through just for the race.. and was then glorious within minutes.. but since then I'm really careful about my hands..

    Also I used my new OMM bumbag that day and did the bungy's up tight.. so couldn't undo them with cold hands.. I now have no bungy on them just in case that ever happens..

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    Master Dynamo Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Hypothermia

    Quote Originally Posted by IainR View Post
    Get off the hill..

    If you are dangerously cold, uncontrollable shivering.. just get down.. if you hurt your ankle.. if you can get weight on it.. get off the hill.. don't take your shoe off and let it swell.. just get off.. no matter the pain.. unless you can get loads of layers from walkers on and you know help is close just get off the hill..

    DNF'ing is perfectly OK.. this stoical bullshit we see too much.. 'never quit' 'a winner never quits' etc... just stupidity.

    Broken ankles don't kill people.. hypothermia does.

    On sea survival courses we're given minutes to live once we hit the water, even in summer we're looking at a few 10's of minutes before we die..

    When you are wet to the core.. jacket or not.. the heat loss is extreme.. so if you are wet.. cold.. with no insulating layer.. get off the hill.. if the temperature is less than 10 degrees and you have a strong wind with the resulting wind chill you won't last long, you will be losing heat constantly... so you get cold, start stumbling, take a fall..

    Runners seem to have this magical faith in a very thin layer of wetted out goretex... if you are active its OK.. but the moment you slow its useless and you need to get off or get insulation on.. we don't have insulation with us in almost all races.. so get off the hill..

    The thing is the early symptoms of hypothermia are confusion and then tiredness.. so the moment you have any muddled thinking.. just get off the hill, but that's why you should just get off the moment you get uncontrollably cold.. Wendy Dodds found a guy lying down in the great lakes race the other year, he said he felt tired.. she undoubtably saved that guys life..

    So.. what to do.. get off the hill.. what not to do.. stay on the hill.. of there's a strong wind you need to get out of that.. if you can descent the leeward side.. if that will bring you to safety.. get into woods.. but the main thing is get back to civilisation asap.
    Very true.

  9. #9
    Master Al Fowler's Avatar
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    Re: Hypothermia

    Quote Originally Posted by IainR View Post
    get off the hill
    Wise words Iain - I'll keep your advice locked and loaded!

    Quote Originally Posted by IainR View Post
    Also I used my new OMM bumbag that day and did the bungy's up tight.. so couldn't undo them with cold hands.. I now have no bungy on them just in case that ever happens..
    I had the same problem at Noonstone. I ripped the standard zip off my Inov-8 bumbag and tied a much longer length of material through the eyelet so I can open it much easier now.

  10. #10
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    Re: Hypothermia

    Several runners were hypothermic at Mynnydd Troed at the weekend despite a shortened route. (see comments at http://www.fellrace.com/mynyddtroed). One was taken to hospital but thankfully is now OK. Contributing factors were cold continuous heavy rain, very strong winds and flimsy 'windproof' body cover which doesn't keep the wet out, you can see some very wet runners on Al Tye's photos.

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