Stuck in the Storm and Lightning on the Mountain? Do These 4 Things

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In addition to hypothermia, it turns out that one of the other big risks for mountain climbers is being caught in a storm while on the mountain. Of course, as much as possible we should avoid storms when climbing the mountain. But not infrequently we are caught in rainstorms, winds, and even lightning when we are at camp or on a mountain. Therefore we must understand the weather conditions and how to save ourselves when caught in a storm on the mountain.

The storm itself is a change in the weather on the mountain very quickly from sunny to cloudy, strong winds to heavy rain accompanied by lightning. These storms usually occur in the rainy season or in the transition season (transition of seasons) where weather conditions change very quickly.

That is why before climbing the mountain we must pay attention and always update about the weather on the mountain. When registering at the climbing post, don't hesitate to ask the officers about the weather at the top of the mountain. This is to anticipate being caught in a storm and unexpected things as well as being a benchmark for what supporting tools we must prepare and take to hike.

Indeed, storms on this mountain are very dangerous and must be avoided. Even one of the National Geographic Indonesia Photographers, Yunaidi said that "Rain at a height accompanied by storms and lightning is disastrous for climbers."

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Then what if we get caught in a storm while at camp or the top of a mountain. So, here are some tips that you can do when you are caught in a storm on the mountain from Yunaidi, a National Geographic Indonesia photographer who survived death when caught in a thunderstorm on Mount Kerinci in 2012.

1. Shelter by the Low Tree

Why not take shelter near a tall tree? This is done to minimize the risk of being struck by lightning or being hit by a fallen tree. Because lightning strikes high objects more often where if we take shelter in a tall tree it is very dangerous.

Moreover, tall and large trees in the mountains are also prone to falling due to storms because the trees are old and their roots are not strong enough to support tree trunks that are constantly hit by storm winds.

Of course, taking shelter in a tree that is not so tall is the right choice in the event of a storm while on the mountain.

2. Avoid Camping in Open Areas

Camping in this open area is very risky, especially during the rainy season and there is a potential for storms. In addition, open places such as the savanna are very vulnerable to strong winds which can certainly damage the tent, ranging from broken tent frames to tearing, even in some mountains there have been incidents of tents flying freely in the air like kites

In addition, in open areas, when there is a storm, it is very vulnerable to lightning strikes because there are no electrical barriers other than the tent and its occupants. Even in 2017, there was a case where three climbers were killed by lightning on Mount Prau, Wonosobo. This happened because they set up their tents in the open.

The best place to camp during a storm is to look for areas that are lower and somewhat enclosed, such as gullies or canyons that are lower than the surrounding area. This is to avoid the potential for being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm. Anyway, avoid camping at the top of a hill or open area.

3. Don't lie on the ground directly

Never do this if you are caught in a storm on the mountain let alone caught in a thunderstorm. This will be very dangerous because the ground can conduct electricity from lightning strikes. Even when lightning strikes the earth, the electricity from the lightning will propagate on the ground up to 30 meters from the center of the strike.

Of course, if we lie on the ground, we will also be struck by electricity from the lightning that propagates on the ground. It is therefore advisable to minimize contact with the ground. As much as possible sit on a rolled-up mat while wearing footwear. This is done to minimize the flow of electricity from lightning that propagates on the ground by utilizing the mat as an electrical barrier or insulator.

4. Stay away from water, metal, and other electrical conductors

This is done to minimize the potential for us to be struck by lightning. Because metal objects such as iron fences and streams of water are good conductors of electricity. So that lightning will be attracted and grabbed these items.

So that when we are caught in a thunderstorm on the mountain, we avoid the flow of water as much as possible and also cover metal equipment with cloth and of course turn off electronic equipment such as cellphones and cameras. Because electronic equipment has a magnetic field and can trigger lightning strikes.

Yanuardi also emphasized that the above methods can be applied to minimize the risk of being struck by lightning when trapped in a storm on the mountain. But in the end, the most important thing is preparation before climbing such as physical readiness, logistics, equipment to basic knowledge about survival. And of course, always check the weather conditions on the mountain that will be the purpose of climbing.

Because the success of a mountain climb is not judged by whether we get to the top of the mountain or not, but we go home safely. So stay safe and check the weather before climbing.

Best regards!

Take care of your safety and health during your exploration.

Redaksi Jelajah Lagi

Kami mengulas berbagai hal menarik tentang petualangan, pendakian gunung dan traveling serta perlengkapan outdoor untuk menunjang aktifitas alam bebas.

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