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Lightning causes death

According to BBC News, a walker in the Scottish Mamore mountains yesterday was struck by lightning and sadly died of her injuries. These incidents are rare, but activators sitting on mountain summits with copper aerials in the sky should take heed. It is easy to dismiss this risk as, “It is so rare, it cannot happen to me”. The risk of lightening is ever present and is not always included in the weather forecast. So if the signs, such as, rumbles of thunder, fizzing aerial plugs or static noise on the radio are experienced, get the hell off the hill.

Regards
David

3 Likes

Can be scary when the beggers sneak up on ya. I have the lightening strike Ap on me phone and keep one eye on it as even on Kitt hill G/DC-003 they have sneaked and thank god squid poles drop quickly.
Karl

These are tragic news!
With lightning is not to be joked. If you do hf, you should recognize the gathering thunderstorm on the qrn.

73 Armin

Part of my Uk Mountain Leaders assessment was about lightning on mountains, and the advice I had from a mountain guide was if in any doubt get off the summit / ridge, even if it required a rope! The advice also included not sheltering in anything which might become a spark gap for ground currents e.g. a shallow cave and something which I had not considered trying to only have a single point of contact with the ground. ( Sat on a mat with feet close as when walking in the event of a strike with large ground currents they will go up one leg and down the other…).
Only really used the advice once many years ago on the flanks of Ben Lui (GM/SS-003) where we spent an hour on the side of the ridge, sat down waiting for the rumbling to stop!
Some of this advice could now be outdated - and I know that most UK mountains are a relativly low lightning risk so better advice much appreciated!

Paul

I’m sure that’s sound advice, and from personal experience I extend it to “if in any doubt, don’t go on the hills”

I had a really scarey moment which luckily turned out OK. With hindsight, I was unduly influenced by the thought that I had driven two hours to get there and didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Silly, but lesson learnt!
Still good to know what to do for the best if you are caught out.

Lightning strikes high points: True.
Lightning strikes low points: True.
I was on that golf course one day when a bolt came out of nowhere. We were on the lowest point of the golf course. The storm immediately followed. No one was hit – imagine that – but metal clubs and spikes abound. The Sound was LOUD, and God still can’t hit a 1-iron!

Risk management for lightning hasn’t changed much for the last decade or so. Here is a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) paper on that from 2010.

Here is the current backcountry lightning safety from the National Weather Service. It is the same info and even some of the same diagrams.

Short version: get off the peak, get away from trees, spread out, hunker down, and sit/stand on something insulating, like a sit pad.

In 2005, a group of twelve Scouts and adults were hit by lightning in the Sierra. Four were not affected, four recovered fairly quickly, and four were given CPR. Of those four, two survived. Helicopter evacuation was in less than two hours. A family friend was in that group and survived.

The 50% survival rate matches what I’ve heard elsewhere for amateur CPR and electrocution. That is a higher survival rate than for other causes of cardiac arrest.

wunder