Nowhere to fall

Today I was thinking back over the various mountain ridge walks I have done. Some of them were very narrow, with steep drops on either side, and I remembered advice I used to give myself, and those with me, that there was “nowhere to fall”.

(OK, to be fair, the photo above is of Penny on Crib Goch on Snowdon and people kill themselves falling off that most years, and to be doubly fair to her she was doing this having taken a tumble on a steel slope in Torridon a couple of months before, but hey let’s not allow the facts to spoil a good principle!)

Even on the steepest ridge, there is usually some sort of gradient. It is not like climbing straight up a cliff face. Admittedly in snowy or icy conditions if you do fall you are more likely to keep going and not stop, but in any other weather, on even the most frightening ridge, if you look hard you realise that you won’t fall all the way to the bottom. You will bounce at least once!

It occurred to me that this advice works in less extreme circumstances too. What is the worst that could happen? Really imagine that – and nine times out of ten you realise that you could cope.

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