Safe is only as good as the person

The funny thing about safe is if it is thought about it does not have to be the daemon of risk.

Plinky Asked – Share the story of a time you felt Unsafe.


Safe is only as good as the person.

I remember one time I felt really unsafe, I was walking up Snowdon via the route across Crib Goch.

We were a party of two and we had started at Pen-y-Pass and followed the Pyg track to the bottom of Crib Goch. We completed the scramble to the knife-edged ridge, crossed the ridge and were on Garnedd Ugain, all nice and safe with no worries.

If you have ever walked the route by the time you are at Garnedd Ugain it is almost the end. You only have to head left, walk down and along a bit and there is the main route up from Llanberis.

Well, all of a sudden and very quickly the mist/fog (call it what you will, that a discussion for another post) came down very quickly and visibility went from very good to 1-2m.

With it being almost the end of the walk, we continued walking to get to the peak. In the poor visibility we missed the left fork we should have taken and carried on. Suddenly there was a huge drop before us, two more steps and I would have been flapping my arms and hoping that I had a secret superpower of flight.

Time to regroup

At this point, I reeled with the shock of how close a call that was. Sitting down I started going over things in my mind. I was so careful, I was always safe, I was a safe walker. I knew where I was going, I had a route card, I had a plan. SAFE SAFE SAFE that as me.

Problem was that, I had not been safe. When things changed I did not stop and re-evaluate what had changed, what was the consequences of the cloud, do I need to navigate in a different way etc.

It was at that point I felt really unsafe, like I had let my walking partner down. On the plus side almost falling down a cliff face does make you reevaluate. We sat down looked at the map worked out where we were, where we had gone wrong. Before retraced our steps and taking the correct path.

When we found the correct path I realised that I had seen that path going off to the left but in low visibility, it looked to head down. I thought to myself we are heading to the top of a mountain and we don’t want to go down, we want to head up.

I guess the lesson learnt that day is your only safe in the moment you plan. If and when thing change you need to check your still safe.

It goes back to what I said at the start of this piece, safe does not need to be the daemon of risk.

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