Sarah Leighton aka Fit For Adventure is an Alpkiteer. She pedals, paddles and hikes across great distances. And manages to keep a sense of humour in the midst of demanding daring deeds.
As a female, being out alone in winter, particularly in the mountains, definitely comes with its fair share of ‘looks’. Many times, people have stopped to question my competence. Which isn’t a bad thing I guess. It’s good to know that people are keeping an eye out for the safety of others, and it’s good to question and confirm with yourself that you’re prepared.
Self-reliance is the most rewarding part of solo adventure, and in winter, it’s even more important to know that you can keep yourself safe. So here are a few tips to help you do that:
• Practice winter skills with other people before going solo, or take a winter skills course.
• Water things down a little – if you’re not as confident in a certain environment during winter, then don’t pressure yourself to achieve the same as you do in summer. Figure out what you need to learn and set yourself goals.
• Pack more than enough layers, warm drinks and food. I stand by my theory that you can get through pretty much anything if you’re fed and warm.
• Plan, plan, and plan. In summer you can get away with more spur of the moment or unplanned adventures, but in winter you need to think more about how the conditions could affect you, and have backup plans.
• Check multiple sources for weather forecasts right up until you head out on your adventure (and during if you can). If you need to reschedule then do so. You cannot control the weather.
• And most importantly… don’t be afraid to turn around. To realise that you’re out of your depth is not a failure, if anything it’s a success! It shows you were competent enough to assess the risks and make a safe decision.