Storm in the mountains - how to survive and where to shelter

Storm in the mountains - how to survive and where to shelter – main image

Turn off the phone? Run away or lie down? Or maybe crouch with legs together? How to behave when during a mountain trip we are surprised by a storm?

Polish mountains are not the Sahara desert or another desert where the hiker is surprised by a sandstorm. It might seem that checking the weather for a given day is one of the first things you do before you set off on a trail. Nevertheless, we still hear about accidents in the mountains and the tourist being struck by lightning. How to explain it? Reckless? Lack of consideration? Or maybe just bad luck?

GOPR rescuers are of the opinion that most people who prefer mountain trips are aware of the treacherous aura in these areas and are aware that the storm range can move up to several dozen kilometers in just 10 minutes. Unfortunately, this cannot always be said of the so-called Sunday tourists . This term is used by people who go on mountain trails on average once a year, often without proper preparation (and we are not talking about photos of women in high heels, famous on the web). Full of enthusiasm, they travel the trails with enthusiasm, but surprised by the storm in the open space, they may panic and not know what to do.

Escaping from the storm

In the summer, storms are quite frequent in the mountains, especially in the afternoon. Therefore, it is best to set off on the trail early in the morning . Observation of the landscape will allow us not only to admire the beautiful views, but also to spot the threat in advance - "murmurs" are heard and flashes can be seen from a considerable distance.

If, however, we were distracted, our attention was drawn to something else (e.g. a panorama from the peaks) and we realized only when the storm had already come, we should immediately get off the protruding rocks, ridges and exposed spaces. When escaping, choose the leeward side of the ridge (opposite to the approaching storm).

Of course, you must not run under single trees . You can only look for shelter in a valley, for example, in a dense forest. Larger metal clusters should also be avoided. We shouldn't be using a cell phone in a thunderstorm.

Tourists who have hiked a mountain bike or have their climbing gear (or an ice ax) should put it aside, find the most isolated area and wait for the storm to curl up next to the ground.

Mountain safety course

According to the findings of the Podhale Group GOPR, more than half of the accidents in the mountains affect people aged 11-30. The main reasons for this include the lack of adequate preparation to go out on the trail, bravado, recklessness and a lack of imagination. Wishing to protect tourists from the threat posed by such an expedition, GOPR has made an e-learning course on safety in the mountains available on its website. One of its episodes is devoted to storms.


A writer by profession, a passion of a cat. One day he will see what is behind the Urals - good to Vladivostok. So far, when he can, he enjoys the sun of the countries of southern Europe. And it's also fun;)

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