Our website uses cookies throughout our system and to help us provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or click here to change your settings

Lessons learned in the mountains

Go to the hills long enough and, with luck, you'll build up your own store of mishaps and near misses - they're called experience, and the trick is to learn from them.

Any sort of close shave should be a learning opportunity for you, with a clear look back on what happened allowing you to pick out the things you did wrong, or could have done better, the things you should have done but didn't and the things you did which you shouldn't have. The idea isn't to beat yourself up about how stupid you were, but to learn from your mistakes so you don't repeat them.

In this page we've included tales of rescues and near misses, so you can learn from others' mistakes and hopefully avoid making them yourself.

If you have any cautionary tales of your own, where you have learned valuable lessons, you can send them to neil@mountaineering.scot for consideration. It may be summer or winter, climbing or walking. We'll use the best on this page (although, to save anyone's blushes, we won't use names).

Now read on...

Our own Heather Morning tells a tale of a simple glen walk out to a bothy for an overnight stay. What could possibly go wrong?

Read More

The uncrossable river. Time for a change of plan

It was only for a short stretch of the descent, and all had gone well on the way up, so surely it would be okay without stopping to put the spikes on...

Read More


It was a late start in November, and there was snow on the tops - but it would be fine, he said, would only take four hours and we could walk off in the dark...

Read More

It was a lovely day but still almost ended badly, with a chain of events that started the day before - or even earlier.

Read More

No shelter on the plateau.

I checked the forecast, I had all the gear and I took the bearing - so why was I now heading directly for a cornice over a massive drop?

Read More


Benighted on Beinn Sgulaird, the descent becomes too dangerous as the ground steepens. And the wind and rain don't make life any easier...

Read More

Photo by Heather Morning.

In winter darkness falls early, but uncertainty about the position meant a descent route was a problem. It was time to call 999.

Read More

Stob Coire Easain. Photo by Alan Rowan.