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Summer is, of course, the season to enjoy hiking in the mountains, but it's also a time of extreme heat, which means the stormy season!
Joël Roux, mountain guide, tells us what to do if you are caught in a storm in the mountains. The mountain skies are tricky and sometimes full of surprises. All hikers have experienced these surprise summer storms that are violent, unpredictable and potentially dangerous in nature.
Summer is, of course, the season to enjoy the mountains, but it's also a time of extreme heat, which means the stormy season. The main concern is the speed with which the storm arrives; the weather in the mountains changes very quickly, before you've even had time to realize. So you need to learn to be vigilant and to observe the environment around you. You are advised to check the local weather forecast and observe the sky regularly. Likely warning signs of a storm that you can look out for include the presence of tall clouds with a dark base.
Very often, the threat is strongest at the end of the day, but that doesn't rule out being unpleasantly surprised in the middle of the day.
The question ought to be: which places should you avoid?
The most important thing is to try to avoid stopping on a ridge or peak or under an isolated tree where you'll be the highest object.~
And do not take shelter under a tree or boulder.~
You should also move as far away as possible from water, lakes, streams etc. as water is a conductor of electricity
Lay down all your metal objects such as walking poles, and move away from them.~
The correct position is crouched down (feet together, arms around knees, head on knees) on top of your backpack, or on some other insulator so that your feet don't touch the ground.~
If you're in a group, leave a certain amount of space between each of you. Finally, stay calm and wait until the next clear interval to continue your hike; storms are intense but often short-lived.