Monitoring environmental conditions

All leaders know that weather and terrain conditions can have a huge impact on the progress, morale and well-being of any outdoor group. Progress in bad conditions can easily be one quarter or less of that of the same party along the same route in good conditions.

Good leaders will be constantly monitoring weather conditions to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to match the demands of the trip against the prevailing conditions. If weather is deteriorating, there are excellent reasons to start earlier, and press on harder and faster than may otherwise be indicated. Conversely, if weather is gradually improving, it might be a good opportunity for a later start or a rest morning.

There are many telltale signs of weather improving or deteriorating which give varying degrees of warning of impending changes. These are discussed in Chapters 18 and 19.