Today I’ve headed into the mountains with a couple of friends to do some Altitude Diving.
Not the highest mountains in the world, but being in a remote location changes all the things we take for granted when we’re doing diving from a boat or at an inland dive site.
I consider this type of diving as adventurous diving and adopt a different type of mindset for it. The safety mindset for remote altitude diving means taking backups of all kit, but also ensuring that we have emergency kit if something happens enroute.
Our lake is only 2hrs from the road, there’s not a distinct path upto it, so we’re using a map and compass to ensure we get to the right location. In addition we carrying an emergency group shelter, a gps, and a plb – just for safety sakes, but being remote we believe in a common sense approach.
We’re a four strong team today so plenty of support and able assistance if we need it.
The Altitude dive itself is in the Northern Cwm of Corn Ddu, sheltered from the sun and exposed to the coldest aspect of the mountains. Consideration needs to be taken for the change in air pressure, which in turn affects the perceived depth of the water at altitude. Thankfully our dive computers have an automatic adjustment to altitude, but unless you know that, you’d have to set your computer to compensate for the altitude.
I dived first, max depth 7mtrs, water temperature was 4 degrees, which was comfortable for 15mins. I surfaced and the team helped me get out of the wet kit and into my dry kit. Hot coffee and Jaffa cakes to the rescue courtesy of Peg and Laura.
Dan dived second and achieved similar. The key to this type of diving is preparation. Neither of us were cold under the water, but once we surfaced the wind chill bit through everything causing our extremities to chill right down, and the side effect of that meant we rapidly chilled. With the wind chill it was sun zero temperatures on the hill.
Dealing with these issues successfully is what means we had a great day rather than a high risk day. A team effort kept each diver safe, providing warm dry clothes, hot drinks, warm gloves and where needed, massaging extremities to get blood circulation effective again.
Post dive, as with all diving, we have to dekit back to the car, so extra care is taken not to exert ourselves as that wouldn’t be good. Eventually we’re back down with no issues so headed off to a lovely country pub for some food.
Overall an epic adventure day in the mountains and diving.
If you’re interested in joining me on an altitude diving day into the mountains, then get in touch with me.