Over the last couple of months we’ve been facilitating Arctic trek training sessions up and down the country for our trekkers which has been used to prepare them robustly for the challenge of trekking in sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic Circle. During January – March 2017 we have five treks heading to northern Finland for various charities.
As part of the support provided by the team at Breaking Strain Events, participants receive 24/7 support via an online forum and email and phone support from signup until they return from the trek to the UK. They also have the opportunity to attend three information sessions to give them as much information as possible about what they’ve signed up for:
- An introduction to the trek: distances, temperatures, terrain, itinerary etc
- Kit and training: A discussion around the mandatory kit list, the merits of each item of clothing with emphasis on the layering principle. During the session we also cover the training requirements to get participants ready for the challenge.
- Cold weather injuries and trail conditions: A look at some of the potential injuries that can develop when trekking in the world’s cold regions including frostbite, hypothermia and a host of foot-related injuries (and far too many photographs of Lee’s horrendous Hobbit-like feet). Critically we look at the preventative measures to stop these occurring and the control measures our guide team employ to ensure a safe trek. We also look at some of the environmental and physical conditions that might be encountered on the trek.
In addition, we hold a training weekend for each trek which is used to benchmark participant’s fitness levels, allows them to test some of the kit they will use in the Arctic and gives participants an opportunity to stay in the tents they will use whilst on the treks. This year we operated from the Peak District and St Mary’s Loch in the Scottish Borders.
From a management perspective, the training weekend in particular allows our guiding team to monitor participant’s fitness levels but more importantly the personalities involved, interactions amongst the group and how each trekker responds to external stressors. This is hugely beneficial as it allows the guides to develop prior knowledge of how trekkers will react when faced with poor weather, low temperatures, sleeping in tents and being fatigued after miles of trekking.