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Striding Edge or not - this is the question.

JigJog

Registered User
Nov 6, 2013
236
Striding Edge or not

Hi,

I'd really appreciate any thoughts or advice on this please.

OH was diagnosed with Dementia - probable Alzheimer's two years ago at the age of 62.

He has always climbed mountains and walking in the Lakes has always been his passion. He is still able to drive and this comes up for review at the end of September.

As time has gone on he has chosen to drive less and less and has taken to walking locally. He is happy to wear an SOS tracker so that I have peace of mind.

He has just decided that he is driving up to the Lakes tomorrow to climb Helvellyn and Striding Edge. This is a really serious route and for him to do this alone scares me to death. He has done it before, several times but that was in the past.

I have tried everything to persuade him to perhaps choose a less challenging route but no, he is doing it. I've explained that I don't want him to do it, to which his response is 'I don't care, I'm going.'

I don't know of anyone who could accompany him and as I suffer from vertigo, that isn't an option either.

So what do I do? Do I let him go, hide my frantic worry and hope that all goes well; thinking that this may be the last time he is able to do it.

Do I have an option? Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Any thoughts?

Help please.

JJx
 
Last edited:

Dazmum

Registered User
Jul 10, 2011
10,315
Horsham, West Sussex
That is a seriously challenging route JigJog, I haven't done it myself but my husband has and it isn't for the faint hearted. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't have thought it should be done alone, but I appreciate the situation you are in.

Is it possible for you to contact a walking group in the area that he could join with? I would think there must be some online contacts, although it's really short notice; maybe the fact that they couldn't do it then might divert him from doing it tomorrow? You could put the 'blame' on yourself for wanting him to be safe? Also, what are the weather conditions like for tomorrow? It would have to be really good weather for a walk of this type I would think.

Failing all that, and if he is adamant, I would contact the Lakeland/ Mountain Rescue services and let them know the situation and that you can't stop him. I'm sure they would understand and might even be able to help and advise him against it. He might accept the advice from them? Sorry, it's a bit of a long shot but it's all I can come up with.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,045
Bristol
I think the other two covered it already, but I would just back their suggestions JigJog. I have only done the easier routes on Hellvellyn, but with a club. If your OH insists then make sure he takes plenty water, seems obvious but I underestimated the heat on the mountains once.
All the best, rob
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,859
Chester
Just had to stop and comment on this. It is a challenging route, which in my experience shouldn't be done alone except by a competent hill walker. I have done Striding Edge (when 4 months pregnant) and the path is narrow and requires skirting round things. I'm not good with heights and was scared. My balance was affected by my shape and jumping down small drops on narrow ledges was tricky. We did it in November and the mist came in and we took an escape route out. The map reading in the area is challenging if you don't know it, we didn't but are very competent with maps. Even with a good forecast the weather can change quickly in this area.

On the plus side, when we did it in November there were plenty of people around and I am sure at this time of year plenty will be walking it.

Contacting the local Mountain Rescue (there are several in the lakes covering different areas) may be a good idea. They will have a lot of older retired members who may be more aware of dementia and may be able to find someone to accompany him, as this will be easier than a full scale rescue. Another suggestion would be to phone round the outdoor shops in say Ambleside, the smaller ones, and they may know of someone going or prepared to buddy up. You may need to explain to them the issues with dementia as if in their 20s or 30s may not be aware of it - eg effectively a handicap of perception and needing support. However if your OH is unlikely to listen to someone he is buddied up with if they call it for weather or his ability they are being put at risk as well.

I wouldn't walk in this terrain without compass, 1:25,000 map, sufficient water and food for emergencies, whistle, torch, survival bag carried by at least one member of the party.
 

brambles

Registered User
Sep 22, 2014
244
NW England
Hi JJ,

I live near the lake district and am very aware that there have been several deaths on Helvellyn in the last year. Some of them very experienced walkers.

Although we are experienced walkers ourselves I would not be happy about my husband going up on his own, even though he doesn't have dementia.

I think you have been given good advice by the other posters, but not sure how you persuade your OH !

brambles x
 

john51

Registered User
Apr 26, 2014
289
Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Hi JigJog
I was a leader in the Scout Association for many years. We always said that the minimum party of walkers should be 3. One to get hurt one to get help and one to stay with the hurt person. It really doesn't make sense to do such a challenging but lovely walk alone. From the health and safety point of view and the need to share the experience with others. My wife rarely says no to me since I got my dementia diagnosis but she says this would be a time she did. Perhaps I am easier to keep track of since DVLA took my license though
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,247
Yorkshire
I wonder if a curved ball would help - although I also wonder if his plan is a one day wonder and tomorrow being another day your OH will not actually set off; it's the believing he could that matters
anyway
do you have a family member or friend who could just happen to phone today to arrange a little get together for tomorrow because of ...... (make something up that OH will want to celebrate/join in). So the proposed walk sadly has to be postponed 'for a few days' ..... and your OH has a chance to back down on his own terms
or
could some vital bits of kit have gone missing (somewhere he won't look, maybe round to a neighbours) so that even he will agree he can't go without them
or
could the car magically have a mysterious fault and won't start (if you're not a car wiz you'll need help with this)
or
whatever you know will get your OH's attention
He probably realises this is not a sensible quest but needs to be able to back down and not lose front?
Good luck!
 

JigJog

Registered User
Nov 6, 2013
236
Thanks everyone for your speedy response. It's certainly confirmed my fears that it would be foolish for him to do the route alone.

He used to be part of a mountaineering group but stopped going with the group, probably because he finds the social part difficult and the chat. He prefers to be on his own.

I've tried hard in the past to find him a buddy but with no success. I think it's a big ask for someone to accompany a dementia sufferer on challenging walks.

But I am going to make some phone calls this afternoon and give some of the more devious suggestions some thought too :)

I'll keep you posted.

Thank you!
 

JigJog

Registered User
Nov 6, 2013
236
Striding Edge Update.

Hi,

I thought I'd just do a quick update.

What a horrible day yesterday was. I tried so hard to find someone to accompany my husband, but no luck.

I tried everything. I talked to him calmly suggesting less challenging routes. Perhaps go somewhere local together, take a picnic and the dog. No way.

I tried explaining how worried I'd be and would he choose a different route for me. No chance.

I then tried really putting my foot down. That didn't work either. He was going! Driven!

I asked his daughter to ring and go through it all. She did but he was determined. She asked if she could visit today and he said that she could, but he wouldn't be in, he would be on Striding Edge!

So OH set off for Helvellyn and Striding Edge at 8am this morning. I have been tracking him from his SOS since then and so far, so good.

I have contacted the Patterdale Mountain Rescue and they appreciated the heads up.

I have also spoken to his GP and we are thinking that as his driving license is up for review in September this may be the way to go. Without a license he won't get there and he will be safe. He never drives locally, I do that, he only uses his car for the Lakes. She is going to come back to me on that one with a view to bringing the review forward.

I can't go through this again - phew!
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,514
Near Southampton
Gosh, what a worrying day for you. I do hope you hear nothing but positive news and that your husband remains safe. Very best wishes.x
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,859
Chester
Hope all goes well. Hope the tracker retains signal OK. I think there are likely to be a lot of people about today which should be a positive.
 

2jays

Registered User
Jun 4, 2010
11,598
West Midlands
Sooo a nice relaxing day in the sun then for you :eek: :eek:

You've done all you can to keep him safe. I don't envy your wait until he gets home all I can offer is everything crossed and double crossed that he is safe.

Sort of hope he gets into a "safe" pickle and needs rescuing... xxxx


Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
You've done all you can to keep him safe. I don't envy your wait until he gets home all I can offer is everything crossed and double crossed that he is safe.

Sort of hope he gets into a "safe" pickle and needs rescuing... xxxx
Exactly, you've done all you could. Sorry, I peeped in yesterday but didn't comment. A million years ago when I was young and fit I did Striding Edge with a friend, but it was pretty scary then. I couldn't do it now. Not nearly fit enough. I feel for you ... and I feel for your stubborn hubby too. At least you won't have it on your conscience that you prevented him using his discretion and pursuing his enthusiasm. I'll be thinking of him up there. Don't worry too much. There will be loads of people out and about and you've already told Mountain Rescue the situation. On a fine summer's day it will be like Picadilly Circus up there now I shouldn't wonder.
 

JigJog

Registered User
Nov 6, 2013
236
He's back!!!

Well OH has just walked through the door safe and sound, thank heavens.

That's been a long hot wait............but he's safe. Phew!

Thanks everyone for your fantastic messages, you really helped get me through the day.

I think we'll both sleep well tonight. :D

JJx
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
Well OH has just walked through the door safe and sound, thank heavens.

That's been a long hot wait............but he's safe. Phew!

Thanks everyone for your fantastic messages, you really helped get me through the day.

I think we'll both sleep well tonight. :D

JJx
Thank the Lord for that, Jig Jog. I wonder if you have a leg iron anywhere in the house. :cool: And breathe.
 

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