Scots climbers warned against wearing cotton

Hillwalkers have been urged to avoid wearing cotton clothing. Picture: TSPL
Hillwalkers have been urged to avoid wearing cotton clothing. Picture: TSPL
Share this article
Have your say

CLIMBERS and hillwalkers are being warned they are more at risk of freezing to death if they wear cotton clothing.

The stark message comes from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, which has over 12,000 members.

Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor with the MCofS, advises that wearing cotton clothing can significantly increase the risk of developing hypothermia.

When cotton clothing gets wet, whether through rain, snow-melt or perspiration, it provides no insulation and quickly cools the skin.

Outdoor clothing manufacturers produce their garments from either man-made synthetic fabrics or wool, which ‘wick’ moisture away from the skin and retain warmth even when wet or damp.

The onset of hypothermia usually has several causes, and inappropriate clothing is only one factor which may contribute to the problem.

Eating adequate and appropriate food is also important.

Ms Morning said: “The human body is a bit like a car: it needs to have enough fuel, of the right sort, to run efficiently.

“Carbohydrates of both the slow and quick release varieties are best for fuelling a day on the hill. “Keep your snacks easily accessible as it is unlikely that you will have the luxury of ‘stopping for lunch’ as you would in summer conditions, because when you stop you get cold very quickly.

“If you do stop then ensure that you add an extra layer, otherwise within minutes your body will start to cool.”


Hillwalkers climbing Ben Nevis in trainers ‘stupid’

More advice from the MCofS