I know hiking in unstable weather can suck, I have even experienced it before in South Africa when I was literally beaten up by a cloud (1,5 cm big hail grains and no shelter). So when we decided to go hiking in the Alps I also knew it might be thunder storming the same evening and that it might not be a good idea… but f*** it, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and how bad can it get??
The answer is: Really bad. It started all nice and lovely but the further we ascended the more clouds I could see on the horizon. And then just underneath the summit it started. A few drops first, some growling and rumbling in the distance that quickly got louder. Fortunately right when it started to pour down we found a cave where the rangers store their (metal) tools and some other (metal) stuff. The clouds went by so fast but I was still optimistic it would be over soon. Oh boy, was I wrong!! After each brighter spell it got dark again rapidly and the lightning became stronger and got closer. Have I mentioned that our shelter was full of metal stuff?? I was a tiny bit petrified my life would end right this day in frigging Liechtenstein, just because I was too stupid to check the weather before climbing a mountain with improper gear.
But there we stood, shivering, when the winds suddenly picked up and really deep thunder clouds creeped over the mountains and surrounded us completely. With rain and lightning getting really heavy and no visibility, I was close to call the mountain rescue guys or at least my mom. We couldn’t risk leaving the shelter since due to the storm lots of rocks smashed down in front of us that could have seriously harmed our pretty heads. But at the same time I was fed up of just standing there, freezing and waiting for lightning to strike in one of the metal things right next to us. Really no clue what’s the best option and being sure that shit wouldn’t stop we just stood there, waiting, starving (of course we didn’t bring food), cursing, not even knowing how far it was to get back to the car..
After two hours the winds calmed down a bit and it was now or never. We rushed out in the rain, climbed that summit and slipped down the muddy hiking path safe and sound (only fell once and got electrocuted by cow fences twice).
The moral of this: Weather can change very quickly in the mountains. I knew that before, I know you all know it but some things have to be experienced before you take them seriously. Don’t get trapped in a thunder cloud in the mountains guys, it’s scary as shit. And it will last longer than ten minutes… Also, if somebody really knows how to behave in a situation like this, let me know!!