Jane Williams (janewilliams20) wrote in little_details,
Jane Williams

Primitive refugees, winter mountain travel

Googled: travel, mountains, speed, refugees, other variations and combinations.
Got information overload on modern topics, nothing of any use.
Hannibal, Alps - much discussion of his route, very little of his speed, and the weather seems to have been milder than I'm dealing with anyway.
All suggestions for search terms very welcome.

I'm trying to make sense of a fictional setting before writing my own story set there. Fantasy/dark age/Roman. We have a group of refugees, basically the entire surviving population of a village, travelling through high mountains in deep winter snow in order to escape, and I'm trying to make distance/speed calculations.

These people are used to living at this altitude, so that won't affect them. They're primitive farmers, so much tougher than us soft modern city-dwellers in any case.

The mountains in question are in a fantasy universe, described by authors who don't go in for specific details or practicalities, just drama, so I have no real idea what they're like, other than that a pass has an overhanging cliff. Below the ridge, there's "forest" - no, I don't know what sort. Personally I'm visualising Alps, but I may be wrong.
The weather is BAD - very cold, deep snow and more falling, strong winds. Normally, no-one in their right mind would travel at this time of year, but they're out of options.

Normally we're told that the trip from their village to the pass would take two days. This time it's winter, the group includes the entire age-range, some injured, and they make it in three days - just. After that, they have a further journey along a mountain ridge to safety. Apparently a few weeks earlier, a similar group had been taken there, and the guide had returned a bit over a week and a half later - I assume that he or she travelled faster alone than when encumbered by kids, grannies, and so on.

Also in the area is a Roman-type army unit, who have just conquered the pass (hence the refugees) and are trying to maintain control of it. They're fit, and equipped for the job (probably). What will their movement rates be like?

I'd like some idea of the extent to which the adverse conditions will slow them down from "normal" (since travel distances are given in terms of "two days walk" rather than miles), and approximate distances they might travel in a day. I suspect the answer will be extremely variable, but I'd like an idea of the limits to work within.
Tags: ~refugees, ~travel: pre-modern overland, ~wilderness survival
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