|THE ABC'S FOR|
A GREAT HIKE
|Passion for mountains|
Enthusiasm for 5000 ft
Komradery for camping
S nacks to share
I personally tell them to give me 24 hours extra and I am equipped for that delayed return. If you have to Bivi, it will still take time to get home the next day.
If you go on an afternoon stroll and want to be searched that evening, don’t count on it, but if you do, make arrangements with capable friends. Rescue may come the next day if the weather is good. Remember, expensive helicopters don’t fly on a whim, nor in bad weather.
When inexperienced, go with people you know and can trust. Speak Up when you have concerns and don't wait till you panik!
If you have a medical condition, let the leader know. Don’t be embarrassed. It will be more embarrassing having 10 people standing around you, starring at you and not knowing what to do.
Bivi bags and the 10 Essentials are not for camping, they are for emergencies! People get lost, injured or want to take that sunset picture.... and you have an emergency and need the 10 Essential
Just because you carry a tent for backpacking above the tree line doesn't mean you don't need a bivi bag? THINK AGAIN:
(1) You leave the tent at highcamp and if you get stuck up higher, you need one!
(2)Ever tried pitching a tent in an 80 mph wind? Just crawl into your bivi-bag and wait for better weather!
(3)Your TWO WALL TENT rain fly tears and leaves you with a mosquito net, stitched to a tent bottom, surely not a good situation. You need a bivi bag as a back-up, unless you HAVE A ONE WALL TENT, which without poles can substitute as a bivi bag!!
Don’t kill other people’s summit chances, by getting there first, then getting cold and descending, while others are still going up! Many tired friends will turn WITHOUT having reached the summit.
It is ok not to hike with slower people. But it is not ok and detrimental to your own summit goals THAT day, to stay together. On future hikes, don’t take slow ones, but you have invited them along THAT day, so stick together and make it enjoyable for all.
If friends don't wait for you, LOOK FOR NEW FRIENDS!
Most fatalities reports start out “He become separated from the group…” If you practice good Mountainiersmanship, HOW is that possible?
To avoid this in the first place, walk TURTLE SPEED, use rest steps. The slower you walk, the less likely is it to get sick, period. So if you or some of your team members get sick, you made a mistake by walking to fast.
Drinking lot of fluids. Got a headache, drink 1/2 litter of water, it will fix it. Also drink some electolytes, because pure water will eventually hikk you.
Ginkgo, Iron (for two weeks before) and certain medications help alleviate symptoms. “Carry high and sleep low” means camp below high points of the day, eg if trekking in Nepal.
On Rainier, it helps to move up slowly, or have a layover day at high camp!
If your buddies walk to fast, look for new friends!
The chance of success for the team really increases with slowness. You can sprint the last 500 ft if you must, but don’t do the first 500 ft ! Most anybody can make it up to 14,000ft. Above that, it’s a different issue. But the only reason people don’t make it to 14,000 ft is speed and lack of water, sleep, conditioning, stupidity.
After not hiking for 10 years, I once wanted to climb Adams. Too out of shape to join anybody, I started hiking at 9pm on a moon lit evening. I hiked all night with baby rest steps. I rested in my bivi bag at 2 am for a snack, and got to the summit at 9AM the next day, happy, relaxed, no stress. While others were panting for air, despite only having done ½ the mountain in 3 hours from the high camp that morning, with some of their friends not making it at all because of the speed. You decide what is more sensible!
Rope new people up BEFORE the fall! Inexperienced people DO NOT know their own limits and capabilities! Even if nobody leads, it's your moral duty to keep them safe.
Don't lead stuff without considering others & descent conditions. Getting to the summit is only 1/2 the trip. Most accidents happen on the descent, when people are tired, it's getting dark, attention to detail fails.
Take rope work serious, your fate is tied to your partner and the team. No matter how late, or how wet or how tired you are, do things the same may, avoid short cuts in procedures, be deliberate. Make sure everybody else is too.
You can burn 6000 calories/day and sweat 2-6 liters and loose electrolytes. These make your heart beat, so drinking too much pure water doesn’t help, but eventually leads to disaster. Minimum drinking should be 2-4+ liters/day. Also have sugary foods, like grape sugar (or glucose) , which go into your blood stream instantly without needing to be converted.
(1) Stop the bleeding; (2) Make sure their breathing is under control; (3) Reassure them and avoid panic and shock;
(4) If mobile, continue down. If not, but transportable, move them down with a stretcher, carrying them, sliding them in the snow. MOVE THEM OFF the mountain if possible. Moving slow even if it takes all night is better than having to stay overnight and get cold. Don't leave and hope for a helicopter to come. If they are not moveable, leave your warm gear, water and food, have someone stay with them and go for help.
Starting from the parking lot, always know where you are. Once lost, it is infinite most difficult to regain your location with any certainty. Besides it’s good practice to see what the terrain looks like vs the map.
Take Compass Bearings BEFORE it gets dark or foggy, then it’s too late.
As a leader, don’t be mislead by routes other take. Plan your own safe route and follow your plan. Source Lake is a classic route where the blind is leading the blind (Stay in the trees).
If a helicopter is called, PREPARE the pick up spot and the victim! It needs to be flat, no trees, no loose branches or ropes or clothing that can be sucked up and hit the rotor! If a landing is planned, ONE PERSON only to GUIDE the helicopter in with above hand signals. If the pilot can trust you by being organized, the better the chance you will be picked up.
If a hoist rescue, be aware of the hoist and the litter swinging around. Have the victim wear all available warm cloth. The rotor wash creates such a wind chill that, below freezing, will freeze your face and exposed flesh !! If patient is passed out or will soon, attach a note what happened!!
Do not rely on Avalanche center forecasts or test holes dug 1000 feet away. Snow conditions are different on every little slope. They can change 10x per hike!
Spacing on open slopes, nothing is ever 100% safe. Use Avalanche beacons or cords, they don’t help you in your back-pack.
If crossing a real potential slope, have a LOOK-OUT, while one at a time crosses fast. When the look-out crosses, you watch. Some on the way down, don’t let your guard down!.
When crossing, BE READY: Loosen your backpack straps/belts, snowshoes, ski poles to shed them.
Start running like hell 45% downhill out of the avalanche field. If you get into it, swim like a dog, do everything possible to stay on top, and I mean everything. Work harder than you ever have, you very life depends on it. If you get underneath, make an air pocket in front of your face.
The look-out warns you first and then watches you disappear and marks the stop with a reference on the horizon. BELOW that spot is the search area. Keep a look-out for secondary slides.
DO NOT GO FOR HELP, start using ski poles as probes and start digging when you find something. Minutes count!
Don't sign up for hikes you are not qualified for. If in doubt, ask the leader.
Don't turn this in a photo safari. If you are fast, great. If you are slow, do less extraordinary activities, so the team doesn't have to wait for you. If you stop for whatever reason, step aside, off the trail, so others can maintain their speed.
Don’t went your frustration infront of the entire team if you have a personal issue with somebody. Take the person aside or talk to the team leader. When you see somebody making a mistake don’t correct them in a lecturing or embarrassing way, coach them.
Valentin Caspaar is a member of Austrain Alpen Club, & Tröddler Mountaineering Group in Graz, Austria, and a past member of The Mountaineers in Seattle. He lives in Seattle and hosts the PEAKS Adventures & Potlucks meetup group.
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