Be safe out there

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I really enjoyed KT Miller's recent post on being a good backcountry companion. Nice ! You absolutely have to surround yourself with the right people.

As part of a “tailgate session”, my compadres and I do a review of 10 SUBJECTIVE factors leading to backcountry incidents: i) Lack of Knowledge; ii) Norms; iii) Complacency; iv) Lack of Communication; v) Distraction; vi) Fatigue; vii) Lack of Teamwork; viii) Pressure / escalation of commitment; ix) Lack of Resources; x) Lack of Assertiveness.

Mount Bryce from the Columbia Icefield, Canadian Rocky Mountains

In the wee hours before we leave camp we do an OBJECTIVE review:
i) Travel Objectives
-Terrain, complexity, consequences
-Pertinent Conditions: Team Heath, Snowpack, Avalanche fx – regional, local, Weather fx – regional, local
-Navigation overview
-Plan B, alternate exits
-Navigation check

ii) Emergency Response Plans review
iii) Communications review and check
iv) Nutrition
v) Gear check: Beacon, Probe, Shovel, First Aid, Repair, Bivi
vi) Beacon check

One theme we discuss endlessly is cognitive bias, especially those established by familiarity. And finally, I like KT's suggestion that, when appropriate, let a less experienced buddy lead out and route find. It builds confidence and the benefits run both ways.

Paul Karchut sampling the early season on Sorcerer's Boulder Boogie

Be safe out there and have a great season all !


The peaks of central Vancouver Island from Lund - Home Sweet Home

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