Technical information, news, research, and opinion on avalanches, snow safety, and winter backcountry travel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Strategies & Tactics Of Safe Winter Backcountry Travel

Winter backcountry travel is composed of strategies and tactics, mostly centered around planning and traveling. In many ways, the planning stage is a simulation of the trip you wish to undertake. This simulation provides chances for you to discover problems in advance and to evaluate whether or not your trip is realistic given the universal constraints of time, quality, and money.
  • Planning techniques include map reading, terrain evaluation, route selection, human resources, meal planning, equipment choices, and safety measures.
  • Traveling techniques include terrain evaluation, route finding, navigation, rope and anchor skills, forecasting, movement and spacing, skiing skills, aid/rescue, and making safe decisions.
Safe winter backcountry travel requires attention to both of these elements and requires that you truly understand how to correctly use these techniques to plan and execute a safe backcountry outing. Shortcuts and misapplication will cause invisible mistakes that can have serious consequences.

This winter I'm going to write a series of short articles that dig deeper into planning and traveling techniques that are essential to safe winter backcountry travel.

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