INLAND NW ROUTES
As you walk into an area, lake or onto a ridge top, notice the terrain you are waking in, along the way. As well as mid and far off terrain features., like mountains, mesas, power lines, etc.
These observations can help you if you get misplaced.
And if you get to a summit, you can ask your hiking partners if they see any features they pointed out on the hike in.
I always have fun identifying far off peaks.
Once on a summit I pointed out all the peaks I’d been on in the past.
One of the hikers pulled out her phone and brought up “Peak Finder” the app. Peak Finder is a free or very inexpensive app.
She was amazed that I knew and had been on so many of the peaks.
By doing this with your partner, you both can see “the lay of the land.” It’s a real important thing to know.
The next time you are on one of those far off peaks, you can get a greater perspective of the vast land before you.
And ID the mountains you have been on.
A few of the things you want to be able to identify are….
Notice the direction you are walking in or walking away from.
Ask your hiking partners if they can quickly tell you what direction they are headed.
Occasionally ask your fellow hikers, which way is north.
Even do this exercise at night. Using the stars to navigate is an important skill to learn.
Years ago we used to stash our avalanche transceivers around our property.
One of us would, out of the blue, hand the other a transceiver, and say….an avalanche has occurred.
You have three minutes to find the transceiver.
Don’t do this when she’s in the shower, tho.
But think past transceivers, and on your next hike, play a game with your hiking partners.
Dream up different scenarios to practice with your hiking partners.
By making it a game, you can play and learn important skills we all need to be able to do.
Knowledge and skills are your MOST IMPORTANT things you can take into the mountains.
Like muscles, if you don’t use them, when you need them, you may not be able to save yourself.
This idea goes way beyond just identifying directions.
Ask your hiking partner…..
How do I stop bleeding?
How do I treat a sprained ankle?
How do I use a compass and a map?
How fast is the wind blowing? And from what direction is it coming from. (All weather reports only show from which directions the winds blows from. That because we know where it came from, but we can not be sure of which direction the wind will blow.)
If you know your hiking partner is weak in an area, create a way to teach them what they need to know. It’s not hard, and can save a life.
In mountaineering, we are taught from the first day….YOU are responsible for YOURSELF.
Of course, you should always look out for your partners, because stuff happens in the mountains.
The more you know, the safer you will be.
Ps…..I’ve hiked and skied with a friend for well over 40 years.
We are constantly asking each other off the wall questions.
One is to see if the other is coherent.
And the other is to sharpen both our skills. c.
Chic Burge David Crafton
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