Yes, accidents in the mountains are extremely low, given the number of folks that go out each day. No one actually tracks this number and I am sure that, like all things, it fluctuates greatly. Again, accidents are accidents, but bad decisions increase the probability of a bad event from becoming a tragic event. If you’re planning to go hiking in Evergreen, there are some things to consider for before heading out!
Critical thinking Skills:
There are many factors such as weather, altitude, health issues, and yes, rocks that impact our hike. Rocks have one purpose in life and that is to roll downhill, making them unstable and something that you don’t want to get hit with. Add a little water or snow to the trail and it becomes very slippery. You need to be prepared to spend at least 6-12 hours beyond your planned hike for rescue.
An informal survey done over the summer at the major trailheads, e.g., Grays/Torrey’s, Bierstadt, Herman Gulch, etc. we counted 300-400 folks going in each day. We see that being a consistent number now days at all the major trail heads. And, yes, more than often, all make it out ok. None the worse for wear. Good for them… So, what’s all the concern about, why take all that gear in. One woman told me, “I just have to pack it all out again”. Or “my partner has all the gear, so yes, we are prepared”. From a total survey audience of 318 hikers, of varying ages, only 4.9% of the folks carried all 10 essentials. Having the 10 essentials spread out over the group leaves you or someone else “short” if there is an emergency or if the party separates (not a good thing). Carry your own gear.
You know, it’s like jumping out of an airplane with only your reserve parachute. Yes, it has opened every time in the past, but what about when it doesn’t open? The consequences can be definitive. Wouldn’t it be good to have a reserve chute now?
Aside from carrying the right gear, the 10 essentials (10E’s) +1. Wait, what’s that Plus 1 thing? “Plus one” is at least one partner with you. NEVER hike alone. So, what are the 10E’s?
First Aid Kit; Map/Compass; Pocket Knife; Waterproof Matches; Emergency Shelter; Flashlight/Headlamp; Rain Gear; Emergency Food; Emergency Water; Sun Protection; and at least one Companion (Plus 1).
Each person should carry the 10 E’s and know how to use them. Can you really use a map and a compass, what is the current declination for the area you are climbing? Could you start a fire above tree line? Maybe carry a small stove in such cases? Almost every rescue we go on has one common theme, the party separated. Once you separate to go get help, etc., you are on your own. Do you have all the gear to survive?
Next, we will discuss trip plans…. Take care and be safe out there…
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