Before setting out—ten trip planning tips
by Paul Richins, Jr.

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Many of the backcountry ski planning tips below, also apply to summer backpacking and climbing trips.

Let someone know exactly where you are going, the name of the trailhead, the type and color of your vehicle, the license plate number, where the vehicle will be parked and when you plan to return.

Secure a wilderness permit from the appropriate National Park Service or the National Forest District Office.

Study the map. Make sure all members of the party are familiar with the route, route options and potential escape routes along the way.

Make sure all members of the party are aware of the over-all level of difficulty of the trip. The terrain should not be too difficult for the any member. If so, an alternative route or less difficult trip should be selected. Your party is only be as strong as the weakest member.

Establish a trip itinerary. Leave plenty of time in your schedule for the unforeseen—bad weather, deep snow, equipment failure which may slow your progress.

If taking a GPS, set the various coordinates of your route, i.e., starting point and end point, camps, passes, summits, etc. before leaving home.

Run through an equipment check before departing. Ensure that all group equipment is accounted for and arrives at the trailhead.

Check the compatibility of avalanche transceivers before leaving home. Bring extra batteries.

Obtain the latest weather forecast. Check on avalanche hazard and snow stability before making the final decision on your route.

Don’t go alone, ski/climb/hike with at least one other person.

Backcountry_Resource_Center--Paul Richins, Jr.
www.jps.net/prichins/backcountry_resource_center.htm

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