Staying safe while in the backcountry

Spending time in the backcountry in the winter and spring months can be a great experience, but if proper precautions aren't taken, it can be dangerous.

Video Transcript


LINCOLN RIDDLE: Spending time in the back country in the winter and spring months can be a great experience, but if you don't take the proper precautions, it can be dangerous.

- The key to a safe backcountry experience is advanced research.

LINCOLN RIDDLE: [INAUDIBLE] is with the Adirondack Mountain Club, a nonprofit focused on outdoor education. He says it's important to keep up with the weather in the days leading up to and of your journey, and to know your route and how long it should take. When it comes to gear, [INAUDIBLE] says there are 10 essential items you should pack for your trek.

- Navigation, headlamp, sun protection, first aid, knife, fire, shelter, and then extras of clothing, food, and water. These are all things, regardless of the season, that should be in your backpack.

LINCOLN RIDDLE: To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, Dr. Chad Asplund with Mayo Clinic recommends covering any exposed skin and dressing in layers.

CHAD ASPLUND: Adjust your clothing as you go. What you don't want to happen is for you to sweat, for your clothing to get wet, and then as it gets wet, it's going to pull your heat away, and it's going to lower your body temperature and make you colder.

LINCOLN RIDDLE: There are also hidden dangers in the back country, such as spruce traps and avalanches. Spruce traps occur when deep snow buries a tree creating a cavity at the trees base. If a hiker falls into a spruce trap, they can become trapped.

- If you're on your own, it can be quite dangerous. You can get buried in them.

LINCOLN RIDDLE: If your journey is taking you to an area where an avalanche could occur, Nikki Champion, an avalanche forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center, says you need to make sure you have the right equipment.

NIKKI CHAMPION: You want to make sure that you're carrying a beacon or a transceiver, which both transmits and receives a signal at all times, a shovel, and a probe.

LINCOLN RIDDLE: Both Champion and [INAUDIBLE] say you should avoid going out into the backcountry alone as that too can be dangerous. Reporting for AccuWeather, I'm Lincoln Riddle.