When You’re On Skis in the Mountains, Remember – The Mountain Rules!
We Americans have our “Ten Essentials”. The Norwegian touring organization, “Den Norske Turistforening” or DNT for short, has a different set of “Ten Essentials”. The only item common to both lists is “map and compass”.
The American Ten Essentials are mostly equipment and gear oriented:
- Map & Compass – may supplement a GPS unit. Remember, electronics and batteries may die unexpectedly
- Extra Clothing (incl. gloves & socks)
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen
- Water and Extra Food
- Flashlight or Headlamp – with extra batteries and bulb
- First Aid Kit and Space Blanket
- Bivouac Gear – Closed-cell foam pad, Snow Claw shovel and 2 HD plastic garbage bags
- Ski Repair Supplies and Tools – Duct Tape, Multi-purpose Tool/Pocket Knife
- Whistle & Signal Mirror
- Matches & Fire Starter – cotton balls covered in petroleum jelly make a great fire starter. Store about 30 balls in a plastic film canister. Put two or three cotton balls under your dry kindling and light
The Norwegian Ten Essentials are mostly thinking oriented Mountain Rules:
- Do not go alone.
- Do not set out on a long tour without training.
- Tell someone where you intend to go.
- Listen to experienced mountain folks.
- Respect the weather and weather reports.
- Be prepared for stormy weather even on short tours.
- Bring a rucksack with mountain equipment (see American 10 Essentials above).
- Bring a map and compass.
- Turn back in time. There is no shame in turning back.
- Conserve your strength. Dig down into the snow if necessary.
Jeff Renner writes in Mountain Weather (Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 2005): “In the mountains, an accident and a mistake are different. Both can kill, but an accident may have been difficult in not impossible to anticipate. A mistake should never have happened.” Don’t make mistakes.
The “Ten Essentials” of mountain and wilderness travel are suggestions as to what travelers should carry for backcountry emergency and survival purposes. Some experienced skiers carry less and some more, such as Rope and an Avalanche Beacon and Probe. Each individual needs to make personal decisions as to the level of preparedness for a given trip and consistent with their individual skills and needs. This article may also be of some help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials
Bring the American 10 Essentials, heed the Norwegian 10 Essentials (mountain rules), and have a ‘god tur’!