Be Prepared to Turn Back
Be prepared to turn back
One of the most common mistakes hikers make is the failure to turn back. Although “summit fever” can be a persuasive emotion, ambition is not a good reason to put oneself in a dangerous situation.
Reasons you should turn back include:
- Weather changes. When the weather changes suddenly, you need to respect nature’s unpredictability and head for home.
- Fatigue. Your group’s pace should be set by the slowest hiker. If that hiker is unable to continue, keep your group together. Never be afraid to turn back.
- Unexpected conditions, such as streams too swollen by rain or snowmelt to cross.
- Running out of time. Sunset and darkness can come quicker than expected, especially in the fall.
Respect the messages and signals nature and your body send—it’s the sign of an experienced and intelligent hiker, as well as one who can return to bag the peak another day.
What you shouldn’t change: your route. If you do not return on schedule and the person you left your plans with contacts authorities, search and rescue efforts will start where it is presumed you are. If you have taken another route, this can substantially delay help reaching you. Think through your situation and use your best judgment. Never change your route unless it is an emergency and always leave emergency plans.
hikeSafe: It’s your responsibility.
THE HIKER RESPONSIBILITY CODE WAS DEVELOPED AND IS ENDORSED BY
THE WHITE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST AND NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME.
Minus33 is an official cooperator of the hikeSafe program. Assets and information are used with the permission of hikeSafe. Visit hikesafe.com for more information.
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