Guest blogger Lisa Morse shares her knowledge for preparation in any season…
The Rockies are some of the most exciting mountains in the entire world, and bring boarders, skiers and climbers from all over the world, all year round. Making sure that you are best prepared for any season is essential, and will ensure that you have the most unforgettable experience.
Mountaineering in the summer months is all about taking the basics only, and travelling at this time of year allows you to pack incredibly light. You will need a good pair of sturdy boots, helmets, GPS and navigation units, ropes and trekking poles alongside all of your general safety essentials.
In the summer months you will also need to bear in mind the sun exposure. You might be surrounded by snow, however the sun can still be pretty powerful. Your clothing needs to take into account that even though you still need waterproof layers, but also that you need to avoid getting too warm. Also bear in mind that summer sun in the snow can go from feeling really hot, but can change to feeling freezing cold once you’re in the shade.
Sunglasses are also important, to ensure your vision is not impaired by the sun and overall reducing your risk of injury or fall. You can find specific brands that are tailored to suit boarders, skiers and climbers to make sure you won’t catch any glare from the snow, which can be pretty harmful to the eyes.
Risks All Year Round:
Whether you’re mountaineering in the summer or the winter seasons, there are still many risks throughout the year to be aware of. Due to the fact that mountaineering on the Rockies takes place on a variety of terrains, from regular ground and rocky areas to snow and ice slopes, it therefore requires high technique and skill. As it is such a high skilled sport, there are three main categories that potential danger can fall in, including adverse weather, falls and avalanches. The weather conditions may be particularly worsened in the winter months, the dangers are still there throughout the rest of the year. This is why finding the best cover is so important and getting the right insurance with specific sports cover is essential. You will find that mountaineering insurance will combine climbing and hiking up mountains, including the use of tools such as snowshoes and ice tools, and will therefore cover you for any accidents or injuries that you may come into contact with.
Winter climbing is often known as a consistent battle, with your actual gear and equipment. You will find that you will have a considerable amount of equipment, and extra weight, with you to take on the winter Rockies. This will include assorted hardware, axes, helmet, backpack, and boots and so on, and it is suggested that the average winter mountaineer will carry an extra fifteen kilograms in the winter month expeditions. You will need to ensure that you are fully prepared for a winter climbing season and making sure that your winter kit will work for you, and not against you in the possibly extreme conditions.
As much as you try to get clothing and jackets that are waterproof, even with specially lined zips and pockets, however while winter mountaineering it is unlikely that you will be able to stay 100% dry at all times. Clothing therefore should maintain its insulation properties once it becomes damp or wet, while still not restricting any movements so that you are still free to move and be flexible.
What you do or do not carry in your backpack could have major effects on your travels. Carrying heavy or non-essential things as a part of your kit will cause you to move slowly, and it will be easier for you to get caught in particularly bad weather or darkness. One of the major rules when it comes to packing a rucksack is that “packing light is right”, which leads to the second rule of being able to keep speed being the ultimate key to safety. Filling a backpack and taking lots of gear with you will only slow you down, so a 35-40 liter sized backpack is widely advised. Therefore you will be forced to only take essentials that can physically fit.