Backcountry safety and survival
Always check local land-use regulations before backcountry hiking or camping.
Seek and create shelter from cold, wind, snow and rain
Improvise a windbreak or shelter from: stacked rocks or snow blocks, tree trunks, limbs, bark slabs and evergreen boughs, or dig a snow cave or snow trench with a cover.
Conserve, share and create warmth
Put on extra clothing. Replace damp undershirts and socks. Place damp wool clothing over dry wool clothing. Loosen boot laces to increase circulation. Use a ground pad or evergreen boughs to insulate body from ground. Share body heat by lying front to back or back to back. Nibble high-energy goods (candy, nuts, granola bars). Sip water kept warm with body heat. Use a solid fuel hand warmer by igniting both ends of a fuel stick. Do isometric exercises to stir up your body's circulation system.
Symptoms of hypothermia
Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature becomes dangerously low after prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. The victim begins shivering, has poor coordination, slurs speech and shows poor judgment. When body temperature falls below 95 degrees, muscular rigidity replaces shivering. The victim becomes more irrational and needs warmth immediately from external sources and protection from further heat loss.
Send two people who will mark the route on the way out and note the terrain, distance and time. Once they reach a phone, they should call either a park ranger or the local county sheriff who will alert the proper authorities.
Last Modified Date:
3/4/2010 3:35 PM