Words by Ruffie Cruz
The mountains are probably the nearest places on Earth to heaven. While the peaks offer so many beautiful things, there are also dangers every climber must be wary of during the hike up. One of them is getting lost.
In fact, even experienced hikers face the risk of being separated from their group. The question is: what do you do when emergency strikes? Here are some quick tips on what to bring when hiking and what to do when you get separated from the group:
1. Pack your bag with the right stuff
First, everyone in the group should bring their own backpack. In case you get separated from your friends, it is important to have something reserved for your own safety: be sure to have a compass, a mirror, small first aid kit, flashlight, whistle, and a fully charged cell phone or satellite phone. Bright colored materials are good options too for attracting aerial rescuers.
Whether it is a day hike or a 3-day climb, always bring food and water. If possible, try to buy water purification tablets. Also, emergency blankets to help you stay warm during the night are as important as packing the correct clothing for the time of the year.
2. Do these during hike
- Look for landmarks and try to locate them on the map.
- Take pictures of the route and include your hand “pointing in the direction” towards home.
- Draw arrows on the ground with loose rocks or branches (destroy them on the way home).
- Never split the group up. If you do so, the rescue party will be looking for two groups instead of one.
3. Important questions to ask yourself
It’s normal to feel scared whenever you find yourself alone in the middle of nowhere. However, do not let it consume you for a long period of time. Try to regain composure as soon as possible. Once you are back to “normal”, ask these questions:
- How did I get into this situation?
- What is the last landmark I saw?
- What was the direction of travel?
- Where did I last see my group?
Upon contemplating on these questions, observe your “current” surroundings. See if you can find it on the map. Immediately survey the terrain and find a safe place to stay while thinking about your next move.
When you are settled, check your bag for supplies. Get them all out and ration them to last for as long as possible. With all these tips in your hand, you are ready to go. However, we hope you won’t need them too soon.
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