Alpine conditions

Activities in the High Country and other remote areas bring an enhanced degree of satisfaction, yet expose the party to greater challenges. These recommended practices, implemented in conjunction with other CBC guidelines (Guidelines for Participants, Guidelines for Leaders, Suggested Equipment List, Emergency Information sheet) will mitigate the risks and ensure that the party is well prepared and equipped should self‐sufficiency be required whilst waiting for outside assistance.

Risk increases with

  1. Distance from help
  2. Difficulty associated with terrain and exposure (e.g.above the tree line, rock scrambling with height exposure, water crossings)
  3. Poor weather (eg. rain, snow, high winds, low temperature, poor visibility) or unexpected conditions
  4. Increasing size of party and increasing number of less experienced members in group.

Preparation

  1. Match the leadership and party capabilities to the objective and expected conditions
  2. In planning the trip, consider nature of country, route, escape routes, expected weather, use conservative timings, distance, party size (minimum 4, maximum no more than 16 preferable)
  3. Advise the party members at least a couple of days prior to the trip of challenges that are ‘greater than normal’ as well as any unusual equipment or food requirements. Provide greater detail for parties that have members with little experience of more demanding conditions
  4. Conduct a trip and gear briefing with emphasis on party members with less experience
  5. Leave a detailed route description and party contacts with CBC Check‐In.

Gear

  1. Per member, in addition to Club’s Suggested Equipment List – extreme weather clothing, first aid kit, spare warm clothes, sun glasses/goggles, extra high energy food, map in waterproof case and compass, small insulated mat
  2. Per party – mobile phone and spare battery, GPS, PLB, waterproof groundsheet, emergency bivvy bag (2‐person size preferable), sleeping bag, tent, fuel (not gas) stove and billy. Multiple items shared across the party preferable.

Strategies

  1. Select appropriate gear based on the expected level of challenge and possible risk
  2. Large numbers of walkers should be split into totally separate parties, each with an experienced leader
  3. If an emergency arises:
    • Attempt to seek assistance via mobile phone, then PLB
    • If possible, have an experienced person lead the majority of the party back to the cars, while leaving 2 or 3 party members and any extra food/gear with the injured member
    • Remain calm – help is on its way, although may take some time
    • Seek shelter from wind and weather, even if it is only on the lee side of a hill or in a depression.

Updated: July 2012

Tent, Guthega River , in a blizzard, by Karen Cody

Tent, Guthega River, in a blizzard, by Karen Cody