Every fall SAR teams throughout British Columbia see a small spike in rescues that can be directly attributed to the change in the season, and a set of related factors.
Fall weather and shorter days mean challenges for hikers and other backcountry enthusiasts, and leave a smaller margin for error; a minor incident that results in slower travel in the summer, can mean a life threatening event in the fall and winter. Here are a set of factors Coquitlam SAR sees in the mountains this time of year
Shorter days mean less travel time before nightfall. A hike you could easily do in the summer requires getting up extra early, or travelling through dusk. Be prepared by taking a flash light.
Cold and unstable weather means two things; more energy spent keeping warm, and a necessity to be prepared by bringing extra clothing appropriate for the conditions. Bring extra food and water; these help you keep warm throughout the day.
Lower visibility due to morning fog, or clouds at higher elevations mean that you have to be extra prepared for navigational challenges; a map, a compass, and a GPS and some knowledge on how to use them are essential.
Wet muddy trails can mean a slower trip. Leave a trip plan with a friend, and let them know when to expect you back.
And finally, be a good citizen and be ready to assist others on the trails with these extra items you’ve brought with you.
All of these tips and more information on backcountry safety can be found at AdventureSmart, a program created by the BC Search and Rescue Association.
Did you notice that most of the suggested items we have here are on the list of ten essentials? All hikers should be prepared with this minimum about of equipment (and knowledge) which can make the difference between an uneventful trip and a very difficult night out. Be ready for fall, and all seasons!