Backcountry Rescue

Mike Kelly, December 11, 2001

Seven rules for a safe trip

  1. Make a plan and stick to it. People who go out for a quick day hike are the ones who most often get into trouble, because they don't think they need a plan.
  2. Never travel alone. Ideally, you should have a total of 4 people: If one person gets hurt, then one person can stay with the injured person, and two other people can hike out for help.
  3. Have the right equipment
  4. Always leave word with someone about your trip
  5. Watch the weather. Weather is the single most critical factor in the backcountry
  6. Always Be prepared to spend the night outdoors unexpectedly
  7. Avoid avalanche conditions





For a quick day trip

Survival gear


Survival tips

Basic tips


There are several types of shelters that you can build:

The problem with a cave or a quinzhee is that you can become wet by digging them. When going on side trips away from your base camp, bring a tarp with you in case you get get snowed in away from the base camp and need to build a shelter. You can cut down pine tree boughs and sleep on them.

Contacting rescuers



  1. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (6th Rev edition), by Don Graydon. October 1997. ISBN 0898864275. Bible of the backcountry.
  2. Allen and Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book: Traveling and Camping Skills for a Winter, by Allen O'Bannon and Mike Clelland. November 1996. ISBN 1575400766. Also available via Adobe e-book. ASIN: B00005MLE4. Useful and witty