Water is essential to life, beautiful and extremely hazardous; crossing water is one of the most dangerous undertakings in the outdoor world and the decision to do so must never be taken lightly. Inevitably though, there will come a time when the traveller is left with no choice and it is at these moments that prior experience and training become invaluable.
Safe crossing depends on the affective assessment of the hazard.
When training our students to make water crossings, we encourage them to use the acronym: WASPTAR – What type of water is it? Will it be cold? Are there other hazards? Is it feasible to attempt?
Woodlore Senior Assistant David Southey, trekking near the Devil’s Kitchen in Snowdonia
You’ve skied a full day, flattened out a platform, set up your camp and set off to find, fell, retrieve and process your firewood for the night. Sat in your warm tent drinking a brew, you look over your route for tomorrow, then tea and bed, waking when it’s your shift to stoke the stove.
Fitness enables mental alertness, the capability to make quick decisions, problem solving skills and the ability to cope with fatigue. Physical robustness isn’t just about being the fastest or strongest; it’s one of the keys to the backcountry. Being able to carry out demanding tasks with ease means you’re less likely to make a simple mistake which could have serious consequences for you and those in your charge. Continue reading →