Making an emergency fire has long been one of the pillars of wilderness survival response. The ability to do this is codified in the Mountaineers 10 Essentials List. After watching big chunks of the west burn during our exceptionally dry summer, it might be time for a “reboot”. Continue reading
It wasn’t an emergency situation. But the reason we all carry (or should carry) The Ten Essentials is that some days do not go according to plan. The previous summer we seriously underestimated the length of a long alpine scramble in Mt. Rainier National Park and turned around at 2 in the afternoon with a lot of mountain still above us. This year we started up from base camp much earlier and had better luck with the obscure route finding challenges. It was still 3 pm when we got on top. At 7 pm my partner announced that we were at a good spot to bivy. We were in open woods by a little stream. I was still intent on getting down that day, but he was correct. We found a couple of nice level spots for “camp”. He often does “day and a half” outings, so he just got out his overnight bivy gear. I got out my Ten Essentials stash. For 40 years I had been having this conversation on outings – “What if we had to spend the night? Would you be O.K. with what you are carrying right now?” Now I was actually going to find out. Continue reading
Well, maybe not that fast. But once you have slashed the weight of your multi-day gear, you can carry less for day trips as well. With both Washington’s Cascades and Olympics in day trip range, I have many wilderness outings available. But it is wilderness and in a day you can get just as far away from trail head as you might on a short backpack. The 10 Essentials still apply.
Last summer one of the authors of a new epub “Guide to 100 peaks at Mount Rainer National Park (not including the big one)” introduced me the wonderful world of all the other places in the park. While some of these 100 peaks are well known favorites, many don’t get visited often. The guide takes you to parts of the park that lie in between the popular entrances. Some of the peaks are hikes. A few are technical climbs, but most are what get called “alpine scrambles”, like Barrier Peak shown in the photo. The route may be a boot track or simply cross country. Early season, there may be snow, and sometimes rock scrambling happens. A 3,000 ft. elevation gain is typical, so lightweight gear is good. I have gotten seriously hooked on these peaks. Barrier was number 41 for me.