Avalanches, hypothermia a few springtime risks
Staying in Boulder this spring break does not mean missing out on the outdoor adventure scene. There are plenty of activities to get you out of the house and into the wilderness, many within Boulder city limits.
But don’t be misled by the energetic warm rays of the sun. There are still many dangers to keep in mind. Springtime challenges hikers and climbers with variable weather and conditions.
Tips for Travel
-Bring the “10 essentials,” including map, compass, dry layers, headlamp, food and water
-Never go alone, unless you have experience
-Tell someone where you are going and stick with it
-Tell them when you’ll be back
-Tell them when to worry
-Plan a turn-around time and stick to it
Following an exceptionally cold and snowy winter, the recent warm weather drove people with cabin fever outside. The Rocky Mountain Rescue Group has many tips for safer springtime adventures.
“Be prepared,” said Lee Sikos, a member of the RMRG and PhD student in linguistics. “Spring conditions are unforgiving. Winter storms can easily blow in. Make sure to check the weather before you go.”
The weather during the day can be drastically different than the weather at night. Bring enough warm clothing to spend more time exposed to the elements than anticipated. This includes insulating layers like fleece and rain or wind layers.
In addition to weather, snowmelt presents hikers and climbers with variable conditions for river crossing. It is possible to cross a creek in the morning and be unable to cross back in the afternoon. Because dams control the water flow in South Boulder and Boulder creeks, water can rise rapidly.
“Be sure to have an alternate plan for river crossings. In Boulder Canyon, that plan should be to hike up and out,” said Tim Holden, Assistant Group leader of the RMRG.
Avalanches are another springtime danger. Indian Peaks, an area close to Boulder, has high avalanche danger in the spring. Before traveling on dangerous snow pack, be sure to have a working knowledge of avalanche danger and prevention.
“By being unprepared, you are adopting more risk,” Holden said.
The RMRG provides Boulder County with an immeasurable service. The all-volunteer group responds to calls that are off-road and difficult for a conventional medical team to access. Responding to 140 calls last year, 50 percent are searches and 50 percent are evacuations, Holden said.
“Contrary to some belief, Colorado does not charge for rescue. We don’t want people to delay the call for help,” Holden said.
This advice from the RMRG will help prevent unforeseen problems on your next springtime hike.
Visit the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group’s Web site for more information.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kathleen Straney at Kathleen.Straney@thecampuspress.com.