Backcountry recreation enthusiasts are reminded to be prepared heading out, especially with the potential for more snow and cold temperatures for the southern Interior this weekend. (Black Press file photo)

Preparation key for backcountry outings

Snowpack levels “complex” in many B.C. backcountry recreation areas

A series of winter storms since the start of the year have created a complex snowpack in many of British Columbia’s backcountry recreation areas.

There is considerable risk of natural and human-caused avalanches, and search-and-rescue teams have responded to more than 160 incidents since Jan. 1.

Environment Canada is tracking a storm that could potentially bring snow to the South Coast and the southern Interior this weekend, followed by a sharp decrease in temperature that will affect much of the province.

Anyone exploring the trails, mountains and backcountry areas of British Columbia must be prepared to take care of themselves and their companions with suitable equipment, first-aid supplies and an awareness of the risks.

Outdoor enthusiasts are urged to exercise caution and follow these important safety tips:

  • Never travel alone.
  • Planning ahead is a must. Before heading outdoors, leave a trip plan with family or friends and stick to that plan. For a printable copy, please visit: www.adventuresmart.ca/tripplanning/planning.htm
  • Be prepared for the elements with the essentials – such as extra water, layers of clothing, a shelter and something to start a fire with for warmth overnight: www.adventuresmart.ca/land/survive-essentials.htm
  • Carry a signaling device (such as a whistle) so that searchers can find you even if they cannot see you, as well as communication and navigation devices, such as a fully charged cellphone, compass and/or GPS unit.
  • Do not venture out of bounds or away from marked trails.
  • Be aware of how far you have gone, and when you need to turn back to avoid hiking in the dark. Be aware of the time the sun sets, and always carry a flashlight just in case.
  • If you become lost, do not keep moving. Stay put and wait for help. Do not presume by moving downhill that you will get back on track. This can lead you into dangerous terrain.
  • Take conditions into account and plan appropriately. Err on the side of caution. Learn more about avalanche safety and risks, and get the most recent bulletin and weather forecast at: www.avalanche.ca and www.avalanche.ca/weather
  • * Everyone who takes part in a backcountry outing needs avalanche training with proper equipment, including a shovel, a probe and a transceiver. More information on training and safety equipment is available online: www.avalanche.ca
  • * For real-time, specific information on local conditions, visit the Mountain Information Network: https://www.avalanche.ca/mountain-information-network

Staying Warm:

Avoid hypothermia by remembering the acronym COLD:

  • Cover: wear a scarf, hat or toque, mittens or gloves and even a balaclava if necessary.
  • Overexertion: avoid activities that will make you sweat a lot. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause you to lose body heat more quickly.
  • Layers: wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Wool or silk are great choices. Outer clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material is best to protect against the wind.
  • Dry: remove wet clothing as soon as possible. Be especially careful to keep your hands and feet dry, as snow easily gets into mittens and boots.
  • You should also know the signs of hypothermia. They include constant shivering, confusion, poor decision-making (such as trying to remove warm clothes), drowsiness and shallow breathing. More information is available from the Canadian Red Cross: http://ow.ly/W7gK307cqCW.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Cowichan Valley duo performing in Parksville

Established solo artists find inspiration in new partnership ahead of album releases

ORCA continues push for track upgrade at Ballenas

Running association official plans to meet with MLA on Thursday

Government looks for public input on Cathedral Grove safety concerns

Port Alberni, Parksville info sessions invite public to help ‘shape future access’

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases in B.C.

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

UPDATED: Vancouver Island man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck

Duncan Moffat, 23, found by hunter beside the highway near Sayward

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Most Read