Get ready faster
The easy way? Don’t unpack. When you finish a weekend trip, leave all the stuff you use for nearly every adventure together in your pack. Have an organised rack or bin for each sport: climbing, paddling, etc. That way, you can add activity-specific items and clothes to fit the trip, and you’re ready to go.
No loose gear
Gear lashed to the outside of your pack is less secure. To get everything inside, pack uptight. I stuff everything in tight and use the pack’s straps to tie down. You could always use stuff sacks to do the same.
Know Your Gear
There’s no excuse for getting into the field with gear you don’t know how to use. Learn how to use and operate your gear with Pat Falvey School of mountaineering.
A man I was climbing with took one look at the mountain and said, “Ah, I’m f****d, I can’t do this.” It was time to get his mindset right. I told him to take 10 minutes to clear his head of all expectations. Then, we broke the whole challenge down into achievable steps and developed an action plan for each step. In so doing, the client freed his minds negative thoughts. He made a few moves, got some momentum—and then realised he could do it. The smile on his face after he made it to the top was from ear to ear.
Deal with Bugs
You can’t prevent bugs. But there are a few different ways to manage them. Sometimes I’ll use natural bug spray on exposed skin. In extreme conditions, I’ll use a head net. But if you can cope with some bites, your body starts to recognise the irritant and produces less of a histamine reaction.
Talk to a Struggling Partner
When mountain conditions are good, but your buddy hits a mental wall, it’s time to play backcountry shrink. Get him to open up about the things that are holding him back. In my experience, it’s rarely physical and almost always nerves or fear. When that’s the case, look at him and say, “You can do this. I got you.” It sounds trite until you try it and your partner starts to crush again.
Gain elevation slowly
Stay with the slowest people in your group during climbs. The mellower pace gives your body a chance to get used to the thinner air and helps curb altitude sickness.
Don’t sleep in a cold sink, such as a river valley, stream-bottom meadow, or canyon. Drink a hot beverage before bed. Pack dedicated sleep socks, so your feet don’t get cold.
Bring a hot water bottle into your sleeping bag on freezing nights.
Go to bed warm: Do sit-ups if necessary.
Pee before bed and whenever the urge strikes. Your body wastes calories keeping urine warm. Make sure your pee bottle is sealed tight.
Sometimes clients will tell me, ‘Hey, I don’t feel good,’ and then say they ate 19 energy gels packets. Of course, you don’t feel good! Eat fruit and sandwiches, chocolate; your body knows how to process them, and they’re palatable even at altitude.
In an emergency, use only one cell phone at a time and turn the others off. Use that phone until it dies; repeat with the other phones.
Do Sunscreen Right
Snow and water reflect UV rays back up from the ground. For complete sun protection, dab the underside of your chin and the insides of your ears and nostrils.
Warm cold extremities
Swing your arms in circles and pendulum your feet back and forth. Don’t stop until your digits start to throb.
Protect your nose
Got a runny nose? Use lip balm on it rather than sunscreen; it will adhere better.
Perform an idiot check
Before hiking, look up at the weather and terrain ahead, and down at your feet (make sure your bootlaces are tied). Then, five steps after you’ve left, look back to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.
No matter what I’m doing in the outdoors, have a Buff, It’s useful as sun protection, insulation, and even first aid.