So you hit the trail on a whim, something has gone wrong, and no one knows where you are. What do you do? Let’s rewind for a second and talk about one of my essential pre-adventure items: the trip report!
I make a habit of sending a pre-trip report to my trusted friends and family on every adventure, though I might skip a few details for more casual adventures. I definitely send the full list for anything I know is pushing my limits or involves greater objective risk and technical skills. That way, should something go wrong they will know where I am and have enough information to help me get the help I need.
Information to include:
1. Name of all persons in your party.
2. Destination, including the route you’re traveling by if there are several options.
3. Date and intended duration of your adventure.
4. Expected return time. I also include a margin of error. Example: “I should be back around 6pm but no need to worry if you haven’t heard from me by 10pm.”
5. When your friend should sound the alarm if you haven’t returned. Example: “I anticipate getting back Sunday night at 6pm but in case we are slow or need to sleep in the car at the trailhead, please call SAR if you haven’t heard from us by 8am on Monday.”
6. Description and license plate of the car(s) you’ll be taking.
7. Jacket and backpack color of party members.
8. Emergency contact info for all other party members.
9. Any known medical conditions. For example, if someone is medicine-dependent, that’s a good thing to list in the event of an emergency. First responders can show up prepared.
If all goes well, no one will ever need this information! But, it’s always good to plan ahead, especially when shifting weather conditions can hit you hard in the middle of a climb. It will also empower your loved ones to make informed decisions should they ever need to call SAR for you.
POST TRIP REPORTS!
We all love these! Whether you file on your local trail site, summitpost, peakbagger or somewhere else, please share the details of your trip! Were conditions perfect? We want to know! Are there downed trees, road closures, or unexpected hazards? We want to know! The more info and pictures, the better!
Questions, comments, additions or concerns? Let’s hear them!