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July 2018 Issue
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Staying alive

Knowing how to safely cross a river – and recognise dangerous flows – will reduce the risk of backcountry mishaps. Photo: Carrie Miller
The top tips for avoiding a tramping tragedy 

Know your limits: Inexperience is one of the biggest killers. Slowly build your experience and seek advice from those who know more than you.

River crossing: Learn the correct method for crossing rivers and how to identify a river in flood. Always be prepared to wait for a river to subside rather than cross. 

Make decisions as a group: A number of deaths have occurred after groups have become separated and less-experienced members have gone beyond their capabilities. Stick together and make decisions that are best for the whole group.

Avoid getting hangry: A series of bad decisions can have tragic results. Make sure your ability to think is tip-top by staying hydrated and fed.

Tramping solo: Solo trampers are overrepresented in tramping deaths. It’s easier to make a wrong decision when you don’t have someone to bounce ideas off. Be extra cautious and extra prepared when it’s just you.

Know yourself: If you’re the type of person that enjoys high-risk pursuits, understand that you may have a blind spot for judging the dangers of a trip.

Know your risk profile: Young men are the most likely group to die in the hills. If you fall in this demographic, you may tend to underestimate risks.

Stiff-soled boots: Rigid soles offer better grip in difficult terrain and will reduce the risk of falling.