Image of the June 2015 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
June 2015 Issue
Home / Articles / Skills

Steady as she goes

Photo; Mikel Ortega

Andrew Hobman explains the safest way to approach your next trip in winter conditions

A fall in alpine terrain has too many dangerous consequences. Even a simple injury like a twisted ankle can be extremely serious given the environment, weather and possible distance from a road end.

Smoothly does it: The way you move through terrain covered in rock, snow and ice has a lot to do with your safety and enjoyment. Being smooth and efficient in your movement means less fatigue, more speed and less chance of making a mistake.

Be efficient: Aim for efficiency in everything you do. Staying balanced, being methodical with your movements, and carrying an appropriate and evenly-distributed pack are all key to a great day’s walking, tramping or climbing.

Start as you intend to finish: Setting a good pace for yourself and your group is important. A common mistake is to set off too fast and become tired and overheated before the hard climbing has begun. This is often driven by the excitement of the trip or a little bit of competition within the group.

The best strategy is to start slowly, allow your body to warm up, adjust the pace to the slower group members and settle into a steady efficient tempo. This will vary as the terrain dictates with a slow methodical plod up steep hills and an increase as you level out or descend.

Time flies: Be aware of time and daylight hours – the slower you travel, the longer you will be exposed to any hazards, and the less time you will have for more technical sections.

– Andrew Hobman is the former programme manager for avalanche and alpine safety for the Mountain Safety Council.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Web exclusives. Each week we publish stories you won’t find in the magazine. View our latest web exclusives.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.