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Backpacker Magazine – January 2013

Limit Pusher Skills

Always looking for a way to go farther and faster? Get ready with these tips to take your hiking to the next level.

by: Rachel Walker

Push your limits to reach the top. (by Erik Unger)
Photo by Push your limits to reach the top. (by Erik Unger)
Push your limits to reach the top. (by Erik Unger)


Conquer Tough Terrain
Terrain extremes require specialized techniques. Learn these first.

>> Gorges/Canyons
Massive elevation changes result in huge temperature fluctuations, so pack layers for cold nights and rest in midday heat. Scramble safely: Only ascend slopes you can downclimb, maintain three points of contact (pack trekking poles, which also save knees), test holds, and don’t climb above others.
>> Deserts
Reduce heatstroke risk by wearing long, light-colored, breathable clothes; hiking early and late; and drinking one liter of water or energy drink every 60-90 minutes when temps approach triple digits.
>> Deep snow
Postholing will exhaust and dampen you (with sweat and snowmelt). Improvise snowshoes by tying 3-foot branches to your boots (stem-end forward). Travel in straight lines and walk single-file, taking turns breaking trail.
>> Jungles
Stay on paths (off-trail hiking may be impossible), and use a stick to part thorn-covered overgrowth. Use your machete sparingly; go around dense obstacles and look low for game trails.



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READERS COMMENTS

Star
Guest
Jan 19, 2013

Come on, Backpacker, you really sent me an email with this article as the lead? You can do better.

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Jan 19, 2013

Fatigue and altitude can impair your judgment and zap your energy especially on a day-hike. Day-hikes can be the most dangerous because hikers usually carry minimal supplies never expecting to spend the night outdoors. Would you know how to get rescued if the unexpected happened on the trail? Could you find your way if you didn't know the trail? The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) makes learning how to use a compass easy. Felix! explains how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. Anyone wanting to feel more confident about orienting ourselves outdoors will enjoy learning from this book. To refresh our skills, we read thru this book with our kids before every hike - it's only about 34 pages and illustrated. Felix! teaches the reader how to know where you are, what to pack for a day-hike, how and when to take breaks, trail ethics, what to do if you get lost or scared, how to get rescued, and survival packing (for the car and for the trail). Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart."

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Jan 19, 2013

Fatigue and altitude can impair your judgment and zap your energy especially on a day-hike. Day-hikes can be the most dangerous because hikers usually carry minimal supplies never expecting to spend the night outdoors. Would you know how to get rescued if the unexpected happened on the trail? Could you find your way if you didn't know the trail? The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) makes learning how to use a compass easy. Felix! explains how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. Anyone wanting to feel more confident about orienting ourselves outdoors will enjoy learning from this book. To refresh our skills, we read thru this book with our kids before every hike - it's only about 34 pages and illustrated. Felix! teaches the reader how to know where you are, what to pack for a day-hike, how and when to take breaks, trail ethics, what to do if you get lost or scared, how to get rescued, and survival packing (for the car and for the trail). Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart."

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