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Backpacker Magazine – September 2010

The Manual: Travel Off-Trail

Navigate across scree, snow, and rivers without getting blocked or lost.

by: Text excerpted with permission from BACKPACKER's Trailside Navigation: Map and Compass, by Molly Absolon, Illustrations by Supercorn



Skate Across Scree
Talus and scree (the latter refers to smaller-size rocks) are loose rock piles that shift and slide when you walk on them. To ascend, kick steps into the rubble and switchback your way up, gathering your group at the end of each switchback to avoid traveling above others. To descend, head straight down, kicking your heels in a plunge step. Travel side by side, and if you kick off a stone, yell “Rock!”

Cruise Over Boulder Fields
Common around lakes and beneath mountain slopes, boulder fields are fun to move across once you gain confidence. Stop and assess your “line” across the boulders. Look for flat, smaller boulders, and seek the most level terrain. Walk slowly but smoothly, and avoid jumping. For better balance, don’t walk with anything in your hands, including poles. Rocks can move, so avoid fully weighting one until you’re sure it’s stable; be careful not to step in between boulders where your foot can get pinned.



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READERS COMMENTS

D.Taylor
Oct 20, 2010

Lie down and die, you are to stupid to save.

bob
Sep 30, 2010

what if you dont have a map or pencil an your in antartica with only a bathingsuit?

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