Key Skill: Cross a snow bridge
Assess the consequences of falling through, especially over waterways. Look for indications of weakening snow (see right) and change your vantage so you can scrutinize a bridge’s sides and base. If possible, cross where bridges are supported from beneath by rocks or fallen trees, or in low areas where a fall won’t hurt or trap you. Time your crossing for the morning, when the bridge will be strongest, and the water volume flowing beneath it will be lower.
Skill: Signal for Help
3 key ways to attract rescuers
- Make noise. Use a whistle (carry it on your person) and blow three consecutive blasts every several minutes. Yell if you can hear rescuers calling for you.
- Increase visibility. Place bright items where passersby, search parties, and rescue helicopters will see them. Reflect sunlight or shine your headlamp.
- Point the way. If you move, leave signs or create marks indicating your travel direction. For more signaling gear and techniques, visit backpacker.com/signals.
Stop Sliding Cutting steps can help you cross icy slicks or hard surface snow without slipping. Learn how at backpacker.com/cutsteps.