hiking in winter

What NOT to do if you’re hiking in winter

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The “vast majority” of winter hikers are putting themselves in danger by not preparing for colder weather, a member of Vancouver’s North Shore Rescue team has claimed.

John Blown has volunteered with the team’s rescue squad for over a decade, and says hikers are putting their lives at risk by not taking basic precautions.

Describing a visit to Mt Seymour yesterday, Mr Blown writes: “The mountain is covered in snow, and it’s bone-chilling cold on top with the wind (night will be even more freezing). The trail is compact snow and ice – it’s extremely slippery.”

He also says he witnessed hikers taking to trails in jeans and Vans shoes. Others hadn’t brought jackets or gloves, which would be especially necessary at higher terrain, and after the sun sets.

Cotton clothes and hoodies also came in for criticism for those hiking in winter.

“This is great for downtown, but a wet cotton hoodie will kill you in the mountains – helping you freeze to death very quickly,” Mr Blown wrote in his blog post.

He adds that proper hiking boots, non-cotton clothing and warm socks, a change of clothes, jackets, gloves, a toque, back-pack, head lamps, food, water, first aid gear and navigation equipment are all essential.

“Last year at this time, a hiker fell on the way to 3rd Pump on Seymour and sustained a broken neck, brain swelling, broken arm, and broken ribs causing a pneumothorax and a collapsed lung – he was in rough shape and had we not been able to get him out very quickly he could have died. This area is not a walk in the park,” he explained.

His full blog post goes through more of what not to do if you’re hiking in winter, and outlines what you should bring along with you.

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