Outdoor Skills and Safety

Adapted from AMC’s Mountain Skills Manual If you’re lost in the woods, one not-so-well-known approach to locating a more familiar area is the find-me cross. This technique is quite effective, but you have to be self-disciplined to use it. After admitting that you’re lost, mark your location by building an obvious landmark using rocks or…

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Twenty-seven men and women stand in a rigid line, backs straight and eyes ahead, attuned to the instructor up front. As she calls out directions, the line begins to dissolve. “If it’s most important for you to reach your goal in the outdoors, step to the left,” she tells them. “If it’s most important that…

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It can happen to even the most seasoned hiker. You casually duck into the woods to relieve yourself, zip up your pants, and—uh, oh. Which way was the trail? If you’re a solo hiker who becomes disoriented—or, worse, injured—nobody is there to help. Don’t panic! You’ve got options. Before You Go Getting found starts before…

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One of my favorite family traditions is our annual orienteering dash. Each year, we head to a nearby forest with a unique amenity: a permanent orienteering course. Because we hold our dash on Thanksgiving, when lots of family is around, grandmothers are paired with sons-in-law, cousins with uncles, and moms with nieces and nephews. Then…

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The shiny brass theodolite in AMC’s Library & Archives was built by a British firm, likely in the late 1800s, but its exact provenance and its path to AMC remain unknown. Artifacts make up a small portion of AMC’s collection, but the theodolite’s relationship to AMC’s own history of cartography and trail building is strong…

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You are heading out for a day at the crag with some local participants, most of whom have never climbed on real rock before! It is an exciting time but there is a lot to consider including: Are your skills up to date? (For current training & learning opportunities with the AMC, click here.) How…

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Hiking and backpacking in the Northeast means that, sooner or later, you’re going to get rained on. So how do you stay dry in the rain? To help keep you a bit less wet than you might otherwise get, here are some simple tips and tricks, organized by type of gear. Rain jacket Look for wrist cuffs…

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There are many ways you can make backcountry water sources safe to drink, from chemical treatments to pump filters to UV light emitters, but these days it appears that one particular variety of water filtration system is cleaning up the competition: the Sawyer Squeeze and Squeeze Mini. (Both are essentially the same; the Mini is just…

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So, you’ve decided to take the next step in your outdoor leadership path and register for AMC’s Mountain Leadership School (MLS). Excited, nervous, anxious? I know I was. Coming out of MLS you’ll likely end up defining it as one of the best experiences you’ve had in the outdoors, but you’ll definitely look back and…

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They’re baaaaaack… Deer ticks. Scourge of the Northeast. Micro-demons of disease. All-around nasty bloodsuckers. I hate them. So I’m always on the watch for a tick defense that can stop them before they sink their gnarly little mouth bits into my flesh. Now I’ve written extensively about the risks of tick bites (see What It’s Like to Get Lyme Disease….

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