Skills & Leadership

Part 1: You are the leader on a 4-day winter backpacking trip in the White Mountains. Your group consists of seven participants of varied skill level. All have some experience winter camping. Your co-leader has Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and winter backpacking experience. This is day 3 of the trip. Today’s plan is to summit a…

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It’s gotten easier to find Lost Pond in New Hampshire’s Pinkham Notch, thanks to a new footbridge and boardwalk installed at the trailhead by AMC staff in October. Hikers will appreciate the new design, which provides surer footing than the old system: a deteriorating set of 15-year-old bog bridges and a small timber footbridge built…

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Monday Oct. 30th, 2017. The rain gauge filled for the second time in 24 hours. With relentless howling, the 60 mph gusts of wind find their way through the cracks of windows and doors. The lamp flickers one last gasp of light before fading to dark. My phone, which is perpetually on silent, grabs my attention with…

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When you gotta go in the woods, it’s crucial that you follow proper Leave No Trace (LNT) practices to minimize your impact. I’ve included a refresher video at the end to review this essential skill, but here wanted to highlight one of its most critical aspects: digging a proper hole. Per LNT guidelines, it should be 6 to…

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If you’re out adventuring in cold weather, you need extra calories to feed the internal furnace of body heat production. To help  you meet this need—and find the most calories contained in a single energy bar wrapper—here are three high-calorie energy bars to add to the list I first put together back in 2010. First,…

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Leading teams of hikers and climbers on the snow and ice poses many of the same challenges as a three-season adventure, but the stakes are raised considerably. Shorter days make turn-around times more critical, surviving an unplanned night out requires more know-how, and a white-out blizzard can quickly disorient even a seasoned navigator. Below are…

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If you love exploring the outdoors, you depend on a strong back. Whether you’re skiing through deep powder, hiking to a mountaintop, or paddling around the next inlet, back pain can seriously hinder your plans. But with proper preparation, it’s possible to recover from pain or, better yet, to avoid it entirely. We asked two…

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Moose roam more widely than usual beneath the colorful leaves of fall. It’s the period known as the rut, when male moose travel far and wide in search of a mate. So if you’re out leaf-peeping this season in New England, you’ve got a better than usual chance at spotting one. To help gauge your odds, here’s…

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On the last day of September, the summit observatory atop 6,288-foot Mount Washington recorded sub-freezing temperatures (27 degrees Fahrenheit) and 0.3 inches of snow. It wasn’t the season’s first snow atop the Northeast’s highest point—that actually occurred a month earlier, on September 1—but it was a telling reminder that the creeping fingers of Old Man Winter have…

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One of the most invaluable tools we have as leaders is our awareness of the factors that come into play when we are in the field. That awareness falls into three main categories: Environment Group Self As we shift into the colder months, digging all our layers and winter gear out of reverse-hibernation, it is…

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