Map and Compass

  The winter months are a busy time for search and rescue (SAR) personnel in the Northeast. The region’s famously unpredictable and brutal winter weather leads to many misadventures that require professional rescues—but the vast majority of these incidents are preventable. Careful planning and preparation can help you avoid the many scenarios that lead to…

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  Excerpted and adapted from Essential Guide to Winter Recreation, from AMC Books. Getting lost in the woods can happen to anyone, especially in the winter and even to the most seasoned hiker. You make a wrong turn, you lose your bearings in whiteout conditions, or you accidentally get separated from your group. If you…

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AMC has partnered with Avenza Maps to make some of our maps available to download on your Android or Apple mobile device. Simply download Avenza’s free app and you’ll find AMC’s maps available for purchase. Even if you don’t have internet access or cell reception, you’ll still be able to access these maps and see…

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A lot more goes into planning a day hike than choosing your target elevation. Here’s a starter checklist. Consider the group. When choosing a route, think about the companions with whom you’ll be hiking. If you’re hiking with a novice, choose a trail that’s beginner-friendly; if you’re hiking with an experienced mountaineer, choose a hike…

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The number of New Hampshire peaks over 4,000 feet is thought to be 48, but according to AMC cartographer Larry Garland, that count could change. If you’ve hiked in the White Mountains over the last twenty years, there’s a good chance that the maps of Larry Garland were guiding you. For over two decades, this…

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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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Magnetic declination refers to the angle between the geographic North Pole and the magnetic pole located in the Arctic Ocean. You will discover that good hiking and topographic maps always indicate the local magnetic declination via a declination diagram, which includes one arrow pointing to geographic north (commonly labeled as True North, or TN) and…

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A map and compass make up two of the 10 essentials recommended for safe backcountry travel, but they’ll do little good if you don’t know how to use them. Misuse could even turn a situation in which you’re simply confused into one in which you’re totally lost. The bottom line? Learn proper technique before your…

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