Outdoor Skills and Safety

While it’s not uncommon for residents throughout the Northeast to report bear sightings in their neighborhood, spotting a bear during the winter season might raise a few questions. Black bears typically hibernate from mid-December to the end of March or beginning of April, sustained on the stored-up energy in their bodies until the warm spring…

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  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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This story was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Appalachia Journal. At a secluded crag near my house, there’s a climbing route called Malevolent Eye. It’s 32 feet high, with a 3-foot overhang and a difficulty rating of 5.10–. It’s tricky enough to challenge a good climber, with several blade-thin holds and a…

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Hiking in the winter demands more. More preparedness and more planning. More outdoor experience and ability, and—perhaps most easily overlooked—more time. The cold months require better decision-making and a more cautious mindset. The same trail you hiked in summer six months ago is a different world now. Just as a wind chill intensifies the cold,…

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  Sarah Goodnow says she was lucky the first time she saw a natural avalanche. Lucky, as in she and others around her were in a safe place, allowing them to witness the phenomenon without fear.“It was after a snowstorm and there wasn’t much wind,” she recalls. “I could see Hillman’s Highway (a ski route…

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  When venturing out on a hike in the colder months, staying warm and safe with traction and proper layers are key differences from summertime adventures, but don’t underestimate the importance of eating the right foods and staying hydrated to keep your body warm and fueled. To help cut through the fads and bad advice,…

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Being outdoors in the winter—especially in the backcountry—presents a different and more complex set of safety challenges. Extreme cold and wind can render a person immobile—or worse—within minutes, complicating any additional injuries one has sustained. Here are several of the most common winter injuries, how to prevent them, and what to do if you or…

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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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According to an old Norwegian proverb, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Winter throws its fair share of bad weather at those of us who like to get outside year-round. But, with the right clothing, you can safely and comfortably head outdoors in the cold and snow. Knowing the meaning…

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  Excerpted and adapted from Essential Guide to Winter Recreation, from AMC Books. Making your way across brooks, streams, and open water carries hazards any time of year. There’s always the chance you’ll slip and end up in the drink. When it’s well below freezing and ice is involved, the dangers multiply exponentially, although there…

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