Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Recreation/Wilderness Leadership
See also Wilderness Leadership - Advanced
|Skill Level 2|
|Year of Introduction: 1976|
- 1 1. Have the following honors:
- 2 2. Know and practice the principles of health, safety, and rules of conduct to be used when in the wilderness with a youth group.
- 3 3. Know and demonstrate the principles of signaling and rescue.
- 4 4. Assist in planning and participate with a group in a mock demonstration of what to do if lost, stranded, or injured in the wilderness. Assist in planning and participate as a leader in a search and rescue operation involving a hidden "injured" person.
- 5 5. Demonstrate some skills necessary for wilderness leadership in one of the following areas:
- 5.1 a. Tropical
- 5.2 b. Desert
- 5.3 c. Swamp
- 5.4 d. Mountain (rocks, ice, high altitude)
- 5.5 e. Temperate forest
- 5.6 f. Plain and tundra
- 6 6. Understand and demonstrate wilderness and camping etiquette regarding the preservation of the outdoors.
- 7 7. Identify in the wild, prepare, and eat ten varieties of wild plants.
- 8 8. Learn some of the wilderness leadership qualites of two of the following:
- 9 9. Lead a group in a weekend wilderness camping experience, applying the principles and skills learned in this honor.
- 10 References
The Wilderness Leadership Honor is a component of the Wilderness Master Award .
1. Have the following honors:
- a. Backpacking
- b. Camping Skills I-IV
- c. Fire Building & Camp Cookery
- d. First Aid
- e. Hiking
- f. Orienteering
2. Know and practice the principles of health, safety, and rules of conduct to be used when in the wilderness with a youth group.
The principles of health apply whether you are in the wilderness or not. A healthy diet should be maintained on any wilderness outing. Regular medications (if necessary) should be taken as prescribed. Personal hygiene should be practiced, including washing the hands frequently, and brushing the teeth regularly.
The danger of being in the wilderness is that it is remote. Ambulance service is not available in a forest, and transporting an injured person to a facility where professional medical care is available is likely be a time-consuming proposition. Furthermore, the more time that elapses between an injury and treatment, the less positive the outcome is likely to be.
Therefore, extra care should be taken, and the risks should be evaluated with the remoteness of the location in mind. Be conservative, and minimize risk wherever possible. This means you do not jump from high places. A sprained ankle can lead to disaster. Remember that if a person is injured badly enough to become immobile, someone will have to carry him out, along with his gear and their own gear, especially if that gear is critical to survival. If everyone is already fully laden, this can be a tremendous problem.
This is also the reason that "horsing around" should not be tolerated by a leader. Horseplay can lead to injury, and injury is to be avoided.
Fire safety should also be practiced, as should ax safety, and knife safety. Remember that an injury in the wilderness is always more serious than an equivalent injury at home.
3. Know and demonstrate the principles of signaling and rescue.
Make a distress signal
Make a distress signal on the ground by piling rocks, branches, or other debris to form large letters spelling "S.O.S." This is the universally recognized signal for help. Try to use materials that contrast with the surrounding environment. In winter, you may be able to stomp an SOS into the snow. Make the letters read from east to west (or west to east) so that the shadows catch the letters better.
Light three fires
You may also light three fires to signal for help. Build them either in a line or in a triangle, and get them good and hot. When you see a rescue plane during daylight hours, add green plant matter to the flames. This should cause thick smoke. Be careful to not extinguish the fire by doing this.
Signaling mirror The emergency signaling mirror is approximately 3 by 5 inches and consists of an aluminized reflecting glass mirror, a back cover glass, and a sighting device. It is used to attract the attention of passing aircraft or ships by reflection, either in sunlight or in hazy weather. The reflections of this shatterproof mirror can be seen at a distance of 30 miles at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Though less effective, and with possible shorter range, mirror flashes can also be seen on cloudy days with limited visibility. To use the mirror, proceed as follows:
- Punch a cross-hole in its center.
- Hold the mirror about 3 inches in front of your face and sight through the cross at the ship or aircraft. The spot of light shining through the hole onto your face will be seen in the cross-hole.
- While keeping a sight on the ship or aircraft, adjust the mirror until the spot of light on your face disappears in the hole. The bright spot, seen through the sight, will then be aimed directly at the search ship or aircraft.
The best advice about being lost, is - DON'T! And the best way to keep from getting lost is to stay on the path.
If you suddenly realize that you do not know where you are, then here are some things to do:
- Don't panic. You can't think clearly when you panic, so take a deep breath and relax.
- Pray. You may not know where you are, but God does, so talk to Him.
- Stay where you are. It is a lot easier for someone to find you if you stay put.
- Listen for the sounds of other campers, traffic, waterfalls, rivers, airplanes or anything that might help you find your way back.
- Look around - maybe you'll recognize something that can guide you back to civilization.
- If you have a whistle, blow on it. If you don't have a whistle, yell loudly. Someone in your party might hear you. Repeat this every 15 minutes or so and be sure to listen after each sounding. (three of anything is universally recognized as a call for help, so three whistle blasts, or three shouts)
- If you have a map and compass, try to locate your position by looking for hills valleys or streams.
- You can try to relocate the trail, but you do not want to get any further away from your last known location. Mark your location with something - a backpack, hat, or a large rock - but make sure it's something unmistakable. Then venture 10 meters out, and circle your marker, all the while looking about to see if you recognize the trail or a landmark, and always keeping your marker in view. If you do not see anything you recognize, widen the circle by another 10 meters and repeat. Continue circling your marker at ever wider intervals, but stop when continuing would cause you to lose sight of the marker.
- Climb a tree or hillside. A higher vantage point might reveal a landmark you missed from a lower elevation.
- If it's an hour or less until sunset, prepare to spend a comfortable evening. Make a shelter, and light a fire. Things will look better in the morning, and your fire may attract a rescuer.
If you find yourself stranded in the wilderness, the first priority should be to find (or make) shelter. The cause of death for most stranding situations is exposure to the elements. Shelter is more important than water or food. A person can die of exposure overnight, whereas death by dehydration takes a day or more, and death by starvation may take several weeks. If possible, find or build a shelter well before nightfall.
If you have a cell phone with you, try calling the emergency service (911 in most places) and let them know of your predicament. Give them as accurate a description of your location as possible. If you cannot get voice service, try sending a text message instead - these are more reliable when the signal is weak.
After shelter has been secured, the next priority should be to build a fire. A fire serves many functions, the primary one being the provision of heat. This is especially important in winter conditions. A fire will also provide a visual indication of your whereabouts to any search party that has been dispatched to find you. Fire will also keep wild animals away and will provide a morale boost.
When day breaks, assess your situation. If the weather permits, venture out and see if you can figure out where you are or if there is anything you can do to improve your situation. Do not venture far from your shelter, or if you do, leave an indication of where you are headed. If you feel you need to leave your shelter, head for higher ground where cell phone reception may be better (again, use a text message instead of voice). It is far easier for a search party to find a person who stays put than it is to find one who is roaming about.
Try to make your location visible to aircraft. Keep the fire going even in the daytime. Make an S.O.S. in the snow or sand, or use rocks to spell out the letters. Drape brightly covered cloth over shrubbery. Do whatever you can to make your presence easily detectable. Then wait for rescue.
In a bleeding injury, your first priority is to stop the flow of blood. Do this by applying pressure to the wound and by binding it with bandages. Review your first aid procedures before setting out. If you are injured and stranded, stay where you are. This is the quickest path to rescue. Do not attempt to traverse treacherous territory if your are physically unable to do so. This could lead to further, more serious injury.
Search and Rescue Drill
In wilderness areas searches are conducted in an ever widening circle normally. All available resources are used including hunting dogs, aircraft, search hikers, and mounted search personnel. When a person is lost in the wilderness there is rarely any expense spared in the search for the person. If details are known about intended camping sites and hiking routes then teams will be sent to investigate those locations directly while others are sent into line of site search patterns where from the best known location for the missing person(s) was outward with each searcher being within site of the next. This will also be done in staggered waves so that any evidence overlooked by one searcher might be found by the next. When the area becomes large enough to make line of site searches impractical the teams will be broken into zones using a search grid. A team of two or more will be assigned some small piece of the map area to search, all areas will be searched repeatedly for missed evidence or people. All the while roadways and known paths will have searches, or outposts on them in case the victim is still mobile and trying to work his way out of his circumstance. Aircraft will search in grids as well when weather provides. At night some aircraft may utilize heat sensors to try and identify people in the wilderness, this has proven effective at times and at other times not. When an aircraft identifies a possible victim a search team in the grid will respond to the location, sometimes they find nothing; other times they find animals. If a person is seeking shelter in a very cold area, he may have burrowed deep enough into a location as to defeat the heat sensors on any aircraft as was the case with a child in Arizona who hid among some cactus which cool greatly at night. This particular child had evaded rescuers intentionally for more than a day because he was not supposed to talk to strangers.
Of course, for a mock search, you may opt out of using "all available resources," such as dogs and aircraft. For this requirement it will suffice to conduct a sweep of the area and if that fails, conduct a grid search.
5. Demonstrate some skills necessary for wilderness leadership in one of the following areas:
Imagine yourself going into the wilderness with a group of people. Of all the people in the group, one seems to know nearly everything about staying comfortable and surviving in that environment. Whom do you think the group will follow?
Of course there is more to wilderness leadership than knowing how to thrive in the environment. A good leader will also know how to persuade people to follow. This is accomplished through competence and respect. But these qualities of a good leader are common to all of the areas listed below. Therefore, in the sections below we will focus on the skills necessary for comfort and survival but that are unique to the area being discussed.
Take shelter from tropical rain, sun, and insects. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes and other insects are immediate dangers, so protect yourself against bites.
In the tropics, even the smallest scratch can quickly become dangerously infected. Promptly treat any wound, no matter how minor.
- From Banana or Plantain Trees
- Wherever you find banana or plantain trees, you can get water. Cut down the tree, leaving about a 30-centimeter stump, and scoop out the center of the stump so that the hollow is bowl-shaped. Water from the roots will immediately start to fill the hollow. The first three fillings of water will be bitter, but succeeding fillings will be palatable. The stump will supply water for up to four days. Be sure to cover it to keep out insects.
- From Bamboo
- Green bamboo thickets are an excellent source of fresh water. Water from green bamboo is clear and odorless. To get the water, bend a green bamboo stalk, tie it down, and cut off the top. The water will drip freely during the night. Place a container directly below the cut top to collect the water as it drips. Old, cracked bamboo may contain water.
- From Streams and Lakes
- Often you can get nearly clear water from muddy streams or lakes by digging a hole in sandy soil about 1 meter from the bank. Water will seep into the hole. You must purify any water obtained in this manner.
With practice, movement through thick undergrowth and jungle can be done efficiently. Always wear long sleeves to avoid cuts and scratches.
To move easily, you must develop "jungle eye," that is, you should not concentrate on the pattern of bushes and trees to your immediate front. You must focus on the jungle further out and find natural breaks in the foliage. Look through the jungle, not at it. Stop and stoop down occasionally to look along the jungle floor. This action may reveal game trails that you can follow.
Stay alert and move slowly and steadily through dense forest or jungle. Stop periodically to listen and take your bearings. Use a machete to cut through dense vegetation, but do not cut unnecessarily or you will quickly wear yourself out. If using a machete, stroke upward when cutting vines to reduce noise because sound carries long distances in the jungle. Use a stick to part the vegetation. Using a stick will also help dislodge biting ants, spiders, or snakes. Do not grasp at brush or vines when climbing slopes; they may have irritating spines or sharp thorns.
Many jungle and forest animals follow game trails. These trails wind and cross, but frequently lead to water or clearings. Use these trails if they lead in your desired direction of travel.
This section borrows heavily from the U.S. Army's FM21-76 Survival manual, which is in the public domain.
Intense sunlight and heat increase the body's need for water. To conserve your body fluids and energy, you will need a shelter to reduce your exposure to the heat of the day. Travel at night to lessen your use of water.
Understanding how the air temperature and your physical activity affect your water requirements allows you to take measures to get the most from your water supply. These measures are--
- Find shade! Get out of the sun!
- Place something between you and the hot ground.
- Limit your movements!
- Conserve your sweat. Wear your complete uniform to include T-shirt. Roll the sleeves down, cover your head, and protect your neck with a scarf or similar item. These steps will protect your body from hot-blowing winds and the direct rays of the sun. Your clothing will absorb your sweat, keeping it against your skin so that you gain its full cooling effect. By staying in the shade quietly, fully clothed, not talking, keeping your mouth closed, and breathing through your nose, your water requirement for survival drops dramatically.
- If water is scarce, do not eat. Food requires water for digestion; therefore, eating food will use water that you need for cooling.
Thirst is not a reliable guide for your need for water. A person who uses thirst as a guide will drink only two-thirds of his daily water requirement. To prevent this "voluntary" dehydration, use the following guide:
- At temperatures below 38 degrees C, drink 0.5 liter of water every hour.
- At temperatures above 38 degrees C, drink 1 liter of water every hour.
Drinking water at regular intervals helps your body remain cool and decreases sweating. Even when your water supply is low, sipping water constantly will keep your body cooler and reduce water loss through sweating. Conserve your fluids by reducing activity during the heat of day. Do not ration your water! If you try to ration water, you stand a good chance of becoming a heat casualty.
Take extra care to avoid heat injuries. Rest during the day. Work during the cool evenings and nights. Use a buddy system to watch for heat injury, and observe the following guidelines:
- Make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Watch for signs of heat injury. If someone complains of tiredness or wanders away from the group, he may be a heat casualty.
- Drink water at least once an hour.
- Get in the shade when resting; do not lie directly on the ground.
- Do not take off your shirt and work during the day.
- Check the color of your urine. A light color means you are drinking enough water, a dark color means you need to drink more.
To make a belowground still, you need a digging tool, a container, a clear plastic sheet, a drinking tube, and a rock.
Select a site where you believe the soil will contain moisture (such as a dry stream bed or a low spot where rainwater has collected). The soil at this site should be easy to dig, and sunlight must hit the site most of the day.
To construct the still--
- Dig a bowl-shaped hole about 1 meter across and 60 centimeters deep.
- Dig a sump in the center of the hole. The sump's depth and perimeter will depend on the size of the container that you have to place in it. The bottom of the sump should allow the container to stand upright.
- Anchor the tubing to the container's bottom by forming a loose overhand knot in the tubing.
- Place the container upright in the sump.
- Extend the unanchored end of the tubing up, over, and beyond the lip of the hole.
- Place the plastic sheet over the hole, covering its edges with soil to hold it in place.
- Place a rock in the center of the plastic sheet.
- Lower the plastic sheet into the hole until it is about 40 centimeters below ground level. It now forms an inverted cone with the rock at its apex. Make sure that the cone's apex is directly over your container. Also make sure the plastic cone does not touch the sides of the hole because the earth will absorb the condensed water.
- Put more soil on the edges of the plastic to hold it securely in place and to prevent the loss of moisture.
- Plug the tube when not in use so that the moisture will not evaporate.
You can drink water without disturbing the still by using the tube as a straw.
You may want to use plants in the hole as a moisture source. If so, dig out additional soil from the sides of the hole to form a slope on which to place the plants. Then proceed as above.
If polluted water is your only moisture source, dig a small trough outside the hole about 25 centimeters from the still's lip (Figure 6-8). Dig the trough about 25 centimeters deep and 8 centimeters wide. Pour the polluted water in the trough. Be sure you do not spill any polluted water around the rim of the hole where the plastic sheet touches the soil. The trough holds the polluted water and the soil filters it as the still draws it. The water then condenses on the plastic and drains into the container. This process works extremely well when your only water source is salt water.
You will need at least three stills to meet your individual daily water intake needs.
Saltwater swamps are common in coastal areas subject to tidal flooding. Mangrove trees thrive in these swamps. Mangrove trees can reach heights of 12 meters, and their tangled roots are an obstacle to movement. Visibility in this type of swamp is poor, and movement is extremely difficult. Sometimes, streams that you can raft form channels, but you usually must travel on foot through this swamp.
You find saltwater swamps in West Africa, Madagascar, Malaysia, the Pacific islands, Central and South America, and at the mouth of the Ganges River in India. The swamps at the mouths of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers and rivers of Guyana consist of mud and trees that offer little shade. Tides in saltwater swamps can vary as much as 12 meters.
Everything in a saltwater swamp may appear hostile to you, from leeches and insects to crocodiles and caimans. Avoid the dangerous animals in this swamp.
Avoid this swamp altogether if you can. If there are water channels through it, you may be able to use a raft to escape.
You find freshwater swamps in low-lying inland areas. Their characteristics are masses of thorny undergrowth, reeds, grasses, and occasional short palms that reduce visibility and make travel difficult. There are often islands that dot these swamps, allowing you to get out of the water. Wildlife is abundant in these swamps.
In a marsh or swamp, or any area with standing water or continually wet ground, the swamp bed keeps you out of the water. When selecting such a site, consider the weather, wind, tides, and available materials.
To make a swamp bed--
- Look for four trees clustered in a rectangle, or cut four poles (bamboo is ideal) and drive them firmly into the ground so they form a rectangle. They should be far enough apart and strong enough to support your height and weight, to include equipment.
- Cut two poles that span the width of the rectangle. They, too, must be strong enough to support your weight.
- Secure these two poles to the trees (or poles). Be sure they are high enough above the ground or water to allow for tides and high water.
- Cut additional poles that span the rectangle's length. Lay them across the two side poles, and secure them.
- Cover the top of the bed frame with broad leaves or grass to form a soft sleeping surface.
- Build a fire pad by laying clay, silt, or mud on one comer of the swamp bed and allow it to dry.
Another shelter designed to get you above and out of the water or wet ground uses the same rectangular configuration as the swamp bed. You very simply lay sticks and branches lengthwise on the inside of the trees (or poles) until there is enough material to raise the sleeping surface above the water level.
d. Mountain (rocks, ice, high altitude)
Every rock mountain is slowly disintegrating due to erosion, the process being especially rapid above the snow-line. Rock faces are constantly swept by falling stones, which may be possible to dodge. Falling rocks tend to form furrows in a mountain face, and these furrows (couloirs) have to be ascended with caution, their sides often being safe when the middle is stoneswept. Rocks fall more frequently on some days than on others, according to the recent weather. Ice formed during the night may temporarily bind rocks to the face but warmth of the day or lubricating water from melting snow or rain may easily dislodge these rocks. Local experience is a valuable help on determining typical rockfall on such routes.
The direction of the dip of rock strata sometimes determines the degree of danger on a particular face; the character of the rock must also be considered. Where stones fall frequently debris will be found below, while on snow slopes falling stones cut furrows visible from a great distance. In planning an ascent of a new peak or an unfamiliar route, mountaineers must look for such traces. When falling stones get mixed in considerable quantity with slushy snow or water a mud avalanche is formed (common in the Himalaya). It is vital to avoid camping in their possible line of fall.
The places where ice may fall can always be determined beforehand. It falls in the broken parts of glaciers (seracs) and from overhanging cornices formed on the crests of narrow ridges. Large icicles are often formed on steep rock faces, and these fall frequently in fine weather following cold and stormy days. They have to be avoided like falling stones. Seracs are slow in formation, and slow in arriving (by glacier motion) at a condition of unstable equilibrium. They generally fall in or just after the hottest part of the day. A skillful and experienced ice-man will usually devise a safe route through a most intricate ice-fall, but such places should be avoided in the afternoon of a hot day. Hanging glaciers (i.e. glaciers perched on steep slopes) often discharge themselves over steep rock-faces, the snout breaking off at intervals. They can always be detected by their debris below. Their track should be avoided.
Falls from rocks
The skill of a rock climber is shown by one's choice of handhold and foothold, and their adhesion to those once they have chosen. Much depends on a correct estimate of the firmness of the rock where weight is to be thrown upon it. Many loose rocks are quite firm enough to bear a person's weight, but experience is needed to know which can be trusted, and skill is required in transferring the weight to them without jerking. On rotten rocks the rope must be handled with special care, lest it should dislodge loose stones on to those below. Similar care must be given to handholds and footholds, for the same reason. When a horizontal traverse has to be made across very difficult rocks, a dangerous situation may arise unless at both ends of the traverse there are firm positions. Mutual assistance on hard rocks takes all manner of forms: two, or even three, people climbing on one another's shoulders, or using an ice axe propped up by others for a foothold. The great principle is that of co-operation, all the members of the party climbing with reference to the others, and not as independent units; each when moving must know what the climber in front and the one behind are doing. After bad weather steep rocks are often found covered with a veneer of ice (verglas), which may even render them inaccessible. Crampons are useful on such occasions.
The avalanche is the most underestimated danger in the mountains. People generally think that they will be able to recognize the hazards and survive being caught. The truth is a somewhat different story. Every year, 120 - 150 people die in small avalanches in the Alps alone. The vast majority are reasonably experienced male skiers aged 20–35 but also include ski instructors and guides. There is always a lot of pressure to risk a snow crossing. Turning back takes a lot of extra time and effort, supreme leadership, and most importantly there seldom is an avalanche to prove the right decision was made. Making the decision to turn around is especially hard if others are crossing the slope, but any next person could become the trigger.
Dangerous slides are most likely to occur on the same slopes preferred by many skiers: long and wide open, few trees or large rocks, 30 to 45 degrees of angle, large load of fresh snow, soon after a big storm, on a slope 'lee to the storm'. Solar radiation can trigger slides as well. These will typically be a point release or wet slough type of avalanche. The added weight of the wet slide can trigger a slab avalanche. Ninety percent of reported victims are caught in avalanches triggered by themselves or others in their group.
When going off-piste or travelling in alpine terrain, parties are advised to always carry:
- avalanche beacon
- shovel (retrieving victims with a shovel instead of your hands is five times faster)
It is also important to have had avalanche training! Paradoxically, expert skiers who have avalanche training make up a large percentage of avalanche fatalities; perhaps because they are the ones more likely to ski in areas prone to avalanches, and certainly because most people do not practice enough with their equipment to be truly fast and efficient rescuers.
Even with proper rescue equipment and training, there is a one-in-five chance of dying if caught in a significant avalanche, and only a 50/50 chance of being found alive if buried more than a few minutes. The best solution is to learn how to avoid risky conditions.
For travel on slopes consisting of ice or hard snow, crampons are a standard part of a mountaineer's equipment. While step-cutting can sometimes be used on snow slopes of moderate angle, this can be a slow and tiring process, which does not provide the higher security of crampons. However, in soft snow or powder, crampons are easily hampered by balling of snow, which reduces their effectiveness. In either case, an ice axe not only assists with balance but provides the climber with the possibility of self-arrest in case of a slip or fall. On a true ice slope however, an ice axe is rarely able to effect a self-arrest. As an additional safety precaution on steep ice slopes, the climbing rope is attached to ice screws buried into the ice.
True ice slopes are rare in Europe, though common in mountains in the tropics, where newly-fallen snow quickly thaws on the surface and becomes sodden below, so that the next night's frost turns the whole mass into a sheet of semi-solid ice.
Snow slopes are very common, and usually easy to ascend. At the foot of a snow or ice slope is generally a big crevasse, called a bergschrund, where the final slope of the mountain rises from a snow-field or glacier. Such bergschrunds are generally too wide to be stepped across, and must be crossed by a snow bridge, which needs careful testing and a painstaking use of the rope. A steep snow slope in bad condition may be dangerous, as the whole body of snow may start as an avalanche. Such slopes are less dangerous if ascended directly, rather than obliquely, for an oblique or horizontal track cuts them across and facilitates movement of the mass. New snow lying on ice is especially dangerous. Experience is needed for deciding on the advisability of advancing over snow in doubtful condition. Snow on rocks is usually rotten unless it is thick; snow on snow is likely to be sound. A day or two of fine weather will usually bring new snow into sound condition. Snow cannot lie at a very steep angle, though it often deceives the eye as to its slope. Snow slopes seldom exceed 40°. Ice slopes may be much steeper. Snow slopes in early morning are usually hard and safe, but the same in the afternoon are quite soft and possibly dangerous; hence the advantage of an early start.
Crevasses are the slits or deep chasms formed in the substance of a glacier as it passes over an uneven bed. They may be open or hidden. In the lower part of a glacier the crevasses are open. Above the snow-line they are frequently hidden by arched-over accumulations of winter snow. The detection of hidden crevasses requires care and experience. After a fresh fall of snow they can only be detected by sounding with the pole of the ice axe, or by looking to right and left where the open extension of a partially hidden crevasse may be obvious. The safeguard against accident is the rope, and no one should ever cross a snow-covered glacier unless roped to one, or even better to two companions. Anyone venturing onto crevasses should be trained in crevasse rescue.
The primary dangers caused by bad weather centre around the changes it causes in snow and rock conditions, making movement suddenly much more arduous and hazardous than under normal circumstances. Whiteouts make it difficult to retrace a route while rain may prevent taking the easiest line only determined as such under dry conditions. In a storm the mountaineer who uses a compass for guidance has a great advantage over a merely empirical observer. In large snow-fields it is, of course, easier to go wrong than on rocks, but intelligence and experience are the best guides in safely navigating objective hazards.
Summer thunderstorms may produce intense lightning. If a climber happens to be standing on or near the summit, they risk being struck. There are many cases where people have been struck by lightning while climbing mountains. In most mountainous regions, local storms develop by late morning and early afternoon. Many climbers will get an "alpine start"; that is before or by first light so as to be on the way down when storms are intensifying in activity and lightning and other weather hazards are a distinct threat to safety. High winds can speed the onset of hypothermia, as well as damage equipment such as tents used for shelter. Under certain conditions, storms can also create waterfalls which can slow or stop climbing progress. A notable example is the "Foen" wind acting upon the Eiger.
Rapid ascent can lead to altitude sickness. The best treatment is to descend immediately. The climber's motto at high altitude is "climb high, sleep low", referring to the regimen of climbing higher to acclimatize but returning to lower elevation to sleep.
Common symptoms of altitude sickness include severe headache, sleep problems, nausea, lack of appetite, lethargy and body ache. Mountain sickness may progress to HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema), both of which can be fatal within 24 hours.
In high mountains, atmospheric pressure is lower and this means that less oxygen is available to breathe. This is the underlying cause of altitude sickness. Everyone needs to acclimatize, even exceptional mountaineers that have been to high altitude before. Generally speaking, mountaineers start using bottled oxygen when they climb above 7,000 m. Exceptional mountaineers have climbed 8000-meter peaks (including Everest) without oxygen, almost always with a carefully planned program of acclimatization.
e. Temperate forest
Small fires are better than large ones as they require less fuel and make less smoke. Sit close. Less fuel means less work in gathering fuel. Review the answers in Camping Skills IV to refresh yourself on how to build a fire in wet weather.
When travelling for extended periods of time in the wilderness, it is not practical to carry all the water you will need. Happily, it is not necessary to do that either if you know how to make the water that is available suitable for drinking. There are generally three ways to purify water: chemically, by boiling, or by filtering. The most reliable method of purifying water is by pumping it through a filter. Chemically treating the water is also easy and convenient until you run out of purification tablets. Boiling water requires that you stop long enough to build a fire and bring the water to a boil. Then you are faced with the problem of carrying boiling water. For these reasons, filtering is the preferred solution. Be sure to refill when water is available, and think ahead to when water may not be plentiful (such as near the summit of a large hill or mountain), and make adequate preparations.
Bear danger is the risk encountered by humans while interacting with wild bears.
Although some bears are alpha predators in their own habitat, they do not, under normal circumstances, hunt and feed on animals of their own size (including humans). Therefore, the most important cases of bear attack occur when the animal is defending itself against any possible threat. For instance, bear sows can become extremely aggressive if they feel their cubs are threatened. Any solitary bear is also likely to become agitated if surprised or cornered by a threat maker, especially while eating.
- Dealing with bear encounters
Before backpackers are allowed to enter an area with bears, they may be required to watch a video that teaches how to avoid encountering or agitating bears. Experts emphasize keeping your distance and making noise to avoid startling a bear as the best ways to avoid a bear attack. If a bear does become confrontational, the usual advice is to raise the arms above the head so as to appear larger, and to yell at the bear. Running away can activate the bear's hunting instincts and lead to it perceiving the human as prey. If a bear does charge, persons are advised to hold their ground, as most bear charges are bluffs. Finally, if a bear does attack, the usual advice is to curl into a fetal position so as to shield vital organs and appear non-threatening. If this is not effective in stopping the attack, the only option left is to fight the bear in any way you can. The ideal place to punch a bear is the snout or eyes. This advice applies to omnivores such as brown and black bears; the best way to avoid being attacked by the completely carnivorous polar bear is not to enter any area where polar bears live, or at least remain inside a hard-shell vehicle or building.
- Food storage and garbage disposal
Bears have an excellent sense of smell, and are attracted to human and pet foods as well as refuse. Improper storage of these items can allow bears to eat human food and become dependent on it, increasing the probability of encounters with humans. Most brown and black bear encounters in human-populated areas involve so-called "trouble bears", usually young males who have just left their mothers and do not yet have a territory of their own. If they wander close to human settlements, the smells of cooking and garbage can cause them to ignore their usual instinct to avoid humans. Many parks and persons in areas with bears utilize bear-resistant garbage cans and dumpsters for this reason, and many areas have laws prohibiting the feeding of bears, even if unintentional. Campers can access bear-proof containers from many parks to store their food and trash. The containers are then buried or strung on a rope between two tall trees, out of bears' reach. They are also instructed to put their containers, campfire, and tenting 90 meters away from each other, forming a triangle.
f. Plain and tundra
The reflection of the sun's ultraviolet rays off a snow-covered area causes this condition. The symptoms of snow blindness are a sensation of grit in the eyes, pain in and over the eyes that increases with eyeball movement, red and teary eyes, and a headache that intensifies with continued exposure to light. Prolonged exposure to these rays can result in permanent eye damage. To treat snow blindness, bandage your eyes until the symptoms disappear.
You can prevent snow blindness by wearing sunglasses. If you don't have sunglasses, improvise. Cut slits in a piece of cardboard, thin wood, tree bark, or other available material. Putting soot under your eyes will help reduce shine and glare.
Dried moss, grass, and scrub willow are other materials you can use for fuel. These are usually plentiful near streams in tundras (open, treeless plains). By bundling or twisting grasses or other scrub vegetation to form a large, solid mass, you will have a slower burning, more productive fuel.
Dress in layers and avoid cotton. Wool or synthetics are warm even when wet, but when cotton gets wet (even from sweat), it effectively conducts heat away from the body. Wear a waterproof outer layer. If you find you are beginning to sweat, remove a layer of clothing or vent it. It is common for a person carrying a heavy load or doing heavy work (such as with an ax or shovel) to sweat even on a very cold day. Keep adjusting your layers until you quit sweating, as you do not want to be wet. When the exertion comes to an end, sweat-soaked clothing will quickly chill you.
Travelling in the snow is in many ways easier than travelling over solid ground if you have the right equipment. Snow shoes will keep you from sinking into the snow making it far easier to walk. Skis will speed you along even faster. Load your equipment on a sled and pull it along behind you. In this way you can carry far more equipment (or small children) than you could with a backpack.
6. Understand and demonstrate wilderness and camping etiquette regarding the preservation of the outdoors.
Be considerate of other campers. When purchasing tents, buy ones in muted colors that will blend in with the environment. Blues, greens, and browns are preferred to reds and oranges. People go camping to escape the garishness of the city—leave that behind.
Also be mindful of the noise level made in your camp. Don't be a nuisance. If camping in the wilderness, be sure to make your camp out of sight of the trail. Most National Forests have guidelines for where you can camp in relation to the trail. Find out what those guidelines are and follow them.
Do not enter anyone else's camp site without their permission, especially when traveling to or from your campsite to other places on the campground. It is very rude to cut through another camp. Use the road or trail, even if it will take longer.
Leave the area cleaner than you found it. If you are leading a group of youngsters on a campout, have a contest before you pile back in your cars to go home: see who can collect the most litter (define "most" first though - it can mean by volume, by weight, or by item count). Offer a prize to the one who collects the most (such as getting to choose which seat he or she will sit in on the trip home).
7. Identify in the wild, prepare, and eat ten varieties of wild plants.
We present some of the more common edible plants here. For more options see the Edible Wild Plants honor in the Nature chapter of this book. Incidentally, once you have met this requirement, you will be well on your way to earning the Edible Wild Plants Honor.
Where found: Throughout Asia, Europe, and North America
Availability: Spring, Summer, Fall
Use: Add the young, tender leaves to salad raw, or boil and eat as greens. The roots can be roasted and ground, and used as a coffee substitute.
8. Learn some of the wilderness leadership qualites of two of the following:
Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt and lived in the desert for 40 years. During the whole of this time, he was their leader. Moses demonstrated both patience and wisdom. He cared for the people he led, and was constantly trying to help them both physically and spiritually.
During the time of King Saul's reign, Saul was determined to kill David. As a result, David fled to the wilderness where he was joined by a band of men. David demonstrated patience, cunning, and forgiveness. He was willing to let the Lord place him on the throne in His own time rather than taking matters into his own hands.
Like David, Elijah fled to the wilderness to escape the wrath of the king. He lived by the brook Cherith for two years during a time of drought. The Lord provided his food, and his water was supplied by the brook. When the brook dried up, Elijah was sent to Zaraphath, and was present when the Lord performed a miracle for a widow and her son living there. Elijah lived with this widow until the drought ended.
When Moses died, Joshua took over as the leader of the Israelites. Joshua showed wisdom and patience as Moses did, and was faithful to Moses' legacy.
e. John the Baptist
John lived in the wilderness before he began his ministry as "the Elijah to come."
- John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:4 NIV
It takes a wilderness leader to be able to make clothing of this sort and to survive on his chosen diet.
9. Lead a group in a weekend wilderness camping experience, applying the principles and skills learned in this honor.
This is where all that knowledge is put to use. Wilderness camping is different from "camp ground" camping and offers the Pathfinder many opportunities to practice group dynamics, responsibility, and build self-confidence. A well-organized trip is a joy to experience, whereas an ill-organized one can be a seemingly unending series of mishaps and misery.
As the leader, it is important that you do not do all the doing. The other participants will feel that they are merely so much luggage and begin to act as if they have no responsibilities. One of the most difficult lessons I have learned as a leader is that a leader should really step back and lead rather than jump in and do. When doing instead of leading, it is too easy to become absorbed in the task at hand and lose track of the overall picture. While you're busy doing, other people finish (or abandon) their tasks, and you're too busy to give them their next assignment. Rather, you as the leader should direct the activities of the others. Know what needs to be done next, and assign someone to do it. If they are having trouble, help them, but do not take over. If helping them becomes too involved, assign someone else to help them.
A highly effective way of doing this is to make a set of cards describing each task that needs to be done when setting up (or breaking) camp. Each task should be doable by a team of three or four kids with advice and guidance from an adult mentor. Sort the tasks into groups by priority, so that the things that must be done first are in one group, the things that should be done second are in another, and things that should be done last are in the third group. Label these groups A, B, and C. The number of tasks in each group should be equal to the number of 3-5 person teams that will be camping with you. Do not include pitching the sleeping tents in this list of tasks (more on that later).
Each card should also be marked with "points" to be awarded to the team who completes that task. Difficult, lengthy, or unpleasant tasks should be worth many points. Easy, quick, and fun tasks should be awarded few points.
Before you leave for your trip, assemble the kids into teams and assign to each team and adult mentor. Each team should have a mix of kids - some who are experienced or skilled, and some who are inexperienced or have not yet developed camping skills.
Choose the teams wisely. Best friends have a tendency to goof off. When I was a teen, my brother and I had been hired by an uncle to do some farm work. When we suggested that he should also hire our other brother, he responded with this gem that I will never forget:
- "A boy's a boy, two boys are half a boy, and three boys is no boy at all."
I understand that far better now than I did when he said it. Knowing about this tendency will enable you to head it off so you don't have to work against it. Assign juniors to teens, and assign teens to adult mentors. Go over this with the teens ahead of time so that they will have an idea of what they are to teach the juniors to do as they do it. This will not only introduce the juniors to new knowledge, but it will reinforce it in your teens.
When you arrive at your camp site, instruct all Pathfinders to pitch the tents they will sleep in, and then stow their sleeping bags and personal gear in them. When they are finished with that, have them assemble near the remaining equipment. As soon as a complete team has finished pitching their tents and stowing their gear, they may choose one of the A tasks. When they finish their A task to their mentor's satisfaction, they may choose a B task. When they finish their B task, they may choose a C task. When they finish their C task, they may choose another C task if one is available (and thereby improve their point total).
Be sure to let your Pathfinders know how the points will be used ahead of time, otherwise they will not serve as an effective incentive. You could award the team with the highest number of points the privilege of being dismissed to eat first, followed by the team with the second highest number of points, etc. Console the team scoring the fewest number of points by reminding them that the staff actually eats last.
When we implemented this plan in my club we found that it made a remarkable difference in getting the kids motivated and focused on setting up the camp site. Instead of finding kids to do the tasks I was coming up with on the spot, the kids were coming to me for their assignments. Instead of goofing around and doing a poor job, they were executing their duties with enthusiasm and efficiency, and upon completion, they were eager to take on the next task.
To give you an idea of what tasks might be described on the cards, the tasks we used are listed below. Though the tasks below are suited more for "Campground camping" rather than "wilderness camping", they still give a general picture of what is to be done. Not all of these tasks are required at every camp out.
|A Tasks||Pitch kitchen shelter
|Pitch dining shelter
|Sort camp chairs
|B Tasks||Set up tables (1 point/table)||Set up hygiene stations
|C Tasks||Put totes in kitchen
|Build fire ring
- ^ Hygiene stations include the dish washing station, trash receptacle (lined with a trash bag), and possibly a hand washing station.
- ^ "Prepare dishes" includes hanging a dish line, pinning mesh bags to it (in numerical order), and sorting all the eating utensils & dishes into the mesh bags.
- ^ Points awarded for fetching water depend on how far away the water is and how much is needed.
- ^ "Put totes in kitchen" means the tubs of food, coolers, and kitchen gear (other than camp stoves and lanterns). Note that only the food needed for the first meal should be put in the kitchen unless it can be secured against invasion by "critters." Otherwise it is best to leave it in a vehicle, equipment trailer, or placed in a bear box.
- ^ Propane equipment includes the camp stove(s) and lanterns.
- ^ Points awarded for gathering firewood depend on the difficulty of the task. The task might entail nothing more than buying some at the camp store, unloading it from a trailer or vehicle, or gathering it from the woods (if permitted).
- ^ It might not be necessary to build a fire ring, in which case this task should be omitted from the deck.
Once you are happy with the cards you have come up with for your club, laminate them so that they can be reused in the future.