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When you take off into the mountains, sometimes bad things can happen – be prepared!
By Meggan Wenbourne
A friend’s recent experience in the mountains has reminded me that going out into the wilderness, even if it is just for a weekend warrior trip to get some climbing in, can turn into a life or death situation in a split second. Sometimes the only option you may have is to depend on the trained skills you and the people around you have received to lessen the severity of the situation until alternative help arrives.
That being said, I am a firm believer in being prepared for all types of situations and I work hard to make sure I always have a plan. I’m the type of person who always has a first aid kit with me. I have a special one in my car, in my suitcase, for my mountain bike and in my climbing pack. Not only have I purchased these first aid kits, but I decided, back in college, that the most responsible thing for me to do was to go through training specifically geared toward backcountry medicine.
Emergencies are hard. And they are scary. And to someone who does not deal with them on a regular basis (thankfully), it is a good idea to brush up on your skillsets regularly to make sure you can act quickly and efficiently in times of need.
With the hustle and bustle of daily life, I managed to let my Wilderness First Responder certification expire, which is out of character as I’ve have had it and re-certified it since my graduating day of college. The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has a one year grace period to renew before you actually lose your re-certification options, so although I am expired, I still have some time to renew it. With recent stories from fellow climbers and friends, I have finalized my plan to re-certify here in Santa Cruz before the end of the year.
I have decided the way to lessen the potential of catastrophe while in the mountains is to make sure I always have a plan, especially in the event of an emergency. If the situation ever presents itself, I want to be able to act and do so in an informed and responsible manner. I am encouraging any people who spend any amount of time in the backcountry to look into options for emergency backcountry training, you could be saving a life.
This was my weekend – researching recertification options, skills classes and playing in my coastal paradise town of Santa Cruz.
Have fun and be safe!
Meggan Wenbourne is an avid outdoorswoman. She spends her time traveling to the mountains from the coastline almost every weekend to get lost in the pine trees, rocks and rivers of the Sierra Nevada range. Her favorite activities include rock climbing, SUP paddling, kayaking, mountain biking, camping and the occasional backpacking trip. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and paddling off the coast, training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.