Before you go out, check into available routes, ownership of land, posted areas, regulations that apply, and the following rules:
• Respect private property. Ask permission before entering.
• Be considerate of other winter back-country travelers. We’re all out to enjoy the outdoors.
• Avoid disturbing wildlife by staying out of elk and deer wintering areas. Detour if you spot wildlife.
• Wilderness Areas and Primitive areas are closed to motorized vehicles. Inquire at a local Forest Service office if in doubt. Obey all signs.
• Beware of avalanches! Avalanches may occur at any time during the winter. Avoid mountainous terrain after heavy snowfalls of prolonged periods of high wind. Stay on the windblown side of ridges. Avoid crossing steep hillsides and entering narrow, steep canyons.
• Remember to notify a responsible person of your travel plans.
Trail descriptions may not be 100% accurate please obtain a map and a compass.
Lessen Your Impact
Following these Backcountry ethics can help protect and preserve the wild areas for future visits:
• Limit the size of you group to 10
• Stay on established trail to minimize erosion
• Please keep dogs on a leash
• Please do not feed wildlife
• Pack out what you pack in – Take your trash with you!
Weather can change rapidly so be prepared for the worst. One of the gravest dangers of winter weather is wind chill. The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill. Always be aware of avalanche danger and be sure to update yourself on avalanche safety and survival.
Hypothermia is the mental physical collapse resulting from a lowered inner body temperature. It commonly develops when outside temperatures are between 30 and 50 degrees when the victim is wet. Summer afternoon thundershowers and rapidly changing mountain weather can greatly increase thee risk of developing hypothermia.
Planning and Equipment
Always leave your itinerary with a friend, family member, or concierge and give them a return time/date. Check the weather forecast prior to leaving and make sure you bring the proper equipment and wear proper clothing. Bring items such as compass, map, whistle, flashlight, sunscreen, first-aid kit, and anything else you think you may need. Please remember that these are simplified guidelines and that you should always visit a forest service station for more complete guidelines and safety information for the area in which you plan to travel.