Speed is Safety – Part II

| August 25, 2008 | 1 Comment

Continued from last Friday…

The best way to lighten your pack is to start with a small one, then leave things out of it.  Assume the best, and be ready to improvise if worse comes to worst.

Choose appropriate terrain and objectives. 
Lightweight speed outings are best done on easier or familiar terrain.  The downside of going light & fast is that you don’t have much of a safety net if things go wrong, so pick objectives which are well within your abilities.

Brad Barlage moving light & fast on the familar Lowe Route with only a few minutes of daylight left.
Brad Barlage moving light & fast on the familar Lowe Route with only a few minutes of daylight left.

Stay warm by moving.
Just as a car’s engine stays warm when it is running, you can keep your body warm by moving instead of piling on extra clothing.  Adjust your pace and try to avoid windy ridgelines or cold-sink gullies.

Keep moving by bringing a headlamp.
A simple little LED headlamp can replace many pounds worth of emergency gear as it allows you to keep moving and/or find shelter.

Yea, tho I walk through the valley of Snakes and Dogs, I fear no darkness as I have a headlamp."  Brad beginning the walk down from Lone Peak Cirque at 9:00pm.
“Yea, tho I walk through the valley of Snakes and Dogs, I fear no darkness as I have a headlamp.” Brad beginning the walk down from Lone Peak Cirque at 9:00pm.

Be prepared to improvise.
One of my all time favorite lightweight quotes comes from Ray Jardine, an early pioneer of ultralight backpacking; “If you need something and you don’t have it, then you don’t need it.”  Sure, a tent, sleeping bag and stove are nice, but you can also survive a night in relative comfort with nothing more than a lighter.

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Category: 17 Light is Right

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (1)

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  1. Katie says:

    Best post ever!

    Thanks for keeping my boys (all three of ’em) safe and happy!

    Not sure the big blond one (Arnie) learned his lesson, though….

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