What Makes You a Good Partner – Part I

| July 3, 2008

Being a good ski mountaineering partner is like any other successful partnership – you have to want it to work and make the effort. There are no set rules and it will be different each time you go out with a new partner or group. The ideal is to complement each other’s strengths, weaknesses and personalities, so that the sum of the team’s strength is greater than the individuals. Having a group of highly accomplished skiers is not always a recipe for success, and often turns into a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

“Be prepared.”
– Boy Scouts of America motto
Being prepared is the simplest and most effective way to be a good partner. Showing up on time, having all of your gear together and being ready to go are excellent ways to start a tour. Conversely, being late or forgetting key pieces of equipment can get the day off to such a bad start that it may never recover. Preparations should be completed the night before and double-checked in the morning. Packing food, filling water bottles, finding clothes and organizing gear all take time, and it is better to do those when there are no time constraints. Prepping the night before will give you more time in the morning for a good breakfast or dealing with poor travel conditions.

Be Informed
Being informed can make the difference between an excellent partner and a clueless liability. Even if you are not highly experienced, by being informed you can add information, enlightened opinions or viable options to the team. Knowing the current avalanche conditions and weather forecast is an excellent place to start. If you have a peak or goal in mind, finding out some background information can be invaluable. Two informed heads are better than one when it comes to navigating or route finding in new terrain. By being informed, you are taking an active, rather than a passive role in the group dynamics. An informed opinion is helpful, whereas an uninformed one is contentious.

Antarctic Pit
Jon Krakauer, Dan Stone & Conrad Anker getting informed together in Antarctica.
Tomorrow – Part II

Be VERY informed with a Garmin 60 CSX GPS unit at 15% from Backcountry.com

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Category: 04 Partners

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.

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