While for those of us who live in the west, we know how to prepare our rigs, camps and daypack for the worst. But if you are traveling to the Rocky Mountains for the first time, you should first ask some questions to help spec out your vital equipment unless someone already has it waiting for you. Once you answer these questions, you can prepare for the worst as the mountains and deserts in the west can be violently unpredictable. These basic questions are as follows:
(1) What do I know about the area where I am going relative to elevation, location including ingress/egress, nearest towns and medical centers?
(2) What sort of weather extremes are possible in and around my hunting area and what will protect me in such extreme?
(3) If alone or separated from a group, what would I do if I was lost, hurt or downed a large animal?
(4) Are there common dangers in the area where I am headed and what do I do in such situation?
(5) If I am driving, what can I do if we get stuck or break down on our own?
(6) If any of my critical equipment fails such as firearms, bow or binoculars, do I have a backup?
(7) Most phones will not work in the mountains and especially canyons...how do I communicate in the event of emergency?
(8) Do I really know how to read topographic maps, GPS or compass?
(9) How much emergency food or water is needed on a hunt in case of an unexpected stay overnight?
(10) What do I need if I am stuck alone in adverse conditions for several days?
(11) Are there dangerous animals, plants or insects where I am going and am I prepared for preventative actions and follow-up treatment in the bush?
(12) How can I prepare yet not have too much equipment that it impedes my ability to travel?
Feel free to ask for advice on any of these questions as it could save your life or at least prevent a very bad experience.