14
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I know what size ice axe I should get?

I'm going to start mountaineering. Is there a recommended size per height/weight for ice axes for general mountaineering?
13
votes
3answers
8k views

How do you remove mold from a tent?

Of course, the best way is to prevent mold on a tent from occurring by airing, cleaning and storing it appropriately. When doing this I've never had any issues. However, there may well be cases where ...
12
votes
3answers
480 views

Falling into an ice cold body of water

I've never been hiking in such extreme situations, but if in the situation in the question, i.e. you're hiking in very cold weather and someone falls in (let's say so pretty much their whole body is ...
10
votes
2answers
155 views

Reference request: books on self-rescue while climbing

Can people recommend books or online resources on self-rescue for roped climbing? As a beginning trad leader, I think I should have a basic understanding of topics like how to escape a belay and how ...
10
votes
1answer
202 views

May hiking in Eastern California

In May this year (6–8 May) I will have a workshop in Mammoth Lakes, California. I would like to do some hiking in addition to this workshop (roughly one week). I have never been to the United States, ...
9
votes
3answers
119 views

Avoiding building a belay anchor too low down

Sometimes when I'm trad climbing it seems really tough to avoid an awkward belay, and a common type of awkwardness is when the belay device ends up too low. Below is a drawing of a situation I was in ...
9
votes
4answers
195 views

What are the real dangers of climbing at high altitude?

I had a campfire discussion not long ago with a man that got pulmonary edema while attempting the summit of Aconcagua, and we got into the discussion of the effects of high elevation. I had always ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Thinking about a road trip out West

My wife and I are thinking of taking a road trip from northwest Ohio to "out west" - Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, etc. I've never been farther west than Indiana, so it's a whole new ...
9
votes
1answer
327 views

Are drop bears dangerous? [closed]

I recently visited Australia, Sydney region. I've been warned about animals called drop bears. What kind of animal is it? Is it dangerous ?
8
votes
3answers
480 views

Which mid-line knot is best suited for a trucker's hitch?

I've been using a trucker's hitch knot for a very long time (camping, strapping stuff down, line length adjustment, pulley system) I've always switched my mid-line loop when I've come to not trust ...
7
votes
1answer
220 views

Serrated vs flat-edge knives

Each has their purpose, I'm sure. So for what activities is each better? When would I use one over the other? What about half-serrated blades?
5
votes
2answers
192 views

How to use campus boards

I'm looking at improving (actually starting) my training regime. My local climbing Gym has just installed various campus boards. How do you use these to train effectively? What's the technique ...
3
votes
4answers
592 views

Rifugio (Mountain Hut) trek in Austria

I'm interested in combining a three to five day "rifugio" based trek in southern Austria with a visit to Vienna. In other words, I'd like to be able to fly in to somewhere nearby - Vienna, Salzburg, ...
24
votes
6answers
4k views

Is burying human waste always the lowest-impact solution?

According to leave-no-trace principles, one should bury human waste (poo). But burying damages plants and roots. Is this really always better than not burying it and pooing on the surface? (Of ...
21
votes
5answers
12k views

Tent and sleeping bag: pack inside or strap outside a backpack?

When I bought my pack, we were told to always pack the tent and sleeping bag in the pack. Since then I have seen a lot of articles and hikers doing the outside. What are the benefits on packing the ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

What are some toilet paper alternatives you could use in the woods?

When in the great outdoors, nature is bound to come calling, so what are some good natural toilet paper substitutes when the real thing isn't available?
19
votes
3answers
380 views

What pattern for casual planes should a castaway create on a desert island?

This answer has inspired me to a question: say you are a castaway on a desert island. There might be a plane flying casualy but you can miss it. So you want to create some pattern (e.g. put some ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

Are mittens warmer than gloves?

Given a mitten and a glove made of the same materials, thickness, etc, is the mitten warmer than the glove? It seems to me that having all four fingers in one area (vs separate fingers for gloves) ...
18
votes
2answers
612 views

Surviving a forest fire by starting another fire

Awhile back I heard on CBC radio about a man who got trapped in a forest fire (surrounded on all sides) and survived. The way he survived was so ridiculous that he was brought to court and almost ...
17
votes
4answers
702 views

What should I do when I'm lost?

What should I do when I get disoriented or lost? How can I find help or make myself easier to find? This is a general question to do when lost in the wilderness, whether it is a meadow or mountain. ...
17
votes
5answers
8k views

How do I avoid leeches?

The last time I was attacked by leeches I thought I'd taken enough precautions such as pulling my socks over my trousers and avoiding walking through particularly wet areas or long grass but I still ...
16
votes
3answers
367 views

How should I check climbing equipment to tell whether it is still safe to use?

I have, unfortunately, not had the opportunity to go climbing (and thus use my climbing equipment) for a couple years. I know that such equipment, especially the rope and webbing, can degrade over ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Camping with a dog for the first time

In a few months my fiance and I will be joining two friends camping. My friends chocolate labrador will be joining us for the weekend. My fiance and I, whilst both dog lovers, have no experience ...
15
votes
2answers
566 views

Dealing with very cold climate (clothing)

In the near future I will have to prepare myself for a Siberia expedition. During the winter, average temperatures in Siberia range from -10°F (-23°C) to below -50°C (-45°F).1 What should I ...
14
votes
2answers
561 views

What is the first thing to do, when buried in an avalanche?

Are there set rules I should follow which would increase my chances of survival if I get buried by an avalanche? Should I try to do anything if I get caught-up in one, before it has settled?
14
votes
5answers
2k views

When should you carry a firearm when hiking/trekking?

When my friend planned to hike the Appalachian trail, his mother insisted he take her small handgun. I didn't think it would be a great idea in that case, but I'm sure there must be times when such ...
14
votes
1answer
247 views

Is backcountry hiking in northwestern Russia safe?

Is it safe to go backcountry hiking in the Tundra's of northwestern Russia, e.g. the Kola peninsula, such as the Khibin mountains? There is some heavy industry around there; can one safely go around, ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Wax paper as a fire starter

One thought led to another and I started wondering how effective wax paper would be to bring along as tinder to start a fire. I've seen suggestions of using paraffin in conjunction with other ...
14
votes
4answers
968 views

Taking care of hiking backpack

I've had a 60 L backpack for almost seven years now. Nothing on it is broken and it fits my needs, so right now I don't have any thoughts about replacing it (Getting a light pack might be the only ...
13
votes
4answers
695 views

How to dry Gore-Tex boots in the field

I'm thinking of switching from old and heavy army boots to modern trekking ones. Trying to choose between Gore-Tex and leather with waterproof coating only, I can't get over a simple question - ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I keep my iPhone going on a multiday hike?

Taking a five day hike, and I want to take a bazillion pictures. It would be nice to have the compass & GPS functionality too, and I want something really small. The obvious choice is my ...
13
votes
2answers
911 views

What should you do if you see a rattle snake?

In the area where I live, I have periodically seen a rattle snake when hiking, occasionally at the ready to strike pose. What should I do?
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Winter Camping: How to warm up your boots in the morning?

Is there a good technique to warm up your boots in the morning? Should you just put them on and warm them up with your feet or is there a better alternative?
12
votes
3answers
776 views

How to set up a tent in deep snow

How should I set up a two-layer dome tent for 2/4 people in deep snow (waist height)? Do I need some additional equipment (snow shovel)? Insulation under the floor (further than the sleeping pads)? ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Is bear spray effective against other animals?

Is bear spray (pepper spray specially formulated to be effective against bear attacks) effective against other animals, especially mountain lions or wolves? Or is there something in it specifically ...
12
votes
3answers
428 views

Bear bags vs Bear canisters: which is better?

Most people I know and myself store food in bear bags. However, I have heard that some parks have banned bear bags and require canisters. I've also heard there is a bear in New York that has figured ...
11
votes
1answer
629 views

How to toughen up hands?

So I climb. It keeps my hands pretty rough, but for my day job I am a desk jockey now. I was wondering, are there exercises can I do to keep my hands rough so they don't get torn to shreds when I do ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you safely cut wood with a knife?

Several people have talked about having single edge knife so that you can cut down small trees. What is the proper way to cut or carve wood with a knife?
11
votes
3answers
330 views

How can I prevent plantar fasciitis?

Every year or so I'll end up with plantar fasciitis after periods of time where I've walked a lot. In general my walking shoes are fine and have arch support but occasionally I'll need to use sturdier ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Leading an inexperienced group

I'm taking a handful (5) work colleagues up a mountain this weekend (Tryfan in Snowdonia). The mountain is a Grade 1 scramble route so it's not overly simple. The group is very inexperienced. I've ...
10
votes
2answers
181 views

Using a “tarp” over the entrance of a snow cave

Is it true that a tarp shouldn't be covering the entrance of a snow-cave while sleeping in one? What's the reasoning to that? Is using a sleeping bag in them just fine?
10
votes
2answers
605 views

When should I retire my rope

I know there is a degree of "gray" in this question but: I have a Beal Top gun II 10.5mm, I've had this rope for around 4 years now and I'm starting to think about retiring it. It's been used ...
10
votes
3answers
216 views

When is it too cold for Tarping?

I'm looking to get a tarp, and considering when I want to go out with it. My three season tent with the rain fly has pretty good heat retention, and while it doesn't get toasty, it does stay warmer ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What can an injured person in the outdoors do to prevent infection by flesh-eating bacteria?

Perhaps you've heard about Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old adventurer who contracted a flesh-eating disease after getting injured in a zip line accident over the Tallapoosa River. She's already lost ...
9
votes
1answer
144 views

Are bears more attracted to menstruating females?

People have speculated that women hiking in bear country during their menstrual cycle might increase their chances of a bear encounter. Is this true? What can be done to minimize risk? Related ...
9
votes
1answer
568 views

Material of shirt for Desert hiking

I have pretty much always worn 100% cotton shirts when hiking but I have been reading more and more about the amazing "wicking" properties of other fabrics. Is there one that will keep me cooler ...
8
votes
2answers
193 views

Is there a more practical type of cord to carry than “550 paracord”?

Paracord is widely considered a must-have for wilderness survival, and there are hundreds of tutorials for making bracelets out of it, etc. With this popularity has come a glut of people selling ...
8
votes
4answers
372 views

How high to climb before clipping on a sport climb?

The guy who taught me to lead sport in the gym suggested that when I'm going for a clip, I position my body so that the clip is somewhere between my hips and my chest. He claimed it was a bad thing ...
8
votes
1answer
105 views

Some mobile helper for tree climbing?

When I do geocaching, I meet sometimes caches on trees. Some of them can be climbed by me without equipment, but in some cases I miss some flexibility or height to reach them :) Is there any mobile ...
8
votes
2answers
266 views

Why should the angle in a rope attached to two anchors be 60 degrees or less?

In this question it states that No angle of tension shall exceed 60 degrees. Why?

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