The avalanche risk estimate is currently set at five in the Trois Vallees. It’s the most extreme level of risk on the avalanche danger scale and indicates that large and very large avalanches are certain to be triggered by skiers travelling in avalanche terrain, which is any slope between 30 and 45 degrees (the slope angle on which slab avalanches are most likely to occur).
Since I don’t really fancy my chances in an avalanche I stayed home today and surfed the web, where I stumbled across Greg Hill’s Mountain Rules.
Greg is a Suunto sponsored ski mountaineer and guide who has five simple rules for mountain travel that I really identify with as follows:
- Be Afraid
- Be Prepared
- Have a great team
- Have a plan
- Be vigilant
Greg’s five rules are the product of 20 years experience in the mountains. By contrast, I have just three rules for backcountry travel which were developed in 50°C heat on the plains of Afghanistan. But I reckon they’re just as good and there’s plenty of similarity:
- Hope for the best
- Plan for the worst
- Prepare to be surprised
Of course, ‘Be afraid’ was not a rule in Afghanistan. It was a given.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand. A true story of love, service and incompetence.
Over-matched, over-ruled and over-weight, Spin Zhira is a tale of one man’s personal battle against the trials of middle age set on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry or your money back.¹
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read.’
Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars
Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
Dr Mike Martin, An Intimate war
¹Check the small print first