Survival Tips And Advice: Avoid Unnecesary Hazards

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Pablo Edronkin

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This may seem an obvious survival tip but it is surprising how often we tend to fall in to mistakes related to taking undue risks; what we usually do on top of frozen lakes is an example.

Notice the change in colour on the ice and snow, even far away from the cracks.
Notice the change in colour on the ice and snow, even far away from the cracks.

A few years ago a college professor asked his students what - in their view - was the best way in which a country could negotiate with the IMF. Every student then rehearsed a lot of explanations and intellectual arguments but they were all wrong. After a few hours of chatting the professor explained them that the best way to deal with the International Monetary Fund was not to put your country in a position that needs such negotiations in the fist place. And in the same way, may survival situations and emergencies occur because we tend to forget things or make wrong estimations about our capabilities, the present dangers or difficulties of our treks, military activities, excursions and so on. The best way to survive is not to put yourself into a survival situation.

Never go too far if you are not sure.
Never go too far if you are not sure.

In mountainous terrain many accidents take place because climbers and tourist underestimate the dangers implicit in the landscape. Here we present you a series of pictures that show a group of people - including me, the author of this article - around a snowfield during the melting season. If you look carefully you will notice that we never ventured into the snow except for a few centimetres. The reason is the presence of a small lake behind, almost totally covered by snow and ice. Whenever you se a very flat, levelled snow-covered area in a mountainous you should act with extreme caution.

The danger becomes evident.
The danger becomes evident.

In other words, if you are traversing any sort of unknown terrain your safety will depend on how you are able to read the topography even hundreds of metres ahead of you in order to detect clues as to what lies below or what could fall upon you. The risk posed by a frozen lake can be too significant to risk a direct crossing over it and when it becomes evident that the ice sheet is melting, it should be avoided altogether. That's the reason why we didn't venture over the snow in this area and stayed over the rocks, because you don't know what lies below, how extensive the lake is, especially during those times in which the ice cover is melting and waters might be at a higher level.

So, let's take a good picture and make a go-around.
So, let's take a good picture and make a go-around.

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