If you have done all your preparation and observed a safety routine on the track, then emergencies will either not arise or will be fairly easily handled. At the very least you will be equipped to handle them with a confidence which will inspire your party and minimise the sort of deterioration which commonly follows an unforeseen emergency.

The following checklist simply draws attention to the sort of emergencies that could arise, so that you might consider which of these would present a major problem on the trip under consideration. You should then think through your options on every possibility. The detail of how some common emergencies should be handled is covered in Part 6 and is not developed here. The range of possible emergencies can be grouped under five headings:


  • sickness resulting from climatic conditions—exhaustion, exposure, heat, frostbite, snow blindness
  • chance illness—virus infections, collapse
  • bites or poisonings
  • accidents—falls, cuts, muscle damage
  • psychological depression, other emotional problems.


  • fog, rain, snow, heat, fire
  • lack of water.


  • cliffs, rivers, swamps, scrub, tides, waterfalls, mine shafts, ‘slipperies’ (frost, ice, rock, logs).


  • the whole party
  • some of the party
  • someone else.


  • broken skis, poles, boots, tents etc
  • non functioning stoves, torches, GPSs, radios etc.