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The most essential part of the mountaineering is to pack all required things that can prove life savior in life threatening situation on the mountains. Be it nutrition, insulation, light, maps, compass, shelter or a matchbox, one small thing can be of a big use on the vast mountains which are beautiful but can be dangerous if underestimated.
Here is a mountaineering checklist that has almost everything a mountaineer needs to have in his backpack for survival. Depending on hiking, climbing, trekking, the things can be extracted or even more essential things can be added as per demand of the time. Survival kit is more essential during outdoor activities in remote Himalayas where weather is unpredictable and mobile phones do not work.
According to a book Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, which has been written by nearly four dozen mountaineers, had in 1974 published the “Ten Essentials” which it recommended to all the mountaineers. However, the list was revised in 2003.
1. Emergency shelter:
- Tarp, bivouac sack, space blanket, plastic tube tent, jumbo trash bags, insulated sleeping pad.
- Lighter, matches in waterproof case, fire starter
3. First-aid supplies:
- First-aid kit, insect repellent, prescribed medicines
- Always carry extra 2 liters of water for one additional day, water bottles, can carry portable water purification kit
- Torch, headlamp, flashlight, batteries, power bank (LED bulb is recommended to extend battery life)
- Jacket, sweater, fleece, cap, gloves, socks, extra clothing as per local environment/route
- Maps in waterproof case, magnetic compass, GPS system, altimeter, reflective tape for signaling, whistle
- Always carry extra food for one day for emergency, dry food, ready to serve food, compressed concentrated food bars
9. Repair kit and tools:
- Knives (Swiss knife), multi-tool, scissors, shovel, duct tape, needle with thread
10. Sun protection:
- Sunglasses/goggle, sunscreen lotion, lip balm, hat, other clothing to protect skin from sun tanning
Apart from these ten essentials, recommended by renowned mountaineers of the world, Discover Himalaya, considering climatic conditions of Himalayan mountain ranges, gives more detail about survival kit that can be carried to ensure maximum safety.
One multi-purpose thing that can prove of many usages is non-lubricated condom. This sounds funny but this is true. Condoms can be used to store a lot of water, sometime more than 15 litres of fresh water. It can be used as bandage or to tie something. If you are going for a Jeep Safari or motorbike tours on rugged Himalayan routes with no service stations for many kilometers, it’s a must have tool. I remember my road trip from Leh to Manali sometime back in 2012 when my SUV’s pressure pipe burst few kilometers beyond Pang towards Manali. The area is ilolated and I knew that the nearest service station is at Keylong, after around 6-7 hours of tough drive through challenging terrains. I wrapped the burst pipe with an electrical tape and supported it by binding a metal wire. But, it could not help me for more than 1km. As almost every second taxi driver passing through the road knows me personally, an Innova driver coming from Manali side pulled over to help me. He suggested me to use a condom. He himself wrapped the pipe with a condom and then covered it with electrical tape. Will you believe, I forgot about the problem in my car for next few days until I had to visit service station for overhauling to get ready for next long trip. Condom prevents birth but it saves lives too.
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