Squamish is surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks and backcountry huts ready to be explored. As Backcountry skiing become more and more popular in and around Squamish, we wanted to put together a guide to the Must Have Backcountry gear for getting out and exploring our backyard. If you are new to backcountry skiing, we highly recommend going out with a guide and taking avalanche safety courses. With exploration off the resort comes extra dangers, so always be prepared for the unexpected and carry the proper gear and communication tools.,
Must-Have Backcountry Gear
Here are nine must-have gear items if you plan on heading into the backcountry around Squamish:
- Walkie Talkies: Walkie talkies will enable you to stay in contact with everyone in your party plus if you should become separated from your friends or lost in the backcountry, first responders will also carry walkie-talkies and can be reached in the event of an emergency.
- Proper Rain Gear: Plan for the region and time of year. This means that you should bring proper gear to meet the often-dramatic weather changes that can occur in the Squamish region year-round.
- Extra Food & water : Always pack extra rations in the event you must spend one or more nights in the wilderness. Choose food rations that require no cooking. Energy bars, dried fruit, freeze-dried meals, and nuts are all good choices. Also, make sure you have enough supply of water.
- Overnight Gear: Even if you are only planning a day trip, things can happen quickly, and you might find yourself stuck overnight in the wilderness. You can pack a bivy sack, an emergency space blanket (which packs small and weighs just ounces) or even a large plastic trash bag to provide shelter from the elements.
- Spot Rescue: A spot rescue lets you automatically call search and rescue in the event of an emergency.
- Avalanche Training: The area surrounding Squamish is mesmerizing when covered in snow, but it is also extremely dangerous due to avalanches. No one should enter the backcountry without proper avalanche training. Knowing what to do and what not to do might prove the difference between life and death.
- Beacon: A beacon will alert emergency personnel from the backcountry. When activated it will help rescuers determine your positioning using GPS by sending a signal via government and commercial satellites. They work in very remote locations where cell phones fail.
- Probe and Shovel: A probe helps you locate your friend beneath the snow’s surface after an avalanche occurs. Once located, you can use the shovel to help dig the snow out of the way. In many instances, a person might be buried a meter or deeper beneath the snow’s surface.
- Good Friends: Never head into the backcountry without good friends by your side. You are always stronger as a team. Also, you should tell your friends at home where you will be going and give them specific times when you will depart and return so they know to call for help if they do not hear from you.
Making the most out of the Squamish Backcountry:
Everyone in the Squamish area values the beauty of the backcountry. With the increasing popularity in backcountry use around Squamish, our local search and rescue has been getting busier and busier. Squamish Search and Rescue is a community-based organization that provides 24/7 search and rescue services in and around Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. Their members train throughout the year to maintain proficiency in various search and rescue disciplines and performed 85 – 100 operations per year. Donating to your local search and rescue helps ensure that any time you are in the backcountry facing peril that there will be a team of skilled and dedicated rescuers ready and able to help you. To make a donation – Click Here
The backcountry can be a wondrous and dangerous place. You should always be prepared with not only the proper gear but also the training you need to tackle whatever emergency you might encounter. Many people who do not know the dangers of the backcountry think that they can head out with a simple pack with extraordinarily little gear. They believe that nothing bad will ever happen and even if they should veer off the trail then they can easily survive in Mother Nature. Our tip is to prepare for the worst and enjoy the best of our Squamish backcountry!