You might know Cam Walker from his Mountain Journal website, the Victorian Backcountry Festival or his work with Mountain Sports Collective. He also works as Campaigns Co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth. Environmentalist, mountain lover and an all-round great guy, he tells a bit about his life and passion for the mountains.
After a day in the backcountry, a really beneficial step is to engage in an honest reflection of how the day worked out. While your memories are fresh, and without the pressure of making a critical decision, you can evaluate what went right and what went wrong – valuable information for your future backcountry trips.
You should seek both positive and negative sentiments. ‘Where did we make good decisions?’ ‘Were there times when we took too much risk?’ This is an opportunity for anyone in your group to speak up about something they felt should have been done differently, to question the actions of the group. By discussing this, it gives everyone cause to reflect on how things might be done better next time.
A challenging thought process is to ask yourself, ‘if there had been an incident, what would the rescuers put in their report?’ Are there any obvious mistakes we made?
We can learn a little something every time we go into the backcountry – it all contributes to your bank of experience and makes for more enjoyable and safer touring.