ADIRONDACK MOUNTAIN CLUB
814 Goggins Rd., Lake George, NY 12845-4117
(518) 668-4447

GUIDELINES FOR ADK CHAPTER OUTINGS LEADERS

TAKING A HIKE?

THE ROUTE - Select a route that accommodates the physical abilities of the group. Consult guidebooks, topographical maps, and other hikers knowledgeable of the area. Plan to have as much or more time for walking out as you spent walking in. Injuries are more likely to occur when rushing, at dusk, or when going downhill.

TELL SOMEONE YOUR PLANS - Leave your itinerary with a reliable person. Include your estimated time of arrival. Register at the trailhead where appropriate, giving your name, address, number of people in the party, and your route. Be sure to write "out" next to your name as you leave.

In New York State a permit is needed from the Dept. of Environmental Conservation if you have a group of nine or more who wish to stay overnight in a wilderness area.

It is better to have under nine persons in a group to avoid heavy impact on woods.

WATCH THE WEATHER - Consult a local weather report. Even on a sunny day, include non-plastic rain gear. Mountain weather can take a quick change for the worse, making hypothermia a potential problem.

Bring clothing such as wool or polypropylene which insulate even when wet. Jeans and sweatshirts (100% cotton) absorb moisture, do not dry quickly, and are, therefore, uncomfortable and dangerous in inclement weather. Cotton/poly clothing is lightweight and dries quickly, making it a good choice.

Plan on drinking approximately a half cup of liquid for every mile you hike.

FOOTCARE - Comfort and protection of the feet and ankles are essential to insure an enjoyable hike. Choose a shoe which:
  • Supports the ankle, especially when carrying a pack.
  • Has adequate space around the toe.
  • Has a well-defined heel.
  • Has a sole that will protect your foot from sharp rocks and continuous pounding.
  • Flexes with the foot.
Take time to break in new boots. Be prepared for blisters. As soon as a "hot spot" occurs, take time to stop and apply mole skin around the sore or blistered area.

EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING - Although every equipment list will vary as to the activity, time of year, and the individual, the following is essential for a summer day hike:
  • Pack
  • Proper hiking shoes
  • Insect repellent
  • Wool or non-absorbent pile jacket or sweater
  • Hat
  • Full water bottle
  • First-aid kit
  • Guidebook, map and compass
  • Jackknife
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof matches
  • Flashlight with extra batteries and lightbulb
  • Plastic trash bag
  • Trail food (See next section)
FIRST AID - For safety reasons, a minimum of three people is recommended for a hiking group. In case of an injury, one person can stay with the victim while the other goes for help.

Keep victim comfortable and quiet. The location, time and nature of the accident, and the height, weight, age, and sex of the victim should be written down and taken by the person going for help.

Consider the following items to carry in a first-aid kit:
  • Elastic ace bandage
  • Aspirin
  • Moleskin
  • Gauze
  • Gauze pads
  • Bandaids
  • Chapstick
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Sunburn preventative
  • Several quarters and a list of emergency phone#'s.
  • Thermometer
  • Antacid tablets
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Needles
  • Tweezers
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Salt tablets
FOOD - A trail lunch should consist of easily digestible food, high in energy and moist in content. Try a sandwich, juice, orange, and candy bars. Better to eat small amounts at intervals than to eat one large mid-day meal.

Hard candies, nuts, raisins and other dried fruits, sunflower seeds, granola, coconut, dried cereal, hard chocolate, and other readily available supermarket items make good snack food (gorp). Avoid soft chocolates that melt in hot weather.

Have a reserve supply of food for emergencies. Some "food sticks" and "breakfast bars" found in supermarkets are balanced, relatively high in calories and have a reasonably long "pack life."

WATER - Unfortunately, the potability of backcountry water is not certain. Boil water for at least three minutes. Suggestion: Boil the next day's drinking water at dinner, and set water bottle in stream to chill overnight.

Be sure that you wash your dishes and yourself well away from the stream. Even biodegradeable soaps take awhile to break down.

Bury all human waste 4 - 6" deep and away from any water or wet areas. Cover waste with soil.

And PLEASE...

Stay on the trail. Alpine vegetation is especially fragile. Try to "rock hop" where possible.

Camp at designated sites, below 4000' and 150' from trail or stream.

Use a camping stove rather than an open fire. If you must build a fire, use wood that is "down and dead." Be sure not to leave your fire smoldering. And remember that aluminum foil doesn't burn!

"If you carry it in, carry it out." (This includes orange peels, egg shells, and even the tiny pieces of aluminum foil.)

* Adapted from Taking a Hike? Leading a Hike?, an educational brochure published by ADK and available through Headquarters. 2/96, 12/09, 1/11