The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare for the trip. Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, limitations of your body, plus a little common sense can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
- Travel with a companion. You don't want to be by yourself in case of an emergency. Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person. If you'll be entering a remote area, your group should have a minimum of four people; this way, if one is hurt, one can stay with the victim while two go for help. Know ahead of time the location of the nearest telephone or ranger station in case an emergency does occur on your trip.
- Be in good physical condition. Set a comfortable pace for your activity. A group trip should be designed for the weakest member of the group. If you have any medical conditions, discuss your plans with your health care provider before departing. Make sure you have the skills you need for your adventure. Practice your skills in advance. If you plan to climb or travel to high altitudes, make plans for proper acclimatization to the altitude.
- Think about your footing while traveling. Stay on developed trails or dry, solid rock areas with good footing. Areas near streams and cliffs can be hazardous. Take your time to avoid tripping. Low hanging branches and variable terrains make running unsafe, and leaves can hide slippery areas underneath.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the trail conditions, season and activity.
- Check your equipment. Keep your equipment in good working order. Inspect it before your trip. Do not wait until you are at your destination.
- Be weather wise. Keep an eye on current and predicted weather conditions. In this area, weather can change very quickly. Know the signs for approaching storms or changing weather conditions. Avoid bare ridge tops, exposed places, lone trees, streams, and rocks during lightening storms. Find shelter in a densely forested area at a lower elevation. Even in summer, exposure to wind and rain can result in hypothermia.
- Learn basic first aid so you will know how to identify and treat injuries and illnesses. Carry a first aid kit with you. Learn how to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia and dehydration, and know how to treat them.
- Make camp before dark. Traveling after darkness has resulted in many accidents from falls, so travel only during daylight. Set up camp well away from the edge of cliffs, and learn the terrain during daylight. If you have to leave camp after dark, stay in areas you have seen in daylight, go with a friend and use a good flashlight.
- Think before you drink! No matter how clean or pure stream water looks, it is likely to contain water-born parasites and microorganisms that can cause discomfort and sometimes serious illness. Pack your water in or purify through a filter or by boiling.