Plan ahead

Think about weather, equipment and safety

Weather conditions in the mountains can change rapidly without warning – snow can fall at any time of the year.

Planning can make all the difference. Make sure you’ll be safe and comfortable throughout your trip by knowing where you are going, what you need to take and what you need to do:

  • Let someone know before you go – Tell them about your party, your route, when you plan to return and the equipment the party is carrying. Remember to contact them and let them know when you return.
  • Keep your party small – Large parties (of more than eight people) have more environmental impact and can adversely affect the experience of other visitors. Do not travel alone.
  • Go off peak – Where possible avoid the peak times of the year (December to February). You will miss the crowds and spread the impact, giving the environment a chance to recover.
  • Be able to read weather charts – Plan your trip with the forecast in mind. Also plan for delays so you are not forced to travel in white-out and blizzard conditions. Carry several extra days’ food.
  • Mountain weather changes very rapidly – Don’t be fooled; it can snow in summer too. So be prepared.
  • Sunlight in the mountains burns even on cold and cloudy days – Protect your skin and eyes. Always wear a peaked cap, good sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Plan your route – so that you can camp at recognised campsites. If possible do not create a new site. Use huts only for emergency shelter.
  • Protect yourself and other group members against sunburn, cold, wind and rain – Take warm clothing (jumper, gloves, cap), a raincoat and wear strong shoes. Protect your skin and always wear a long sleeved top, a hat and sunscreen.
  • Let someone know before you go away from your campsite – Remember to let them know when you return.
  • Minimise your impact – by taking the following items:
    • Fuel stove and fuel for cooking
    • Good quality tent
    • Hand trowel for burying toilet wastes.
  • Take the following items – and know how to use them:
    • Wind and waterproof jacket, beanie and gloves
    • Map and compass
    • First aid kit
    • Good quality tent and sleeping bag
    • A GPS and EPIRB may be useful