Size Matters in the Backcountry
There are few factors more important in your trip planning than the size of your group. Take a glance at the annual issue of Accidents in North American Mountaineering, and you’ll get the picture.
A high percentage of reported accidents in the publication contain the phrase “at _______ point the group separated,” or something similar, followed quickly by the details of a calamity caused by poor communication, confusion, lost team members, stranded team members and other problems.
Why? Although traveling in a group of seven or ten folks doesn’t directly cause a person to tumble down a mountainside or get caught in an avalanche, it can contribute to trouble in many ways.
First, decision making is hampered in large groups. Assuming everyone in the party has the same goals and objectives (which is a big assumption for a group of ten!) it can still be a major undertaking to simply communicate effectively, much less adjust the plan as the trip progresses. What if the group splits up? Obviously the ability to communicate might just go out the window altogether. And if climbers continue solo? A new level of risk has just been accepted.
Read the rest here: Size Matters in the Backcountry | Sierra Journal