Image canoue in southpole

Safety on your expedition– read Rune Gjeldnes’ tips

Thinking of safety from the first moment you start planning a project is important in order to reveal potential weaknesses or disasters before you set off. Calling for help when you have planned badly or have not assessed the risk and are then facing the consequences is not pleasant. In a way, this is unforgiveable for everyone else who has been affected by your lack of good planning and safety considerations. When you have thought about safety, you are also much better prepared mentally for situations and hazards. This could make you implement changes to the route, take some additional equipment, or train a little more.

The Norwegian Mountain Code is a good cornerstone for safe travel on all tours or expeditions. However, you’ll often need more than that, and here is Rune’s list of what you should think of before you go on a long tour/expedition:

Draw up a list of crisis scenarios for the trip you’re planning. The philosophy behind it should be that “everything that can go wrong will”. (And what will you do if something goes wrong with you, your travelling companion, or your equipment?) This list will give you a good overview.

Evaluate the route you are planning and, if necessary, find alternative routes in case something unexpected comes up. Map and GPS.

Always add an extra day or two to allow for delays due to weather, injuries, or because you’ve been moving too slowly. This means extra food and fuel and will naturally vary quite a lot depending on the length of the trip you’re planning. Maybe you should give yourself several more days.

Equipment testing. The equipment must function even in the worst snow storm. This means that you must train with all of your equipment, check if it works under all conditions, and work up good routines.

Also, do you have the proper equipment? Maybe you should have another tent or ski shoes. It is here that testing and experience mean everything. You can also ask someone with more experience.

Communication equipment provides really good safety. The best choice today is clearly a satellite telephone with coverage in the area you’re going to be in. Draw up a good communication plan and fill in all possible elements. Store all important telephone numbers in the telephone and also write them down in the communication plan.

Having a small emergency beacon is a great safety investment on many expeditions; you must have one with you.

A signal pen is a handy aid when an accident occurs and you’d like to attract attention.

A first aid pack suitable for the trip you’re planning is absolutely necessary.

Repair equipment and spare parts, such as an additional primus pump, tent poles, tape, steel wire, large needle and thread.

If some of the equipment can get worn during the expedition or there is something you can easily lose, it is natural to take more of it.

On cold trips, it is quite obvious that the most important equipment you must take is a tent, sleeping bag, and a safe primus stove. Water, heating, and rest.

Have contact people at home who are familiar with and know details about your trip. They must know what you intend and are planning to do. Give him/her updates on your status while you are underway on the expedition.