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Outdoor Adventure club aims high

WALSENBURG — The Outdoor Adventure program (led by Mark Thompson, John Mall High School STEM teacher), kicked off last week with several youth, and a couple of parents, in attendance. The meeting covered several topics with specific interest placed on the goals and wants of the participants. Overwhelmingly, the group expressed a sincere interest in climbing some of Colorado’s “14’ers”. This, of course, brought great pleasure to the leader who absolutely loves the outdoors and has completed over 40 of Colorado’s 54 “14’ers” as well as several high points throughout the United States. The remainder of the session covered the “10 Essentials” and a discussion on how Search And Rescue (SAR) responds to emergencies. The “10 Essentials” are items that everyone venturing into the backcountry needs to bring in order to be safe and prepared in the event of an emergency. The list includes: •Hydration (plenty of water, plus extra) •Nutrition (extra food) •Insulation (extra in case of having to stay out overnight) •Navigation (map and compass) •Illumination (headlamp with extra batteries) •First Aid •Fire (waterproof matches and fire starter) •Repair Kit (knife or leatherman, etc.) •Emergency Shelter (space blanket or bivy sack) Few people really understand how SAR responds to emergencies. The first rule of a rescuer is “don’t become a victim” so the SAR team will not put themselves in a situation that presents unreasonable risk. Many of the calls for help come late in the day which means the SAR team will spend the afternoon and evening assembling and preparing for the rescue, but will not be able to begin operations until the following morning. Thus, the adventurer needs to be prepared to spend a night (or two, in rare circumstances) in the mountains waiting for assistance. This week, the Outdoor Adventure group will discuss navigation and how to properly use a United States Geographic Survey (USGS) topographic map and compass. The adventure for the week will be a trip to Saint Charles Peak which is located near Rye, Colorado.