November 10, 2011
Part 4 of our week long series “From A Guide’s Perspective”, IMG Guide Greg Vernovage lays out a few simple but effective tricks of the trade.
Tricks Of The Trade
By Greg Vernovage
I have been around a lot of guides over the years and what I’ve noticed is that we all have some things we do that help us keep our sanity and allow us to be more a little more comfortable in what can be an uncomfortable environment. I’m no different, my tricks tend to focus on comfort, speed (read efficiency) and warmth. As always, these ideas may not work for everyone but with enough time in the mountains, you’ll come up with some of your own.
My first recommendation to anybody is always based on food and water. We all know that we need to eat and drink at every break even if we’re not be hungry. A simple trick is to store your food and water in the same place in your pack every time you climb so it’s easy to find at every break. Often times I’ll put a snack in my pants pocket or the pockets of my puffy jacket so they’re easy to access at the breaks, and a touch easier to eat since they won’t be as frozen as some of your other food buried in your pack.
Another simple trick is to keep some food and water near you at night, sip on water after you go to the bathroom (hint: don’t confuse your water bottle and pee bottle) and have a few snacks handy as well. You may wake up in the middle of the night hungry; if you’re hungry – eat! Keep your stuff sack and water next to your at night so you won’t bother your tent mate as you rummage through your pack that’s conveniently outside the tent. Remember, bring your favorite foods, if you don’t like something at sea level, you won’t eat it up there. Swedish Fish!
And a big one for me; change those socks! After you have rolled into camp, worked hard all day and dug in, take a minute and put on a fresh pair of dry socks. We rely on those feet so it’s in our best interest to take care of them. You will feel refreshed and a little lighter on your feet. You can put the socks you have been wearing all day in you jacket near your core and they will dry out for the morning. They might stink a little but at least you will be comfortable.
And lastly, stay warm in camp. It is much easier to stay warm than it is to get warm. Put that extra layer on when you get to camp. Keep stokin that fire with food and water and stay dry.
It’s the simple things.