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Backcountry Awareness: Trip Intentions. By Doug Chatten

June 26, 2020

SES on the NSW Main Range. By Doug Chatten

In the backcountry one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of rescue if required is to leave detailed information about your intended journey with a reliable person. Someone who loves you or cares about you & is going to know you are missing. This can be any one reliable including local authorities such as the police or the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. This information will greatly help Search & Rescue agencies in locating & rescuing missing persons.

In NSW a trip intention form can be obtained online or filled out at the NPWS Visitors Centre in Jindabyne & will then be forwarded to the police; https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/safety/bushwalking-safety/think-before-you-trek#register-your-trip

In the Kosciuszko National Park Trip Intentions forms can be filled out at the NPWS Visitors Centre's in Perisher, Jindabyne or Tumut & will then be forwarded onto Police. The more information you leave the better:

  • Number of members in party, names, ages, phone numbers, next of kin
  • Scheduled Activity Time Frame: start & end dates, departure & arrival times
  • Proposed Activity & Route Details: intended route, overnight campsite (give grid references & dates), contingency routes, how many of your group has previously completed this route, trail head return location if different to departure point
  • Vehicle details: registration numbers, type of vehicles, where left
  • Detailed list of participants equipment
  • Medical Conditions: Condition, medication required
  • The hex or UIN number of your Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

By registering your trip doesn't mean agencies will automatically come looking for you if you don't return by your scheduled time/date, there would be way too many false alarms. It is vitally important that your reliable contact person knows when you are due back, it is they who will rise the alarm. The info given in your trip intentions form will be used by the police to initiate a search if the person/party is reported missing. On return it is essential that you inform your responsible person so they don't unnecessarily activate a search & rescue (SAR) response.It is important to note that you should have enough scope in your kit to sustain for at least a 24hr period in case of emergency. This may be an accident, illness, gear failure or bad weather conditions. Note that weather conditions need to be suitable for SAR teams to respond. Do not expect a response if conditions are unfavourable, SAR agencies will not risk the wellbeing of their members. Don't rely on aero evacuation, they are limited by availability, poor vision & high winds.

By Mont Ambassador and backcountry guide Doug Chatten of Snowy Mountains Backcountry

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