My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.
The Hiker Responsibility Code is a set of principles that all hikers can look to before they hit the trail. Similar to the Skier's Responsibility Code endorsed by the National Ski Areas Association, the Hiker Responsibility Code was created to help hikers become more self aware about their responsibility for their own safety every time they are on a hike. It also acknowledges the inherent danger of hiking in the backcountry, and encourages hikers to be better prepared every time they are on the trail.
Hiker Responsibility Code
You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:
1. With knowledge and gear. Become self reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.
2. To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.
3. To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.
4. To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.
5. For emergencies. Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.
6. To share the hiker code with others.
hikeSafe: It’s Your Responsibility.
The Hiker Responsibility Code was developed and is endorsed by the White Mountain National Forest and New Hampshire Fish and Game.