Assessing the Conditions

Your second assignment is to assess the environmental and route conditions that you will likely encounter during your trip.

By understanding the likely weather, sun exposure, insect pressure, and other conditions, we can properly prepare for our trip, in terms of our gear, supplies, and skills. Without completing this kind of assessment, you’re more likely to be over-, under-, or mis-prepared, especially if you are not already familiar with the location or season.


1. Required reading:

2. Research the condition that you have been assigned. For your assignment, find the “Conditions Assessment Assignments” sheet in our shared Google Drive folder.

3. Report your findings in the “Conditions Assessment” document, which I’ve created for each session. Find it in the individual trip folder. List findings that are pertinent to gear, supplies, and skills. For example, don’t just list the wildlife in the park. Instead, tell me about wildlife that is known to steal food or that could be a safety risk.

The deadline for this assignment is: <<insert date>>

To research the condition you have been assigned, you might consult:

  • Climate databases
  • Topographical maps
  • Satellite images
  • Public land agency websites
  • Print and online guidebooks
  • Geo-tagged photo galleries
  • Forums and trip reports
  • Knowledgeable backcountry users like park rangers and veteran backpackers

The Gear Guide lists a few more specific resources, too.

Finally, it might be helpful to know where you are going. Below are CalTopo maps of potential routes. Your route will likely be different, but the conditions you will encounter will not be.

Questions? Please ask