How To: Ford/Cross a River Safely in the Backcountry

Ford/Cross a River Safely in the Backcountry

How to Ford/Cross a River Safely in the Backcountry

In this video tutorial, former Outward Bound instructor and mountaineering guide John E. Hiker demonstrates a basic technique for safely fording (crossing) a river. Typically, more hikers are killed each year from drowning while fording rivers than by bear attacks, falls, avalanches, and all other wilderness hazards combined. The technique shown here is especially useful for those crossing a deep river with a heavy backpack.

For winter crossings, John E. Hiker recommends removing or rolling up pants so that they are dry and warm after a cold ford. In addition, bring special footwear to keep your ski or hiking boots dry. Never cross barefoot in the backcountry.

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