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Adventure Magazine

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The Adventurer's Handbook
30 Crucial Skills, Nifty Tips, and Shameless Shortcuts
By Robert Earle Howells

How to Predict the Weather

You don't, says mountaineering guide Dave Hahn. A veteran of such weathery places as the Alaska Range, Antarctica's Vinson Massif, and Washington's Mount Rainier, Hahn believes in the empirical school of field meteorology.

"Observations," he says, "are worth billions more than predictions." For example, Hahn says forget the fact that electrical storms are rare on the Seattle side of the Cascades in summer: "Trust the short hairs standing up on the back of your neck and the sparks flying from your ice ax."

In other words, don't let predictions of fair weather lure you into ignoring the storm clouds gathering overhead. Hahn is proud of his ability to notice weather changes "at the instant they occur." Which is a more valuable skill than it may appear, since the importance of assessing conditions is easily forgotten in the heat of battle.

"There is nothing like a view of a summit to make one see silver linings around pure evil storm cells," he says. "Even seasoned climbers will come up to you during perfectly awful, avalanche-inducing, frostbiting, epic-book-writing weather and point up and say, ‘Isn't that blue sky up there?' Yeah, too bad we aren't climbing to 60,000 feet [18,300 meters], or we could use it."

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•  Introduction
How to
•  Avoid an Avalanche
•  Avoid Blisters
•  Beach a Kayak
•  Bike Up Steep Trails
•  Build a Fire When It's Wet
•  Climb Higher
•  Cross a River on Foot
•  Fight Altitude Sickness
•  Find Your Way
•  Fix Gear in the Field
•  Haggle for Anything
•  Hike Lighter
•  Keep Warm on Frigid Hikes
•  Leave (Absolutely) No Trace
•  Make Tastier Backcountry Grub
•  Melt Snow to Drink
•  Paddle With Power
•  Predict the Weather
•  Put on Your Skis
•  Run Off-Road
•  See More Fish When Diving
•  Ski Faster
•  Slide Down an Icy Slope
•  Slip a Bribe
•  Stick to the Rock
•  Swim Rapids
•  Swing a Machete
•  Take Better Photos
•  Telemark for Real
•  Wipe Out on a Bike
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January/February 2002:
In the Magazine | Excerpts | Adventurer's Handbook | Sierra Ski Photos | Grand Canyon | Deadly Conservationist | Forum | Snowboard Boots, Bindings | Travel Tools | Everglades Guide

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