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Don't Die on the Mountain

by Dan H. Allen


The purpose of this book is to help you enjoy safely the marvelous, above timberline region, and walks in the woods. It is my sincere hope that as many people as possible will benefit from this book and that we will have fewer deaths in the mountains. While I have aimed most of what I have to say toward the beginner, there is much here that any reader may not find elsewhere.

Twenty-six years have passed since the first printing of the first edition of this book, which was written for the Mountaineering Committee of the New Hampshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club. In excess of 10,000 copies of the first edition booklet were sold, or distributed to new members of the NH Chapter. Now, it is time to recognize the many changes that have occurred, particularly in the gear available: Gore-Tex (r), synthetic pile, polypropylene, metal-framed snowshoes, and plastic boots. As important has been the introduction of the analysis of decision making styles and group dynamics into mountain leadership training.

Each of us has his or her own way of looking at mountaineering and way of doing it. What follows is one man's view of some aspects of mountain travel, definitely influenced by the suggestions of the many people who have read drafts of this and the first edition. To the following people who have reviewed drafts of this second edition and who have offered hundreds of suggestions incorporated herein, both about content and style, I extend my deep felt appreciation: Neal Anderson, Dugald Arbuckle, Bob Dangel, Natalie Davis, John Dunn, M.D., Dave Harrigan, George Howe, John Mudge, Chuck Kukla, Rick LaRue, Lee Manchester, Nancy Rich, Steve Piotrow, Lee Tibbert, Guy and Laura Waterman, Roy Westerberg, and Ruth White. I extend my sincere thanks to my son, Tim, for his help with computer efforts and for creating Figures, and to his wife, Wendy, for her help in book layout. I am very grateful to my wife, Natalie Davis, who did the preliminary editing and to John Dunn, M.D., who did the penultimate editing.

Please address comments and suggestions to me.

Neither the author nor the publisher can be responsible for any calamity that might befall you in the mountains. Even the best advice we can give will not alert you to all the possible hazards there. The principal message in this book is that you alone must take responsibility for your decisions and actions.

Dan H. Allen

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January 2009